Anxiety, a negative and burdensome feeling about the future. That’s one way to describe anxiety. An anxious person sees and desires a future, but is overwhelmed by the challenges that may arise. That is the best way I can describe my experiences with anxiety.
Anxiety is an emotion characterized by apprehension and somatic symptoms of tension in which an individual anticipates impending danger, catastrophe, or misfortune. ~ American Psychological Association
Anxiety is defined by persistent, excessive worries that don’t go away even in the absence of a stressor. Anxiety leads to symptoms such as stress: insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension and irritability. ~ American Psychological Association
Anxiety is costly to the spirit, soul, and body. Anxiety steals our peace of mind and the wellness of our body. It troubles our spirit. We do not have to tolerate anxiety. The opposite of anxiety is peace. That’s what we need. We need the one who is peace. No wonder the Bible says we should not be anxious. God knows our natural human tendency to be anxious. So, he prescribed practical and spiritual cure for anxiety in Philippians 4:6. In Philippians 4:7, he tells us what will happen after doing what he prescribes in verse 6.
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 4:6-7 (NIV)
Practical and Spiritual Cure for Anxiety
Present your requests to God through:
- Prayer and petition– God wants us to cast all our cares on him in prayer. 1 Peter 5:7, NIV: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you“. We have an active role to play. Yes, God knows how we feel. However, he will not violate our will or force things on us. We must cast our worries or concerns about the future on God by talking to God and listening for his direction. For prayer is a two way communication, We talk to God and listen for him to tell us what to do concerning whatever situation we are worried about. God speaks through his Word (mostly), an impression on our hearts, and other means. Ours is to position ourselves to listen. Few days ago, I became emotionally stressed and anxious about how to balance a new business, motherhood, marriage, doctoral program, blogging and other responsibilities. I asked God for help and he reminded me of his words concerning anxiety. I was taken to Philippians chapter 4. God also used my spouse to remind me that these things I call “my responsibilities” are not mine to do alone. God is the one who will help me accomplish all I need to do. God will faithfully provide help through my spouse, favor with my professors, and other channel. I was also reminded of Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians chapter 4 is oh so rich!! I went on to reflect on how God has helped me so far and I thanked God for all he has done and his faithfulness to see me through as I begin a new chapter of my life.
- Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving helps us focus on what God has done. This lifts up our spirit and stirs up hope about the future. Hope that the same God who has seen us through in the past is still faithful to help us. Anxiety and the spirit of thanksgiving cannot coexist. One has to give way for the other. Anxiety looses its grip on me when I thank God for what he has done, his promises, and faithfulness to fulfill his Words concerning the situations troubling my heart.
I pray that we will grow in our relationship with God, and we will be more conscious of his love and presence than anything else.