Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4: 6)
“Don’t be anxious about anything.”
Well, that one’s easier said than done. Your jaw drops every time you turn on the news. You’ve been through trauma in your life, and it doesn’t take much to remind you and to set your heart pounding. People you love are making foolish choices, and you can’t control it. Every day, every day, myriad invitations to fear beckon.
But God issues an even more powerful invitation. Crowd out the anxiety with HIM.
A typically unsuccessful strategy is to say to yourself, “I’m not gonna think about it. I’m not gonna think about it. I’m not gonna think about it.” When you do that, you’re thinking about it! Then the anxiety follows those worrisome thoughts.
A better way is to turn your intense attention to the Lord! Lay your situation before him, no matter how huge it is. God is bigger and more powerful than it all! Call on His wisdom when you have no idea what to do. Thank Him for Who He is, and recount His Loving and powerful nature in as many specific descriptions to yourself as possible. As David did when he was about to face down the Phillistine giant, recall and say out loud how God rescued you, walked with you, and empowered you in the past. Take courage from the fact that you’re still here, though at times you thought you wouldn’t be. When your soul’s enemy and your mind try to tell you otherwise, affirm that what God says is true, no matter how it feels at the moment.
I will praise the Name of God with song, and I will magnify Him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30)
That term, “magnify the Lord” appears several times in the Bible. Did you ever think what magnify really means? It’s more than just praising Him, which is wonderful. If you place a magnifying glass over something, you make it bigger in your sight. You don’t change the object, you just improve your ability to see the details of it. That’s exactly what we’re talking about today.
By focusing on God rather than on the overwhelming scariness of your problems, HE becomes bigger in your vision than the anxiety-producing imaginations. Where your intense focus goes, your feelings will eventually follow. Before the feelings catch up, you must remind yourself of spiritual TRUTH over and over. The scripture affirms this principle in Romans 12:2 with the reminder that we’ll be able to change when we renew, retrain, and recondition the mind with God’s Word.
Easy? Nope. Worth it? You bet. Gradually relieving your mind of anxiety? Priceless!
Lord, You have me in Your Loving embrace. I thank you in this situation for all that You are and all that You provide in my life. I want to think like You think about my life and my situation. I want to know You so well that nothing can make me doubt You. Heal me from anxiety, O God, and teach me to trust in You completely.