Thursday, May 19, 2011

MrsDrPoe: Combating Anxiety

Although I've never been clinically diagnosed or taken any medication for it, I have issues with anxiety. I am easily stressed out, and I can worry about things all day if I let myself. As you know, I attempt to be a very organized person, which adds to the struggle, because life almost never happens 100% according to my plans. So for this Theology Thursday, we will be examining what the Bible has to say about anxiety.

In Phil 4:6-7, Paul encourages the Christians at Philippi - "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." You may be thinking to yourselves, "Well that's nice and all, but it seems like it's much easier said than done!" And you'd be right.

The key in the passage above is "with thanksgiving." What are we thankful to God for? In the sermon on the mount, Jesus says, "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matt 6:25-34)

God takes care of us. He has given us all that we need and much, much more. And from this passage in Matthew, we can see that if we are seeking first the kingdom, all our needs will be met. While this doesn't mean that we won't go though tough times (2Tim 3:12), it does mean that God is looking out for us. When something (big or small) arises in our lives, we should "give it to God" in prayer. As we leave it in His hands, we should also remember what He has done for us in the well as for others who have believed on His name. Never forget that we serve a living and powerful God who created the world in six days, caused the great plagues in Egypt, and who conquered death through the resurrection of Christ. He is more than capable of helping us with our struggles!

Here are some things that have helped me combat anxiety:
*pray more often about specific things that I'm struggling with
*read the Bible more often (especially Psalms)
*write anti-anxiety scriptures on mirrors throughout the house
*seek wisdom on decisions/courses of action from older Christians
*slow down (much of my "everyday" worry comes from being way too busy)

What have you found helps you in this area?


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