Overcoming Anxiety

How many times have you worried this month?...this week?...today?

It is extremely difficult to not worry about something or someone in our lives. The cares and struggles that we experience in life seemingly give us a reason and a "right" to worry. If we are not careful, that anxiety can consume us to the point that it hinders our ability to function.

In the Bible, Paul speaks to some of his favorite people about this very issue. He says to them, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

Jesus also said, "Do not worry." (Matthew 6:25)  The word Jesus used is merimnao, which means "a divided mind." Isn't that what worry does to us? No matter where we may be, if we are in a state of worried frenzy, then our mind is a million miles away..."divided" from our current situation. We then find it difficult to truly experience and live in the moment with the people that we love, because our mind is taken somewhere else by our worries.

So how do we stop the cycle? How do we get off of the roller coaster of emotions that come because of our worry?  Again, it is not easy (surprise!), but I believe it can be done if we act on the Scriptures above...

Here are a few quick thoughts that can help (I know they have helped me):

     1.  Do not worry about anything.
         
Wait a minute, that is redundant isn't it? Well, think about what Paul is saying. "Do not be
         anxious" implies that you have a choice. One way to begin to quit worrying is to not buy
         into the idea "well, that's just the way I am." No, you have a choice how you will respond!
         Worry is a sign of misplaced trust...place your trust in the Lord, not your ability to solve
         the problem.

     2. Pray about everything. 
         Being transformed by the renewing of our minds is to allow the Holy Spirit to literally
         change the form or formulas of thought or being. Let your heart and mind be consumed
         with thoughts of God. Let nothing in your life be hidden from the reality of prayer. Invite
         Jesus in!

     3. Pray with supplication.
         This is more than making requests. It suggests an intensity of earnestness in extended
         prayer. This is not to gain favor with God, but rather to transfer the entire burden of our soul
         into the hands of the Lord.

     4. Pray with thanksgiving. 
         Tell God and yourself how He has come through for you in the past. He doesn't change, so
         as He has come through before, He will do so again!

      5. Make your requests known to God...ALL of them.
         Put everything out on the table! We worry about what we do not bathe and cover in prayer.
         Let Jesus know everything! Not just the small stuff; not just the big stuff; everything!

The result?  The peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus! I cannot think of a better "guard" for my mind than that! Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will guard my mind when I give Him all of my anxieties.

I think that this may help you...but I worry that we may not put it into practice. Oh dear, there I go again...I told you it was difficult...I think I need to give some more things to the Lord...

I've gotta run,
Pastor Dave