Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~
Philippians 4:6 (New International Version)
Anxiety! It appears to be a commonly accepted illness of our age. Everyone is anxious. Or, at least, everyone has anxious moments. We are nervous, we are worried. We are concerned about everything. We fret. We’re fearful. We choke up, feel nauseated, get migraines and can’t sleep…all because of some very real (or imaginary and anticipated) troubles.
The great psalmist, David, must have been intensely familiar with anxiety. In writing the 139th Psalm, he expressed the assurance that God saw him, knew where he was and knew everything he was going through. David acknowledged the certainty of God’s presence. To paraphrase, he said: “If I am up high or down low, asleep or awake, in darkness or in the brightness of day, God, you are there.” But, in that same poetic expression, he pleaded words that can only come from a troubled heart.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. ~ Psalm 139:23 (NIV)
I have not completely escaped this malady. Today, I am taking my own medicine. I can imagine wild disappointments. Thankfully, most never materialize. I have those moments, when I woefully predict, like Job:
What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.~ Job 3:25 (NIV)
In those times, you must make a conscious effort to trade anxiety for peace. There is a peace of God which passes all understanding. And it is available, just for the asking. Next time you feel yourself drifting into one of those moody, hand-wringing moments, stop and remember your past victories. Yesterday’s fears never came. Speak words of peace and calm to yourself. Make a list of your favorite scriptures for joy, victory and peace.
Replacing negative thoughts must be an aggressive strategy. The Word of God gives us tremendous coping skills. If you take the Word, like medicine, your joy and peace always win!