Skip to main content

“Be anxious for nothing,
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 comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

Anxiety is something I have dealt with for more than half of my life. 

I can pinpoint many times in my life (even at a very young age!) when I was anxious. When I was only 5 or 6, I remember being very attached to my mom and having a hard time leaving her to go to kindergarten. She would get me into the building and set up in my room, but the moment she left I would start to panic. I would take myself out to the hallway and sit until she came back! She would come back, and we’d go home and try again tomorrow. I don’t think I made it through most of my kindergarten days, but hey, who needs kindergarten anyway (just kidding!)? 

My anxiety became more severe during a time in my life when my mom was not around much and I, probably around 13, was alone most days and nights. My mom- the person who was my comforter and who would calm my anxiety- was now not there and I struggled greatly. I had anxiety in high school with grades, making friends, boys, and bullies. I had anxiety when it came to thinking about my future, jobs, colleges, or money. You name it, there is probably a time I was anxious about it. 

Anxiety has become normal in our world today. When something becomes “normalized”, it becomes more accepted- people are less likely to do something to fight it. I needed to do something about my anxiety because, even though I wasn’t yet a Christian, I knew I didn’t want to live in anxiety! It was impacting my everyday life and leading me down paths towards other issues. I tried many different ways to help me in my fight against anxiety- therapy, medication, escapism…I even tried just ignoring it. Yet despite my best efforts and work, the root of my anxiety was never beaten with those things and methods. It was still there the whole time, just maybe minimized or silenced for a little while. It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I finally experienced great change in my battle with anxiety. It was still there (and still is sometimes), however I am now combating it with the truth about God and His word. And I have found great victory over it with those things.

We all have many opportunities in our lives to fear the unknown or just worry.

Chances are you, or someone you know, has struggled with anxiety at some point in your life. How do we respond to anxiety as believers in Christ?
What does God say about anxiety?

Let’s jump back to the verse at the beginning of this post:

“Be anxious for nothing,
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 comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

My initial reaction was to reading these verses included thoughts like:
“How could Paul be telling us not to be anxious when he is writing this from prison?”
“How could I not be anxious when my kids are really sick or when someone in my family has cancer?” 

Paul’s attitude in this is something to take note of. His outward circumstances didn’t have control over his inner peace! This is a challenging truth but is essential in our fight against fear and anxiety. Our circumstances do not change the peace and joy we have in Christ. 

How encouraging to know that we can have joy in Christ and not be shaken by our worldly everyday fears! It is so important to know who God is. When it comes to trusting someone, typically we need to build a relationship with them and get to know them, right? The same is true with God. The obvious difference is that we KNOW God is trustworthy, and we know this by looking at His word. He is unable to fail us, unlike those in our lives who are sinful like we are and can cause disappointment.

The world is full of sin, so there are things that will happen in our lives that will be hard. But, we see God’s faithfulness throughout the Bible- multiple times delivering enemies into His people’s hands, leading His people out of slavery, and keeping His promises generation after generation. There are many examples, and we need to be in the Word daily to grow in our understanding of who God is. We can also see God’s faithfulness in our own lives.
We know that He is trustworthy. 

Paul tells us to not be anxious, not to give us an unreachable goal, but he then goes on to tell us specifically how we can do this- how we can have victory over our anxiety.

Prayer & Supplication

First, Paul calls us to pray.
Take our anxieties to God, all of them. 

This may sound silly, but sometimes I get anxious about my kids getting sick. I know, they’re kids! Getting sick is what they do best! But really, sometimes it is just so hard for me to trust God with this. It can be hard for me to trust God and put them in the nursery during Sunday School time or Bible study. Or to say yes to a playdate with a kid who seems to have a perpetually runny nose. Or to go to small group during the winter when I know colds are running wild. It’s easy to tell myself I just want to keep my kids healthy or keep other kids healthy, but really, I’m anxious about the thought of God not caring for my children. I’m anxious that He won’t protect them from illness or that He won’t help me care for them if they do get sick. In these moments I have to pray and remember that God is good, and even if He does allow my kids to get sick, He will be faithful to help me care for them. 

When anxiety or worry hits, stop and pray. This may be once, or may be throughout the whole day. I used to believe the lie that I couldn’t bring my anxiety to God because I felt like I was a fake Christian. I loved God, I had faith in Him, and believed He sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins, and that He rose again, defeating death. But here I was, dealing with crushing fear when the bible says “do not fear” over and over again. 

