Feeling Anxious? Help & Hope in Anxious Times
Schools and businesses are closed, and we’re all secluded in our homes. We see all the statistics on the news and online, and it’s understandable that we begin to experience a bit of anxiety.
Anxiety: it’s that feeling of worry or nervousness typically about something with an uncertain outcome; it’s distress or uneasiness of mind caused by the fear of some danger we face.
Worried or nervous about something with an uncertain outcome. There’s a lot of uncertainty about what will happen tomorrow, or next week, or next month… Anyone feeling nervous about the uncertainty?
Distressed. Uneasy. Anyone feeling uneasy about the uncertainty of our days? Distressed about potential dangers? Afraid of the unknown? [I’ve heard a lot of people singing a certain song from a certain movie about heading into the unknown …]
It’s Natural to Feel a Bit Anxious in Times Like These
To be honest, I’ve experienced a little more anxiety (OK, a lot more…) these past weeks than I care to admit. It has caught me off guard. I’ve been a follower of Jesus for a very long time. Shouldn’t I be more relaxed about this whole situation? I mean, I know God is in control, right? I know my future is secure in God, so why the anxious feelings? Sometimes I think my heart doesn’t feel what my mind knows.
I’m being reminded that I’m human, and imperfect, and so I imperfectly stagger my way through the new and the unknown and the frightening like everyone else. Even we as followers of Jesus are experiencing a level of anxiety that maybe we’ve never experienced before. Everyone is struggling right now.
First, I want you to know that a certain amount of anxiety is a perfectly natural response. It’s what causes us to take the warnings seriously and to do the right things to stay safe and keep others safe – like staying home.
But we don’t have to let those anxious feelings overwhelm us and cause us to lose hope.
So, what do we do about that? As Christians, what do we do with our anxiety?
Cast Our Anxiety on Him
1 Peter 5:7 says,
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Jesus cares for you! And so you’re are invited to “cast” – to dump – all our anxiety on him. All of it.
The feelings of fear. That uneasiness you’re feeling. All the stress you feel because of the uncertainty of tomorrow. Throw it all at Jesus’ feet.
I want to share with you some things that are helping me cast my anxieties on Jesus. I hope they will help calm your anxious hearts as well.
Pray Through Your Anxious Feelings
The first thing that’s helping me is prayer. Instead of stewing in my anxious thoughts, I stop and pray.
So pray. Talk to God. Tell God how you’re feeling. Be honest.
“Lord, I’m afraid.”
“God, my anxiety is crushing me.”
“Father, I don’t know how I’m going to make it through this difficult time.”
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication (supplication simply means asking God for what you need) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Pray about everything. Don’t hold back. And I’m sure you’ll find what I’m finding: that the peace of God washes over me as I pray. I breathe more deeply. My anxious heart slows it’s frantic pace, and my mind centers on the hope I have in Christ. As I tell God how I feel and ask for his help, God gives me his peace. It’s a peace we can’t find anywhere else.
Lean on God’s Word
Another thing that helps me is God’s word. God’s Word has been the greatest comfort to me. To hear God’s voice, spoken to me, through his words in the Scriptures: it’s like a soothing balm poured on my soul.
Take time each day to read God’s word. It will give you strength, comfort, hope and peace during this troubling time. I’ve even been putting all or part of some of these verses on cards or Post-it notes and sticking them up where I can see them and repeat them over and over when I feel the anxious feelings overwhelming me.
The Psalms are a great place to start. When David was in distress, he cried out to God often and found the Lord was right there for him.
Here are some verses that have been helpful to me:
“ I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.”
The Lord is with us. We will not be shaken by this. We will rest in safety because God is with us.
“Hear my cry, O God;
Give heed to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
Let me dwell in Your tent forever;
Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.”
God is our refuge against the enemy. Let’s take shelter under his wings.
“Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
God never told us life would be easy. In fact Jesus told us,
“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.” John 16:33
We already know the end of the story. Jesus has overcome. So take heart. Be encouraged. Hang in there.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 reminds us that,
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
This one might be my favorite. We will not be crushed. God won’t abandon us. We won’t be destroyed.
Turn Up the Worship Music!
A final thing I want to share that helps me is listening to worship music.
Music speaks to us. Music moves us. It can inspire us and soothe us. Listening to – and singing – worship music is a powerful way to reset what we’re feeling and focus our hearts and our thoughts on the Lord. Don’t be afraid to turn it up and sing along at the top of your lungs! (Sometimes I even move or dance with the music. It helps me release all those feelings I’m feeling.)
Any and all worship music is a great place to start, but here are a few songs that have been helpful to me lately:
So when you’re feeling anxious about these uncertain times, remember to take time to:
Meditate on God’s word.
Worship in music.
God be with each of you during this time of uncertainty and unrest.
May God be your strength and your refuge.
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