How to Overcome Anxiety
Facing our fear and anxiety.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication 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.
We are creatures of habit; and more often than not, it is difficult to get us to change our habits. We love our routine. We like schedules and disciplines and can find great spiritual value in them. In fact, for most people, it would be very difficult to survive without them.
The problem with our busy lives, however, is that it can also become a habit to worry and fret about things over which we have no control. Worry never solves problems, but only makes them worse and creates problems that God never intended for us to have.
So, how does someone actually overcome this anxiety?
Overcoming anxiety means allowing the Holy Spirit to overtake your life in a very practical way. That is easy to say, but not easy to do. Having the patience and the personal resolve to order our life this way is something that requires a kind of spiritual sensitivity to God, to His Word, and to His purposes that can become easily lost in the normal routine of our lives.
What is interesting is that Paul clearly provides a spiritual remedy for worry. He says it is to “let your requests be made known to God”, through “prayer and supplication”. The man or woman who has learned to pray, and not just during the difficult times, but as a lifestyle, will not be prone to being overly anxious. Why? Because they have a very high view of God and believe there is no problem that is too great for him to handle. That is why they pray to Him as a normal part of their life.
What happens when someone ignores God in prayer?
Not praying to God as a way of life is always an indication that the individual is not living by faith. The Christian life must be lived out by trusting God, by believing in God’s promises, and by demonstrating that trust by coming to Him in prayer. What happens to the person who experiences anxious moments but is not accustomed to seeking God in prayer is that they very quickly forget how great their God really is. It is very difficult to trust God in the very trying and anxious moments if the person has never learned to trust Him in the less stressful moments of their life. Faith in God is not something that a person can just have at will. It has to be learned by maintaining a very meaningful fellowship with God. To ignore Him when things are easy means that a person will not be trained to go to Him when things get hard. These difficult moments are unavoidable, so it is critical to learn how to walk with God before they become a reality.
What does Paul mean when he uses the word “thanksgiving”?
The greater the discipline of faithful prayer that is developed in the believer’s life, the greater their ability to respond to the problems that life brings with “thanksgiving”. Thanksgiving is simply giving thanks to the person who has given you something. For the person who has developed this discipline of prayer and making their requests known to God, they will actually give God thanks for their trials.
Why? Because they know God’s character and they understand the greater purposes that He wants to achieve in their life through their trials. In fact, the mature believer will be grateful for their trials. They understand that God is overseeing their life and they do not question His wisdom as He works deeper spiritual qualities into their life. This is a great place to be spiritually, but it still requires a certain level of focus and willpower to choose a life of meaningful prayer. It is the cure for anxiety and fear and should be developed in every believer’s life.
Pray this week:
Father, would you please help me to see the importance of making it a way of life to constantly be coming to you in meaningful prayer? I need your help to be focused on what is spiritually important as You develop the character of Christ in my life.
How important is it to you to maintain a journal of prayers with your requests for God and then record how He answers those requests?