Stress. Anxiety. Fear. We all experience it. And when it happens, it has a way of draining us both emotionally and physically. A while back, I wrote a post called 10 Bible Verses for When You’re Emotionally Drained. This post has received more traffic than any other blog post I have written by far. We obviously have a problem in this area as a culture. (And on a side note, I am glad to see that we’re seeking God’s Word for help!) The truth is that Jesus had a lot to say about worry and anxiety. He cautioned His followers to take one day at a time and not worry about the cares of tomorrow. But what does this look like in action?
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So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34
- Remember the truth. More often than not, your circumstances ARE NOT the truth. The Bible tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood. This life, our physical world, is not all there is. You may look around and see chaos and devastation, but there is so much more going on “behind the scenes” in the spirit realm. God is always moving and working in our lives. Your circumstances may be telling you that your marriage is failing, your finances are in trouble, or your health is deteriorating… but the truth is that Jesus is still King of kings. He is our Healer, our Provider, and meets all of our needs.
- Don’t play the “what if” game. I think we all play this game from time to time. What if my marriage fails? What if I can’t make my payments this month? Or what if my children never surrender their lives to Jesus? The “what if” game is one of the enemy’s favorite games to play. If he can get you to focus on the worst case scenario, he can keep you from remembering just how mighty God is.
- Evaluate what matters most. Priorities are crucial. And more often than not, we have a tendency to shift them around to make something more important than it really is. We worry about things we shouldn’t even be devoting time towards and ignore the things that matter most.
- Seek the wisdom of God. I recently wrote a post on why the wisdom of God is superior to man’s wisdom. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is to remember! In my own life, I am constantly trying to figure things out on my own. But the truth is that God knows better than I ever could. He sees things from angles I haven’t even thought about yet. And all the while, He is just waiting for me to come to Him with my stress so that He can teach me how to handle it His way.
- Renew your mind… and keep on renewing it as necessary. Your mind is where stress and anxiety originate. Let me ask you a question… when you can’t sleep at night due to worry, what’s going on in your mind? Is it running at a million miles an hour? Is it playing the “what if” game? Are you imagining the worst case scenario and worrying about things you have no control over? Renewing your mind is an ongoing process, and it only happens when you make the conscious choice to surrender your thought life over to the Holy Spirit. Take every thought captive (including the stressful ones) and make them obey Christ.
Jesus reminded us to take life one day at a time in Him… to trust Him with each individual day as He works all things together for our good.
*Unless otherwise indicated, scripture quotations taken from the NASB.