Written by: Pastor Randy
A few years ago, I was part of a church where there was a lot of internal fighting and bickering. I attempted to mediate issues of conflict between members, families and former pastors. It literally caused me so much stress and anxiety that I had to be hospitalized as a result of heart palpitations. When the stress started affecting my health, it was a big wake-up call for me. I knew I had to surrender my anxiety to the Lord.
The late evangelist Billy Graham said, “Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered on anything short of God and His will for us.”
That seems to hold true in my life. Anxiety shows up whenever my view of God is diminished, and my circumstances become inflated. But God wants so much more for us. He doesn’t want us to walk through life filled with anxiety and stress. In fact, He wants to rid us of any anxious thoughts or feelings.
Here are five practical steps I’ve found helpful when I start to feel anxious. Maybe they’ll help you overcome anxiety, too.
1. Surrender your anxiety to Jesus. God doesn’t want us carrying around worry. We can cast our cares—and all of our anxiety—on Him.
2. Determine to obey God. God commands us to not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6). Choose to trust in the Lord and not lean on your own understanding.
3. Start praying. Prayer produces God’s peace that will protect our hearts and minds from anxious thoughts and feelings.
4. Meditate on God’s Word. The Bible is filled with beautiful and praiseworthy verses about God’s character. We need to read Scripture that reminds us of His faithfulness through the ages.
5. Divert attention from yourself to others. If you set your attention on other people, your problems will grow smaller. When your efforts are focused on helping others and living out your God-given purpose in the world, the less time you’ll have to stress and worry.
The truth is, we’re human; and we all get stressed from time to time. We live in a world full of anxiety, but God desires for us to live in complete freedom, free of worry. May His faithfulness trump any worry, fear or anxiety you experience this week.
1. What's causing you to feel anxious right now?
2. Of the five steps we talked about, what practical actions can you take this week to help you deal with your anxiety?