Philippians 4:6 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 hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Now this is a subject I can sink my teeth into…. bite off and chew on for awhile. I could write a book on anxiety…The Art of Being Anxious! You could even say that I’m a bonafide expert on the matter. Those of you who have known me a long time can attest to this fact. I have clung to this verse in Philippinas 4, for years. I have read it, repeated it, memorized it and prayed it. For many years it just wasn’t cutting it for me. I wasn’t expecting a miracle, I was expecting magic! Presto change-o, say a verse, pray a verse and my anxiety and worry gone. Hmmm, well why not?
Let’s go back and dissect this noun anxiety. There is fear, that can bring on worry. Then anxiety ensues. If you’re not careful you can have an all out panic attack. Yes, unfortunately, I know all of these intimately. Fear starts in the playground of our thought life. Just like a tiny spark fueled by oxygen, can burst into a flame and soon give life to a raging, out of control fire; so can a tiny worrisome thought, fueled by the right amount of attention, give way to out of control anxiety wreaking havoc on our body and mind. When we are anxious, we can’t think straight, or make wise decisions. Anxiety is paralyzing. It is a mentally and physically unhealthy state to be in. God never intended for us to live this way.
My anxiety started back when I was child. My immature brain just could not process the dysfunction in my home life. My coping mechanism was to worry. As I grew older it just simply became habit. My husband David could not understand his young wife’s obsession with worry. You see, nothing ever happened that I worried about, so I then in turn felt that I must dwell on the the worry so the event I worried about would not happen (you might have to read that one twice to get it. I had to and I was the one living it out!). I prayed , I pleaded with God over my anxiety. What was I missing in my Christian walk? Where was the peace that transcends understanding ?
1Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always: pray continually: give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
In 2006, my sister-in-law gave me a book based on the principles of Philippians 4:8. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…..think on these things. God’s timing is always perfect. Because of the circumstances in my life at the time, my heart was ready to receive and apply these truths that I had not been able or ready to receive before.
Think on these things….hmmm. Worry is neither true, nor noble or right. Where had my thoughts been? What was I dwelling on? Obviously not the positive. Can you worry if you are thinking joyous thoughts? Can you entertain bitter thoughts while you are being thankful? Could I actually have control over my thought life?
I can if I surrender my thought life to Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). The change in me began when I started abiding in His Word, not just reading it and repeating it. Believing His promises, not just merely claiming them. An attitude of gratitude followed that surrender. I began to dwell on everything that I was thankful for….the sunrise, the trees, the birds, my family, running water, bathtubs, air conditioning (especially in the summer), my “sleep number” bed, and that I live in a free country….. even my circumstances, good or bad. Did I say that? Yes, I started seeing the good in the bad, how opportunities sprung out of difficulties. Knowing and believing God had a plan for me gave me a wellspring of joy. My prayer life became more conversational. God became my best friend.
Now Phillipians 4:6 makes perfect sense to me. I am to continually live in a state of prayer and thanksgiving, abiding in God’s love. It is the antidote for anxiety. It is my desire and goal that this makes perfect sense to you too! It is why I write this blog!
As I share my thoughts and experiences to peace and freedom in Christ, I am now “joying in the journey”.
Fix your mind on God, His character and thankfulness. Make that your habit and come journey with me!
If you have a friend who is struggling with anxiety, will you share this with them today?
If you cannot help worrying, remember
worrying cannot help you!