Rethinking Anxiety

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 NKJV).

 

I think we all have some level of anxiety.  This is only natural with so much turmoil and uncertainty in the world.  How we deal with our anxiety may be more important than the intensity of our anxiety.  

Ten years ago, Americans spent $14 billion per year on stress management.  Now it is $190 billion!  So, what does that tell us?  Yes, we are a stressed-out society with a lot of anxiety.  Yes, we are desperately looking for answers from the pharmaceutical industry, illegal drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol.  But, no we are not finding answers from these sources.  Note:  There is absolutely nothing wrong with proper use of pharmaceutical drugs for anxiety.  In fact, they can be good, and we know, “Everything good comes from God” (James 1:17).   

One good option for managing anxiety is a healthy diet.  The best meal that you will eat is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at Holy Communion. 

Jesus offers us the same “living water” that He offered the woman at the well (John 4).  I am better able to rethink my anxiety when I think about the magnitude of the promise from Jesus to this woman which is still available to all of us today.  Our salvation is a free gift from God and cannot be earned by works.   Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can claim His promise of the forgiveness of our sins which in turn will allow Him to present us to the Father as holy and without blame.  As a holy child of God, we will be blessed with eternal life or life everlasting with the Father.  What a blessing! 

The troubles of today always seem large when viewed through our earthly eyes.  Stress, trouble, and anxiety have been around for as long as Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Life and Jesus told us that trouble is inevitable.  As for me, I gain peace by reading and praying over John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Isaiah prophesied from 739–681 BC to a nation that had turned a deaf ear to the Lord. Instead of serving Him with humility and offering love to their neighbors, the nation of Judah offered meaningless sacrifices in God’s temple at Jerusalem and committed injustices throughout the nation. The people of Judah turned their backs on God and alienated themselves from Him, which created the need for Isaiah’s pronouncements of judgment—declarations made in the hope that God’s chosen people would return to Him.

God calmed the fears of Isaiah, not by removing the problem, but by revealing His divine power and presence. Rejoice that God can do what you cannot do! Your anxiety decreases as your understanding of your heavenly father increases.

Our minds cannot be full of God and, at the same time, full of fear.  James 1:8 reads, “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

Are you troubled, restless, sleepless? Then rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty and stand firm on his invitation from Matthew 11:28. “Comes to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Jeremiah draws a direct connection between faith and peace. He says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green and will not be anxious in the year of drought” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for going before us day and night to light the way.  Forgive us for our doubt and all of our trespasses as we forgive others that have trespassed against us.  Amen. 

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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