I struck a chord this past week. I shared a meme with the verse from Philippians 4:6-7, which tells us not to be anxious.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7, NIV
Several people commented or messaged me that they needed that reminder. We forget, don’t we? We get caught up in the demands of each day, and worry settles over us like a heavy fog.
3 Ways to Deal with Anxiety
But anxiety is not of God. Jesus wants us to have peace in Him.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.:John 14:27
In the Philippians verse, peace is the absence of anxiety. In John, peace is the opposite of fear and a troubled heart. You know why? Because anxiety is a cousin of fear. They are both rooted in deception, and we know where that comes from–the father of lies.
So how do we deal with all the responsibilities, stresses, and problems of life without fear or anxiety?
Many people are dealing with financial struggles, exams, sickness, job loss, or loved ones who are making bad decisions. These problems will surely keep you up at night, your stomach in a knot, and your mind in a mess.
Even when we know (We know!) that God is in control, it’s really hard to let go of the worry in our hearts. Especially when the answer to whatever problem we face might require some action on our part, some decision, or a conversation we may need to have.
I think when it all comes down to it, we worry because we are afraid of what could happen–the worst case scenario–or that we will fail and be responsible for the outcome or that someone we love will suffer.
What kept going through my head when I posted that meme was “Jesus is taking your case.”
“Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the LORD will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them.”Proverbs 22:22-23
Guess what? When you come to the Lord poor in spirit (with humility) and declaring your need for Him, He is taking your case. He sees that the enemy wants to plunder your mind and your peace, and He’s not having it.
Think of Naomi–her husband and both her sons had died, there was nothing left for her in Moab, so she returned to Israel, a bitter woman with all hope for the future gone.
Or think of Esther–her entire race had been chosen for extinction at the hands of Haman, so she went before the king with the statement, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
How about the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, or the women outside the tomb?
I’m sure all of these women felt some level of anxiety, confusion, or fear.
But then God shows up and says, “I’m taking this case.”
You see, God sent a Ruth, a Boaz, and a baby. He sent a sleepless night, a book, and a banquet. He sent a revelation, a restoration, and a resurrection!
If Jesus–the King of the Universe–is handling our problems, we can relax!
You know what that requires?
Two things–understanding that God loves us so much that He has never withheld anything good from us (Psalm 84:11, Romans 8:32) and that He truly is sovereign and working all things for our good (Romans 8:28).
We have to know that we know that we know that we know that God is good and God is love. Nothing happens to us that doesn’t first pass through His hands. If He allows it, He’s prepared to use it. And there is always a way out or a way through.
So why waste time worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet? Most of the things we worry about never come to pass, anyway. And even when they do, He is with us to take us through it with His grace.
If your anxiety stems from something that you have to do–get out of debt or pass an exam–then do your best and give God the rest. If your anxiety stems from an overloaded schedule, pray over your responsibilities and ask God if you can let go of some things or delegate some things.
If your anxiety is caused by someone else’s poor decisions, pray for the person and ask God if you need to have a conversation. If your anxiety is over sickness or job loss or things totally outside your control, then call in reinforcements–ask others to pray for you, and ask specifically for peace.
Jesus cares about you and your situation. He doesn’t want you to be sick with anxiety and fear over the future.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:7
The Greek word translated cast, means “to throw upon.” God is saying just throw it all on Me. I’m big enough to handle it all.
Let me offer three things I have learned to do when anxiety creeps into my heart and mind. (And it does.)
Don’t waste too much time thinking about your problem, all the scenarios, or how to fix your problem. Call on the one who already knows and has a plan (Jeremiah 33:3).
Throw it all on Him, not just with prayer, but with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). In others words, think about all that God has already done for you, even if it’s hard to see at the moment. If you think about it, you will realize how much you have to be thankful for.
Confess God’s word aloud. Find verses that encourage you to keep your heart and mind focused on God and His truth. Meditate on them, memorize them, and confess them aloud.
The enemy wants you to stay worried and anxious because you will accomplish little for the Kingdom that way. Don’t fall for his lies. You belong to the King of kings. He’s not only taking your case–He’s already settled it. You win.