How to Overcome Anxiety
Definition of Worry: give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
Definition of Anxiety: experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
One thing I’ve learned to do since childhood is worry. I’ve learned to stay in my head and think about all of the possible negative outcomes for any given situation. I, with premeditation and overthinking, try to control situations by coming up with a plan for every worse case scenario. Thinking things through critically and preparing for the worse has sometimes served me well in a few business situations, it hasn’t worked for living a fulfilling life.
Some would say that there are reasons for us all to worry, such as how will I pay my bills? Will I be able to get my work done? Will I get laid off? What about my marriage – will it last? Will I remain healthy? Will my kids make it through school? These challenges in life seem like good reasons to worry. Yet the Bible says to be anxious for nothing, but pray about everything and the peace of God that defies logic and human reason will set up residence in your heart and mind.
You may be saying, well, I do pray about everything and I’m still anxious. I was too. There was this low-grade anxiety that was a constant companion. It went with me everywhere – church, work, home for months.
There would be a few moments when the anxiety was a low boil, but then, it would turn up to high because it was really always there but I would sometimes be able to suppress it by keeping my mind occupied.
I tried as many remedies as I could such as meditation, eating right, getting more sleep and taking supplements which all helped some. Sometimes, the worry is physical and seeking a doctor to treat anxiety is wise. I did this, but it didn’t solve the problem totally.
I did everything to fix my anxiety – physical, mental and spiritual and still had this low-grade worry as my constant companion.
So, what was for me the missing piece
In the scripture in Philippians 4 the cure for anxiety is really tri-fold: 1) don’t be anxious, 2) pray, and 3) act in accordance with the instruction God has given you. My problem was that last step – acting in accordance with the instruction God gave me, or in other words, obey.
There is a reason why the rich young ruler went away sad when Jesus instructed him to give up everything he had. He was anticipating that his act of obedience wouldn’t yield what he wanted and his sadness was a direct result of ignoring step 3: acting in according with the instruction God has given.
But that’s where faith comes in. Faith means to leave the outcomes with God. You trust in Him by looking to Him when anxious thoughts come, pray, and follow His instructions. These three steps are what released me from the low-grade anxiety. The burden was lifted.
What has God called you to do? What was His last instruction? Are you following these three steps:
- don’t be anxious, about anything
- pray about everything and
- act in accordance with the instruction God has given you.