Anxiety – a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear.
We all feel anxious at different points in life, whether this is caused from stress in personal relationships, financial burdens, sitting exams, or work [the list is endless]. For me, the current pandemic has resulted in a whole heap of anxious thoughts/feelings resurfacing, which I thought I had overcome. The first time I was anxious [to the point of suffering a panic attack] was at university. The pressure to attain high grades while maintaining a social life began to feel overwhelming. Prior to this, exercise was my go-to, the one thing keeping me going and giving me balance. However, due to a stress-related injury, I had to take time out and in a short space of time, I felt my life do a 360. I went from having a great balance [and somewhat “living my best life”] to feeling extremely low/down. Without realising, all I was doing for the longest time was staying so busy that I was also carrying my worries, stresses and daily struggles by myself rather than fully trusting God. When I began to meditate on the word, God led me to 1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. By turning to God in repentance, I let Him bear the weight even of those struggles. I learnt that letting God have my anxieties was the action I needed. Don’t submit to circumstances but to the Lord, who control circumstances.
At the start of lockdown [like many], I struggled to find a routine and adjust to the new normal. I have always been someone who enjoys meticulously planning my days [right down to the tea] and being in quarantine forced me out of this. It meant I was stressing/overthinking about potential problems ahead rather than facing the ones that were right in front of me. While reading the gospel during Lent, I came across Matthew 6:24 – “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. I was reminded to not let my worries about tomorrow affect my relationship with Christ. Remembering that He gives us strength in hard times, and He wants us to look to Him in prayer when our circumstances start to overwhelm us. Situations such as these are out of our control and it is up to us to trust in God’s guidance.
So, in times when you’re faced with thoughts of anxiety and worry, refuse those thoughts in Jesus name and fight back with faith [The wise words of @scripturedbyhisgrace on instagram]. Remember Philippians 4:13 – ”I can do everything through him who gives me strength”. He promises to comfort you and strengthen you. You are not alone, because God will never leave you.
Here are a few practical tips:
1. Pray. Spend time offloading to God. Tell Him your heartache, your pain, your worries. Have a prayer attitude, acknowledging dependence on Him, realising His presence within you, and determining to obey Him fully.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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
Never stop praying – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
2. Trust. Often it is difficult to fully trust God when you feel as though things are out of control, but that’s exactly what we must do. God knows what is best for us. He is a better judge of what we want than we are! We must trust Him completely in every choice we make. We must not be wise in our own eyes but be willing to listen to and be corrected by God’s Word and wise counselors.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths – Proverbs 3:5-6
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you – Deuteronomy 31:6
3. Place confidence in God’s plan. It’s not easy, but learn to follow where God leads, allowing Him to bring new dreams to life and lead you in new directions. We’re all encouraged by a leader who stirs us to move ahead, someone who believes we can do the task He has given and who will be with us all the way. God is that kind of leader. He knows the future, and His plans for us are good and full of hope. As long as God, who knows the future, provides our agenda and goes with us as we fulfill His mission, we can have boundless hope. This does not mean that we will be spared pain, suffering or hardship, but that God will see us through to a glorious conclusion.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” – Jeremiah 29:11
Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall – Psalm 55:22