The title seems like an oxymoron–can faith and anxiety co-exist? I do not consider myself an
“anxious” person by nature–but I certainly have walked through periods of anxiety in my life. It seems like I have met more people who struggle with living in this condition than ever before–or else they are more candid about it! Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. My heart and prayers go out to people who find themselves struggling with anxiety. I believe there is hope and help for those who find themselves overwhelmed with anxiety. Life style changes can help–getting rest, exercise and eating well will help promote an atmosphere in which peace can grow and still anxious hearts.
So what happens when we read Philippians 4:6, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and we still find ourselves nervous or worried about the situations facing us? I know I have shared this before, but I think it is time for a reminder! We do not have to live in an overwhelming state of anxiety. It will knock on our door and present itself as a natural fact of life. If we do not take our rightful authority over it–it will not even take time to knock, but just move on in and take up residence in our souls, costing us peace, joy and the ability to enjoy life! It is not a stagnant thing–but if we feed it, it will grow and grow until we are paralyzed by not only anxiousness, but fear itself.
I recently found myself fighting anxiety on a different level. As I read the news lately I have been hearing about the possibility of another recession. I realized that every time I would hear about it, anxiety about my future would begin to rise. I began to rethink every purchase decision I was making and struggled to purchase even food I needed! I began to pray and ask the Lord, where is this coming from? He showed me it was fear about my future caused by what I had read. I had forgotten to do the rest of the verse in Philippians 4:6! I had forgotten to add the “with thanksgiving” part! I had brought my needs before Him like it instructs, but not with thanksgiving! O Lord, I need you to protect and multiply my finances–then doubt and concern would rush in. When I added the thanksgiving part–faith arose. He showed me how he had helped us through the last recession and he was very able to help us make it through if another one showed up! Concerns about my children, grandchildren, friends with health issues etc can become either opportunities to grow in our faith for them, or areas where anxiety takes over and leaving us fearful an anxious.
My friends who struggle with anxiety, I ask you to think about simply adding a time of thanksgiving to your mornings. Waking up and thanking the Lord for your family, His grace, your health or whatever comes to mind is a first line of defense in fighting against these anxious thoughts that would control your life. If you find yourself fighting anxiety through the day–stop and begin to thank Him for your freedom. Ask Him for His solutions to the problems you are facing. Thank Him for simply loving you as you are and helping you move from whatever level of anxiousness you are currently in to a lesser state. Do not beat yourself up because you find yourself anxious–remember He loves your anxious self enough to help you move away from it! It is amazing how just knowing you have an ally in God in the midst of your situation can begin to calm your fears. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24 His desire is to help us not live in anxiety–part of what Jesus died to redeem us from. Let us not settle for less than He desires. It is worth fighting for–peace that passes all understanding! Resist the thief who would steal your joy and substitute it with anxious thoughts.
Father, I pray for all your people who are struggling today with anxiety. I ask you to send your peace and help them to see the power they have over these anxious thoughts. I thank you for freedom from fear and for a new hope to arise that they do not have to settle for less than your peace. You know the concerns and cares we carry as we live in this world. I thank you for helping us to cast them upon you today in Jesus Name. Every lie that has been spoken that tells them they are not worthy of your help, I renounce now in Jesus Name. Every evil thought that would steal their hope, I curse now as well in Your Name. Thank you for meeting our every need in Christ Jesus. Amen.