Anxiety? Seek God!
Our American culture both young and old are plagued with anxiety and it is on the increase in our society and in our churches. Anxiety becomes a problem when it extends beyond logical worry in an unreasonable or uncontrollable way or makes our life unmanageable. Certainly, it can feel like negative emotions, to feeling nervous, restlessness, easily fatigued, irritability, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbance, to feeling fearful, panic attacks, or just a sense of feeling on the edge, with the inability to relax and feel calm. Today anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in our nation, which impact about 40 million adults which equates to almost 1 in 5 people.
So; how do we calm our anxious minds according to the Bible? Through the hearing of the Word of God, and through reading the Word of God, and by studying the Word of God, and by internalizing the Word of God. Biblical verses can shift our focus from our worries and fears to what our hearts truly desire and that is a loving relationship with our God. Move our minds from the lesser things of life to the greater things of life which is God’s eternal Kingdom. Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”
One of the first items that we must look at in managing our anxiety if controlling our negative thoughts that feed into our anxiety. The Apostle Paul says it well when he says in, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 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.
We must watch our thoughts and take our negative thoughts captive that precipitates anxiety and cast them away, then look to filling our mind with Godly thoughts to lower our anxiety. Watch out for the lies that we tell ourselves that increase our anxiety for example, “I have to be liked by everyone, or I have to perform at my best at all times at my work or in my schoolwork, “or “my identity is based on my performance.”
How to counteract the lies; Let’s look at some verses from the Bible that you can use to release your anxiety which you have internalized, and that can wash yourself clean and feeling relief from anxiety, and from fears.
Fear plays a role in that it can lead to anxious feeling when we are fearful. For example, if your anxious about going to a new church, anxious about a job interview, or anxious about getting into a new relationship. There are many verses in the Bible that address fear and here are a couple of my favorite ones.
Isaiah 41:10 says, So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Look at God’s way of dealing with anxiety and fear by giving us the power of His love and a sound mind in 2 Timothy 1:7.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
For additional coping against the fight of anxiety I would suggest you memorize your favorite verses that help you reduce your nervousness and get you back to feeling calm and in a peaceful state of mind.
There are also additional Godly ways to lower your anxiety through forgiveness of self and others, developing an attitude of gratitude, and loving others in supportive relationships.
In dealing with anxiety don’t forget to have a balanced healthy lifestyle approach as exercise has many positive advantages in controlling your anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins in your brain that can improve your overall mood and burn away stress hormones that can create anxiety symptoms.
These are a few tips for this month in managing your anxiety, and fears. May God bless you and keep you and extend His favor on you and your family.