Anxiety is a relentless foe, but it’s not an invincible one. Once you understand its tendencies in your life, you can map out a strategy that robs its power and weakens its impact on your life.
Find out what you’re up against.
The first step is to get an accurate read on the nature and severity of your anxiety. If your struggles with worry are debilitating, there may be a medical reason behind it. Changes in brain chemistry, among other things, can trigger anxiety. If that’s the case, talk to your doctor and get the treatment you need. If not, read on. There are practical, spiritual steps you can take to help you overcome anxiety.
Consult the Manufacturer.
The psalmist had this to say about God: “For You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). No one knows more about the inner workings of your mind and emotions than He does. Spending quiet time with Him on a daily basis will go a long way toward easing an anxious mind.
That’s why prayer is essential in the struggle against anxiety. And not just as a spiritual “emergency cord,” something we desperately grab for when our anxiety threatens to send us off the rails.
Preventive prayer—a daily quiet time spent talking and listening to God—can “change your spiritual soil” and make it difficult for anxiety to take root.
A morning prayer time can set the tone for an entire day.
If possible, find a place to pray that doubles as a refuge from the anxieties of daily life. A place where you won’t be disturbed. A place where you can get away from it all. A place where you can hear God’s voice and find peace in His comfort.
When you pray, follow the Apostle Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:6-7. Unload your anxieties at the Lord’s feet and let Him take them. Pray about them and then do your best to forget them. After all, they’re not yours anymore.
Bible Verses to counterpunch.
The Word of God is “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). That may explain why Jesus reached for it when the devil launched a stealth attack in the wilderness. According to Matthew 4, the devil tempted Jesus three times to abandon His earthly ministry. Jesus responded all three times by quoting Scripture. Powerless against such a weapon, the devil left.
What worked against one enemy can work against another. If you feel yourself under attack by anxiety, fight back. Use some carefully chosen words of Scripture, as Jesus did. Memorize key phrases in passages such as 1 Peter 5:7 (“Cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you”) and Philippians 4:7 (“the peace of God … will guard your hearts”). Recite them over and over again to remind yourself of God’s power and to calm your fears.
Many people who struggle with anxiety choose to do it alone, in silence. For some, it’s pride that keeps them from sharing their struggles. They don’t want to be seen as weak or unable to cope with adversity. For others, it’s denial. They don’t want to admit to themselves that they need help. For others, it’s fear or embarrassment. They’re afraid people will look at or treat them differently.
But silence only compounds the problem. A better strategy is to share your struggle with trusted friends. Break the silence—and encourage others to do so as well. Together you may be able to break anxiety’s grip.
Many great Christian thinkers, past and present, have talked about the struggles of trusting God. Now you can explore what many of them say with the in-text commentary of the Ancient-Modern Bible. One Faith. Handed Down. For All The Saints.