So, I would just try to deal with anxiety myself, but I couldn’t. I am sinful and flawed and I needed God’s help. I needed His Holy Spirit to guide me out and show me truth. If you feel this way, know that God cares for every single one of your struggles. He wants you to take them to Him and to believe in Him. 

Paul says in this verse “everything”. Everything is subject to prayer, therefore there are not some areas of our lives that don’t concern God. Everything does. So, ask Him to take whatever thought you have at the moment captive and to give us eyes to see what is true. We must then turn from it. If we are going to the Lord and giving our anxieties to Him, we must leave them with Him.

Thankfulness

The second thing Paul says we can do to combat our anxiety is to verbalize thankfulness to God when we pray. Take time to thank God for the ways you know He is good and faithful in your life and trust Him with another area of it. There are numerous things we could thank Him for, blessings He has given us- your kids, your job, your parents, your home, your car, your health, the food in your kitchen, the clothes on your back…everything is provided to us through the hand of God and we should be thanking him for these things. 

A practical way we could practice thankfulness is by writing down whenever we experience a big or small blessing from God. Then, we can always refer to this list and be reminded of His goodness to us and this will also help grow our trust in Him because the same God that helped you then, is the same one that will help you now. This helps us see times where He has been good to us, where He has answered specific prayer, where He has provided in a time of need. 

Another practical idea that has been helpful to me is being in a group thankful message with a few ladies in the church. Every day we try to share one thing we are thankful to God for that day. It has been a neat way for me to slow down and be intentional, to be thankful, and to hear of God’s goodness in the lives of the other women.

 Peace Surpassing Understanding

What will come from us casting our anxieties onto God and expressing thankfulness? Verse 7 tells us, “and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Peace.
God’s peace will be placed on us to guard our hearts and our minds. This should be extremely comforting to us! Now, what’s different about God’s peace vs the peace we think about in the world? The Webster’s dictionary defines peace “A state of tranquility or quiet; such as freedom from civil disturbance, freedom of oppressive thoughts or emotions, harmony in personal relationships, a pact or agreement between hostiles”. Hopefully you can see the theme with the world’s view of peace..as long as our outward circumstances are perfect, we can obtain peace. 

Well, true peace, peace from God, is not found in just no noise, me time, good vibes, positive thinking, or no conflict..true peace comes from trusting that God is working everything together for our good, in aligning with His will for us. It is not based on our circumstances. Remember Paul’s situation at this time? Paul has peace because he is keeping his eyes on God. Our eternity is set, our spot in God’s kingdom is secure, and we have real victory over our sins through Jesus. This is peace that surpasses ALL comprehension. Even the most Godly person you know of couldn’t even begin to comprehend God’s peace. So this is something that we must seek to experience since we won’t ever be able to understand or explain it.

Have you ever been in a hard circumstance yet felt peace that you can’t quite explain? 

Just a few weeks ago we had a leak under our kitchen sink. But it turns out, it wasn’t just a leak. As my husband began to fix the sink, he uncovered a large amount of mold hiding behind the wall. Normally, I probably would have felt anxious by wondering if this mold would make my family sick, how we would pay for a new kitchen, or how we were going to live and eat during these repairs. But despite all the worries the world told me I should have, I actually just felt peace. I prayed and remembered so many ways God has been good and faithful to my family. He has always been faithful, why would He stop now? He wouldn’t, He is always faithful, that’s who He is. What peace this truth gave me during that time!

In Closing

Paul easily could have given into the fear and anxiety of the uncertainty, but he knew God was still near to him. Likewise, God is near to you and I, especially when we are heavy-hearted. Whether we are dealing with sick kids, money issues, home repairs, marriage issues, or simply even just driving in the car or going to a store (both of those things I had anxiety with at one time), He is near. So, take time, identify areas of fear, worry, and anxiety in your life, and when your anxiety begins to creep in, know that God is near and He cares about those big and small things. 

God’s peace guards us against the anxieties, worries, fears, that come from this world. Those anxieties will try to bring us down and take our eyes off of truth. When we trust God, He gives us a peaceful perspective- in the midst of illness, difficult conversations, moldy kitchens, troubled relationships, even when death is drawing near. The peace found in God will never fail us and His peace is a true gift. Let God’s unwavering peace guard you and be your rock. 

Love,
Allison