Jonathan's Perspective  

Sep 18

'Anxious No More!'

Our lives are like roller coasters.  There are many twists, turns, and loops.  The speed, the noise, and the unpredictableness can be both fun and anxiety producing.  While we all experience life differently, we all have anxiety from time to time.  Trauma, loss, stress in relationships or work, and finances can all cause anxiety.  We know we are anxious, when we get a stomach ache, have nausea, a racing heart, sweating, or insomnia.  But what can we do to alleviate it?  Philippians 4 gives us some practical guidelines to grow in our trust in God, his faithfulness, and his ability to effect things that we have no control over.

First, take time to give thanks to God for his many blessings.  Paul writes, 'Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, rejoice!' (Phil 4:4) Rejoicing in God's goodness changes our outlook from grumbling to gratitude.  There is nothing too small that we cannot give thanks for it.  Also, we grow in our trust in God's faithfulness when we remember the big God-events in our lives.  Reflecting on God's faithfulness helps us trust in his faithfulness today.

Second, talk with God about what makes you anxious.  'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.' (Phil 4:6) We tend to just 'throw' our prayers up to God.  We tend to monologue rather than dialogue with God.  Lift your problems up to God and hold it there for a while.  Listen to what God says to you, what scriptures are brought to mind, encouragement, or a different angle to approach the issue.  Trust God to hear and tend to your needs.

Third, direct your thought life towards kingdom principles.  "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." (Phil 4:8) The negative loops we play in our minds paralyze us.  We can give up hope and think that we cannot change the situation, and worse, that the situation will never change.  When we recite to ourselves the resources we have through the Holy Spirit, we are reminded that God has given us what we need to deal with the situation.  Our thankfulness and trust in God's provision increases.

Finally, take action!  Based on the foundation of God's goodness, God's speaking into our lives, and God's direction to live into the fruit of the Spirit, we can confidently take action.  "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice..."(Phil 4:9)  Paul uses a great metaphor in Colossians 3: "Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."  It is sometimes more uncomfortable when we put on new clothes.  They may not seem like they fit or are the right style.  However, they feel great and become part of the way people perceive you after a time of wearing those clothes.  Action is where trust meets the road.  Trust God enough to take action.  The first step of action will lead to more actions that will change you and the situation that causes you anxiety. 

Trust is the antidote to anxiety.  This is easier said than done, BUT, following these steps will alleviate your anxiety and engage the situation from a position of trust.  God is trustworthy and there is nothing you will face that is too big that he can't handle. God will help you be anxious no more.

Pressing into 'life that is truly life',

Jonathan

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