Anxiety or Peace? It’s YOUR Choice


ImageIn this day and age, it seems that there is an ever increasing list of things we fear. Near the top of that list, we might find things like a fear of rejection, abandonment and loss. We might see the fear of illness, injury or death listed there. And of course, there would be the fear of the unknown. The list, for some, is endless.

Are you a worrier? Is your list of fears just a bit too long? Well, I can relate! I always was a bit of a worrier. I have worried about big things and small things. I have even worried that I worry too much! I used to have a very long list of worries and a very long lost of fears. I am so thankful to be able so say that I’m not so much of a worrier anymore! While I can’t say that I never worry, I can say that I no longer worry about just about everything, and my list of fears has become quite a bit shorter these days.
When I was a child it was so comforting to know that I could take any worry or fear that I might have straight to my parents, and they would “fix it”. If I was hurt, they could always make it better with a kiss and a band-aid. If I was afraid, they could always scoop me up into their arms and I would be safe. As I grew older, though, I became a bit harder to comfort. My hurts couldn’t be fixed so easily anymore and my fears were much harder to chase away. I grew into an very anxious young woman and it only got worse. There even came a point in my life when I was completely overwhelmed by worry and fear. I had frequent panic attacks and was sinking in the darkest pit of depression. There seemed to be no comfort for my troubled heart.
I would like to say that, when I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, my anxiety just melted away. But I would be telling a lie. Even though I was now a Christian, I was an anxious one. I still worried about everything imaginable… and about some things that most would never imagine! I’d like to b able to tell you that there are some secret words that will chase away your fears and calm your anxious heart, as soon as you speak them. But there aren’t any “magic” words. There isn’t a pill you can take that will immediately make it all better. But, I am very happy to say that, there is a way to lighten your load of worries and shorten your list of fears. It isn’t instant and it isn’t always easy, but it works.
The key is trust. I know… you just knew I was going to say that, didn’t you. You’ve heard it a million times before, Haven’t you. “Fear is the opposite of faith! Just ‘have faith’ and all your fears will vanish!” How many times have those words, or some similar exhortation, been spoken to you?! Well meaning (and sometimes, all knowing), people can make it sound so simple, so easy, can’t they? But I’m going to be honest with you. If you are a worrier… especially the kind of worrier I was, It is NOT easy to get rid of your anxiety. But it IS possible.
Do you know how many times in scripture we are encouraged, “Don’t be afraid” or “Don’t worry”? I’ve done a bit of research on it, and I have found that, either those phrases or phrases with similar meaning (depending on the version/translation of the Bible we are talking about), appear between 360 and 365 times in scripture. Now, that is a whole lot of encouragement not to worry! That’s about one reminder for every day of the entire year!
Here are a few examples of the scriptures that I am referring to;
Do not fret – it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:25-26)
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. (Luke 12:22-23)
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29)
So do not worry, saying “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or ‘What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32)
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
Don’t be afraid; just believe. (Mark 5:36)
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything. (Philippians 4:5,6)
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:2-3)
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25)
Stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. (Philippians 1:27-28)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7)
There are SO MANY more!!!
It is pretty clear that our Heavenly Father does NOT want our hearts and lives to be plagued with worry and fear! And you know what? He doesn’t just tell us not to worry and leave it at that. He tells us HOW we are supposed to get rid of all that unnecessary anxiety! How awesome is that!?
Do you know what we are supposed to do with all that anxiety? Look at what the scripture says;

Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
There are more verses like these, but these two tell us all we need to know. What are we supposed to do with our anxiety?
1 Peter 5:7 says that we are supposed to cast our anxiety on our LORD!
Okay. So, how do we so that?
Philippians 4:6 says that we are to go to God in prayer and ask Him to take care of our troubles and the things we are anxious about. And we are to pray with ta thankful heart because we know that He will grant our request. We trust and believe that He is going to make everything work out for our good. We pray with a thankful heart because we trust Him and we believe that He will answer the prayer of faith and take care of all that troubles our hearts. We trust Him because HE IS FAITHFUL!!!
So, what happens when we do this? The next verse tells us that once we have brought our anxieties to the LORD in a prayer of faith, trusted Him to deal with our problems and answer our requests and once we have offered up a our gratitude with a thankful heart… then, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [y]our hearts and [y]our minds in Christ Jesus.”
After we have brought our anxieties and our burdens to God and have trusted Him to take care of them for us, and after we have sincerely thanked Him for doing so, and after we have been filled with His perfect peace… how do we keep that peace? How do we keep our anxieties and fears from creeping back in and keep His peace from seeping back out? That is the trouble that most of us have. After we spend some time on our face before our LORD and we hand over all of our fears to Him in exchange for His peace, we feel better for a little while, but then, before we know what hit us, the fear is back. The peace is gone, and we are beating ourselves up because we clearly do not have enough faith to get this thing done right the first time! Sound familiar?
The trouble is that we get distracted. It’s easy to focus on God and His faithfulness while we are on our face before Him in prayer and worship. It is when we get up and go about our daily routine that we begin to have trouble. For a little while, we are still centered on Him and how great He is and how much better we feel, but then “life” begins to happen. We get phone calls or run into friends or family members who always ask for the latest news on the current issues of our lives. Is little Jimmy still getting in trouble at school? Has the husband been able to find a new job yet? Is he really about to begin his sixth month in the ranks of the unemployed? Did you ever get that issue with the bank straightened out? Have you made up with your sister yet, or are you still not speaking? And, oh yeah! Is that nasty rumor still going around about your daughter at church? Did you ever fibnd out who started it and why? So, even though you really want to focus on the positive… you start to re-hash all the negative and the anxiety comes flooding back in. And, just like that, that wonderful peace of God has been shoved out of the way to make room for more worry.
In order to hang on to the peace that He has exchanged for our worries, we need to focus on Him and not our problems. Of course, life is still going on all around us. The things that caused the anxiety in the first place are still there. But we don’t have to make them the center of our thoughts and speach all the time.. Spending too much time thinking or talking about the drama in our lives only makes it seem bigger and harder to deal with. If we keep our hearts and minds focused on God and His faithfulness we will begin to see how big He is. We have a very destructive habit of using our problems as a lense through which we see God. This makes Him seem small and His power limited. If we chose to turn that around and make God the lense through which we see our problems, everything begins to come into proper perspective. We begin to realize how insignificant our problems are in comparison to the power of God. Our problems haven’t really gotten any smaller and they definitely haven’t gone away, but but putting God in His proper place, we begin to see that with Him between us and our problems, He is in the perfect place to take over and take care of them for us! He has directed us to cast all of our cares upon Him. Once we begin to focus on Him and His promises; once we begin to understand that nothing is too hard for Him to handle and begin to trust Him to handle it, that perfect peace begins to settle in and make it’s permanent home in our hearts. There is no problem that we could have that is so small and insignificant that He will not take care of. There is no trouble too big for Him to tackle and overcome. He is able. He is faithful. He is listening for our prayers of faith and He is waiting… even longing for us to call out to Him.
Remember that feeling of safety, security and peace that you had when you brought all your troubles to your earthly parents, knowing that they could do anything? The peace and comfort of Our Heavenly Father is so much more than that, and it is available to ALL who call Him Father.
He has adopted us as His very own. We are His children and He is our Abba (Papa/Daddy). He longs for us to come to him… In praise, in worship, with questions, with fears and worries… He even wants… REALLY wants… us to bring ALL of our problems to Him, from the biggest to the smallest with complete confidense that our “Daddy” can, and WILL fix them all.
So instead of continueing to be burdened down by fear and worry, take it to Him and exchange it for His peace. When those problems try to sneak back in, be determined to focus on Him and His promises and His faithfulness. Instead of letting your thoughts be filled with the troubling issues of life, and your heart be filled with fear and worry, CHOOSE to set you mind on Him. If you do that, His perfect peace will fill your heart… and it will stay there.
Do you have a list of problems and fears? Is your heart weighted down with worry? He is waiting to trade His peace for your anxiety. What are you waiting for? Give it to Him!

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
Isaiah 26:3
Amplified Bible (AMP)
3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
15 For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!
16 The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. (Romans 8:14-16 Amplified Bible)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7)

Do not fret – it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)

Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
(Luke 10:41-42)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:25-26)

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:19)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139:23-24)

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. (Luke 12:22-23)

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29)

So do not worry, saying “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or ‘What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32)

A man cannot discover anything about his future.
(Ecclesiastes 7:14)

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and, he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (John 14:1)

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. (Isaiah 50:10)

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’S unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. (Psalm 32:10)

You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. (Psalm 86:2)

Some trust in chariots and some in horses., but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7)

But as for me, I trust in you. (Psalm 55:23)

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:4)

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. (Jeremiah 17:7)

Trust in him at all times, 0 people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8)

Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust.
(Psalm 40:4)

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
(Psalm 9:110)

Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.
(Romans 10:11)

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (Psalm 125:1)

For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken. (Psalm 21:7)

To you, 0 LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, 0 my God. (Psalm 25:1)

In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
(Psalm 33:21)

Trust in the LORD and do good. (Psalm 37:3)

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. (Psalm 143:8)

I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. (Psalm 52:8)

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About Shirley Ann Washam

I am an extremely blessed, divorced mother of four AMAZING children. Above that, I am a child of God! I pray that He would use this blog to speak through me to those who are hurting and discouraged. My goal is to share whatever is given by our LORD to uplift and encourage those who, like me, are blessed beyond measure, but still sometimes find themselves struggling to find answers and need a little encouragement. If you are in need of encouragement, I pray that you find it here, in the words that He speaks through me.
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3 Responses to Anxiety or Peace? It’s YOUR Choice

  1. Pingback: BE ENCOURAGED YOUR BLESSING TODAY IS IN YOUR IMAGINATION | VINE AND BRANCH WORLD MINISTRIES.COM

  2. Pingback: The Now Life | Dylan Rainwalker

  3. Patsy Seo says:

    God’s unfailing Love is the energy of Creation the Tie that Binds his spirit is in us all. We can chose to accept and nurture it; by extending it to others; or we can chose to be consumed by the sea of fire that is our own hate and violence.

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