Anxiety in the Believer
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7).
Most of us can relate to feeling anxious; in fact, you may have already felt that surge of restless suspense rushing through your veins just moments ago, whether it be by a circumstance, a result of others or even by your own actions; either way, it can feel like an “out of body” experience, creating a sense of panic and fear.
The Greek verb “to be anxious” means to “be pulled apart” (merimnaō, –pronounced as mer-im-nah’-o, Strong’s GK 3309), and when we experience this sense of being “pulled apart” we can become paralyzed or incapacitated from putting our well intended thoughts into action. Indeed, we are taught that wisdom is putting knowledge into action; but if our anxious thoughts block our ability to act, then we risk not only an earthly reward for accomplishment but perhaps even a heavenly reward as well.
Perhaps God has placed a conviction in your heart or an idea in your mind that will be of great benefit and value to God’s kingdom; or perhaps its an idea to fulfill a lifelong dream that can bring blessings to your family and many others as well; or perhaps it’s a plan to repent in a personal area of your life; but the one thing must be done after that initial inspiration, is a type of “action”. The first action step we must take is prayer; humbly admitting to God and ourselves the fears, anxieties, hopes, and dreams that we have held captive in our minds. Asking Him to help identify deep- rooted or barely- budding sources is the first step towards relieving our anxieties.
Can you remember a time when you felt “pulled-apart”? Can you identify the source of that anxious feeling? By taking a quiet moment to reflect with God’s Word and prayer, we can often discover insights that may help unlock mysteries wedged in the far recesses of our minds placed there for emotional protection. What do you have hidden in the dark corners of your mind that needs to be brought into the light?
As Paul states, the act of praying in every situation with thanksgiving and petitions will give us reason to rejoice because in prayer, we draw closer to God and when we draw closer to God, He becomes our focus rather than our problems. Although our problems still exist and must be handled, understanding how big God is and accepting that our finite minds cannot wrap themselves around His infinite mind, will help us respect and love Him because He loved us first. He loves us enough to exist with us, and in us, and for us; so we can be sure that He cares about our anxieties and although He will not perform magic to make our anxieties dissipate, He will take us step by step, hand in hand through a process of learning and teaching, in order to tackle those anxieties and keep them from re-appearing.
Let’s take a moment now to humbly present ourselves to God and ask for His wisdom so that we may experience a sense of peace in our circumstances:
Dear Father, we thank you for being the creator of all things, all things above and beyond, and all things within our minds and hearts. You alone know our thoughts and desires and although You do not wish for us to feel “pulled-apart” with anxiety, anguish, confusion or fear, You do indeed desire for us a life where we can live out our purposes for Your glory, delivering to us a fulfilling joy. We cannot comprehend all of Your being, but as we read your Word and approach Your throne through Christ, we ask that your Holy Spirit will help us remember to be thankful for all things and illuminate the dark corners of our minds so we can walk together and heal the areas causing our anxieties. Thank you Father for your loving grace and covenant promises that have given us freedom to be in your presence; both in this life and for all eternity. We pray all these things in Christ Jesus’ name. Amen.