Coping With Anxiety - A Personal Story
I struggle with anxiety - a fear that creeps through my mind constantly, worrying about a family member, a job situation, a deadline, an untidy house, an ill friend. I pace, finding more things to clean and add to my list of to-dos. And when I do turn to God, I face him with clenched teeth, asking, "Why me, God? Why?" I demand he fix these things: Heal a friend. Change a family member's life. Create me a maid. Hand me a job.
I hear nothing in response.
When I stop, however, and take a deep breath, preparing myself to listen, to really listen, to something other than my worry, everything changes. I pull out my Bible (and as I do, I pray that God will soften my heart, allowing me to hear Him). I finally notice God's voice speaking softly and His arms wrapping around me. In Ecclesiastes 3, God reminds me to slow down and to unclasp my hands from around my troubles. "There is a time for everything," God says. I nod, let my shoulders relax; for it's not my timing that matters. God will make beauty out of everything in His time, not mine. I offer Him my problems and allow Him to take care of them when the time is right.
Then I pick up my to-do list. I tidy what I can, the rest can wait. I pick up the phone and ask my friend how he's feeling, letting him know I'm praying. I invite my family member over for tea and we chat. I do what I can, allowing God to take the greater portion, unburdening me from my worry. I can only do so much. The rest is up to God and His time.
Coping With Anxiety - Finding Solace in God's Arms
Coping with anxiety offers freedom from the weight of stress. Proverbs 12:25 explains that anxiety weighs a person down. However, the same verse explains that "a kind word cheers [the anxious person] up." What kind words does the Bible present to the worried person?
According to the Bible, God can handle your stress, even when you cannot. However, as the Bible states, you must first find humility before God can fully take your burden. 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." God wishes to lift you up out of danger, but you must first humble yourself-letting go of the pride that says you can fix every and any problem in your life. Humility allows God to enter into your life and take over. So, give up the control and cast your cares over to the sovereign God.
Coping with anxiety not only entails humbling yourself. You must also communicate with God, expressing your problems to Him. The Bible says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6). Pray to God. Express your concerns to Him. God is there to listen.
Once God has taken your anxiety, what does He have to offer? Philippians 4:7, after recommending prayer in anxious times, explains that, "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." God will give you peace. He will take your anxiety and fill your heart and mind with tranquility. Even if you cannot comprehend His power, present your problems to God. You'll be amazed at the peace He can give.