Boo to being angst-ridden, panic-stricken and anxiety-laden, it’s time to lighten the load and make room for a peace “that transcends all understanding”. Now doesn’t that sound luxurious! Even better, it’s been promised to you… Yep, so let’s go get it!
Almost one in five people feel anxious all of the time or a lot of the time. It’s more prevalent amongst women than men, and amongst 35-59 year-olds.
I must’ve started early as I was about to turn 25 when I had what I have since called my quarter-life crisis. A coming-of-age panic about who I was and what I was doing with my life. Apparently it was entirely normal (women and young adults aged 20–29 are the most likely to seek help for anxiety from their GP), unfortunately I didn’t know that at the time which made me all the more fearful. It was my first real battle with anxiety and I was not prepared (as if anyone is).
Thankfully, all the things I was worried about resolved (as they do), yet over the years during various transitionary periods of my life the little anxiety gremlin would pop up like an uninvited guest.
The uninvited guest
So what to do about this unwelcome visitor? Apparently, around a fifth of people do nothing to cope with anxiety, whilst a quarter (particularly women and young people) tend to comfort eat (don’t I know it!). Others hide themselves away or turn to alcohol and cigarettes.
Whilst I neither smoke nor drink (though I have been in moments that seem to call for both), I can definitely relate to the other three, all of which provide absolutely no relief to my situation, only a very temporary appearance of escape but definitely not an anxiety-relieving resolution.
What anxiety doesn’t want you to know
Strangely it was probably during one of the hardest years of my life that I realised how much energy I was wasting on being anxious. Whilst being confronted by impossible situation after impossible situation I found I was actually building a catalogue of evidence to support a most important truth:
Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ – Matthew 19:26
Science tells you an iron axe can’t float but that’s exactly what happened in 2 Kings 6. Maths tells 5 loaves and 2 fish does not equal enough to feed 5000 families but hello John 6. Reality tells you, you can’t go from abject poverty on one day to feasting the next but howdy 2 Kings 7.
“With God all things are possible” is the truth anxiety doesn’t want you to know. That when the numbers don’t add up, or there seems to be no way up, over, around or out you should know this: God made life and and the laws that govern it, so it is more than within his power to help us to overcome any obstacle, whether it’s financial, emotional, physical, mental and no matter how impossible it may seem. Take that anxiety!
Philippians 4:6-7: A promise of peace
Which brings me, finally, to this week’s promise. One of the most common and recommended strategies for coping with anxiety is to talk to a friend and Philippians 4 instructs us to do just that:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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. – Philipians 4:6-7
Yes! This promise is like a triple-threat to anxiety. In every situation, we’re going to pray, ask AND give thanks, and boom! The peace of God will do what hiding from the world can’t, what alcohol and cigarettes can’t, what spoonfuls of Häagen Dazs salted caramel ice cream can’t (though it tries sooooo hard); it will guard your heart and mind in the protective life-giving arms of Christ Jesus. Giving you refuge from the worries of the world with a peace, so amazing we cannot even fathom it.
So say it with me, buh-bye anxiety. Hello sweet peace.
More problem-solving promises next week. Till then, share your thoughts below watch the video above, pray, ask, give thanks and God bless.
Definition of a promise
A declaration or assurance that one will do something e.g. “If you post a comment I promise to read it”
or that a particular thing will happen e.g. “If you post a great comment I promise to smile and say you’re awesome”