Anxiety points us to what we are elevating above God. Whatever we are anxious about shows us what we are trusting to bring peace and fulfillment. If only we had -fill in the blank- then we could have peace.
The truth is, as Christians we already have this peace. We are unlike the world because we are entitled to peace. It has been granted to us. Peace is a person, and his name is Jesus Christ. (The Prince of Peace) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We can grab hold of His peace today.
Why do so many of us have a hard time believing him for peace? Why do so many of us lead such anxious lives?
I recently did an online survey and these were some of the things that were holding our minds captive and stealing our inner peace:
Anything I can’t control
My child throwing a fit in public
Kids getting sick
My to do list not getting done
Being a Mom
I recently did a speaking engagement on Anxiety where I unpacked these passages:
“That day, at evening, Jesus said to his followers, “Come with me across the lake.” So they left the crowd behind and went with Jesus in the boat he was already in. There were also other boats that went with them. A very bad wind came up on the lake. The waves were coming over the sides and into the boat, and it was almost full of water. Jesus was inside the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow. The followers went and woke him. They said, “Teacher, don’t you care about us? We are going to drown!” Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm. He said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were very afraid and asked each other, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the water obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)
A couple points from this passage:
• Jesus was the one who suggested the journey. Therefore, he knew they would go through a storm. Yet, he brought them through it anyways.
• Jesus was peacefully sleeping through the storm because he knew his Father in Heaven had it all under control!
• It came down to the disciples not having faith. Many times our anxiety can point us to a larger problem.. a lack of trust/faith in God. If we truly believed God was leading us in the boat, or with us in the boat then we would give up control of a lot of things that make us anxious!
• Are you peacefully sleeping or trusting through life’s storms?
Here are 8 ways I have found helpful in beating anxiety:
- Prayer & Alone time with God: Philippians 4:6 shows us that by prayer and petitions we bring our requests to God. Do not be anxious is a command in this verse. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6)
- Simplify your Life: Do you have too many commitments? Sometimes business can add to our anxiety. Make sure you are only committing to what you believe is most important. Sometimes, “NO,” is saving you from a lot of stress.
- Take every thought captive: Is this thought in line with scripture? As JD Greear said, “It is like you believe God is going to take you to heaven but not deal with your needs here on earth.” “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Tell yourself the Truth: You have a choice in what you think. You have a choice in how you are going to respond. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I have been meditating on this quote: “Don’t spend more than 5 minutes dwelling on something that isn’t going to matter in 5 years!”-Author Unknown
- Confront the Fear: If all your fears truly did come true then what would happen? Here is an example: If you really did mess up your presentation you’re fretting about for school? Well then you might be judged or feel embarrassed. It’s not a life or death situation.
- Take charge of your health: Drink water, exercise, and don’t drink too much caffeine. Sometimes anxiety can be linked to your health.
- Limit Social Media: It is a fact. Social Media use is linked to both anxiety and depression. Limit your time on Instagram and Facebook and your well-being will GO UP.
- Worship instead of Worry: Worship re-thrones God and de-thrones worry. It puts God in his rightful place and our worries beneath his feet. You see, when we worship we are making it a point to elevate God to where he should be and putting our problems behind us. As Francis Chan said, “Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.”