28 Oct Anxiety Prescription
Anxiety is a buzz word right now. We as a people are crumbling under a mental health crisis, and at some point, everyone will deal with anxiety. It’s real and it’s everywhere. Just head to google and type in the word “anxiety” and you’ll see everything from WebMD symptoms and treatment options to blog posts on how to lower your anxiety, to ads for yoga studios and spas… Unfortunately, so many of us experience anxiety so consistently in our day to day lives, that it seems like it’s just a part of who we are.
While this world we live in breeds anxiety, the Bible tells us that truly knowing God – His nature and His promises for us – is the antidote. It’s nothing new or unique to the United States in the 21st Century… in fact, hundreds of years before the invention of Xanax, Paul wrote out a prescription for anxiety. This verse constantly reminds me that God’s Word is alive and breathing, because it hits home for me and the world I live in in 2019, and I’m certain that the people of Philippi would have said the same thing all those years ago. Here’s his prescription:
“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
If you struggle with anxiety as so many of us do, try implementing Paul’s Biblical prescription for eliminating its effects:
- Take your requests to God – He wants you to tell Him what you need, what you’d like to see happen, what you’re afraid of, and what you’re unhappy about. So often we think our prayers should be rose-colored, but God knows you and He knows that life isn’t always easy or fun. He wants us to be honest with how we feel, even if it isn’t pretty. Sometimes just saying what you’re afraid of to Him allows you to take a deeper breath. Give it to Him – there’s nothing He can’t handle.
- Practice gratitude – Then, once you’ve told God what you’d like to see happen, thank Him for the good you’re already experiencing. This practice reminds us that a good God who loves us deeply cares is on our side in the little ways, even when life seems stacked up against us.
- Focus on these things – “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9) This is a small step that can create such a huge shift in our lives… We have to change our input to change our output. If we consistently fill our eyes, minds and hearts with things that aren’t noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable, how can we expect to pour those attributes out into the world? If we shift our focus to those things, wont our hearts and minds be transformed?
- Serve the LORD – When we decide to live our lives in a way that serves the Lord, our focus shifts from a temporary one to an eternal one. Then, instead of resigning ourselves to a life that is reactionary to our circumstances, we embolden ourselves by stepping into the power and purpose we were designed to achieve, no matter what our circumstances are. “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen; For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) Here’s a reminder I feel that we are too quick to forget, too – Serving others serves the LORD. When we decide our lives are to be lived to serve Him and others, our circumstances don’t become the focus – love does.
With this mindset shift, Paul says that we can learn to be content in all circumstances. While we can’t control what life throws at us, God says that we can safely put our trust in Him. When our thoughts begin to diminish the power of His promises with doubt and fear, we have a template that we can follow to combat anxiety. When those thoughts creep in, take your requests to God, practice gratitude, focus on what is good and true, and serve Him. When you do so, His peace, which surpasses all understanding – it’s literally a miracle because there’s no way we should feel peaceful in this crazy world – will begin to guard your heart and mind, shrinking anxiety from the elephant in the room, to the mouse in the corner.
While the other practices are good – yoga, baths, essential oils, even prescriptions – this method is a full-proof practice to protecting your heart and mind from the long-term effects of a life full of anxiety. How can you give your fears and doubts to Him today? What are you grateful for in life right now? What are some quick and easy ways you can focus on the good, pure, lovely and and admirable? And how can you serve Him through serving others today? Give this method a try and see if maybe your day turns around.