Coping with Anxiety When It Happens (and trust me… it will!)
I was required to take a course in college on stress management, and it changed the way I thought about stress. Things WILL happen in our lives that cause stress. It’s how we deal with these “stressors” that make or break us. This class gave us many practical tools to cope, but it left out one crucial element. As Believers, we have access to the most powerful stress relieving tool of all. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, coping with anxiety is entirely possible.
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Remind yourself of the truth…
Here’s the truth about truth. It’s true, even if it doesn’t feel true at the moment. For example, I have two daughters who are less than two years apart in age. They absolutely adore one another and are each other’s best friend. But what happens when they have a fight? (And trust me… they fight!) They say things about each other like “You hate me!” Now at the moment, they may not be feeling the love. But it doesn’t make the fact that they love each other any less true. Their feelings and emotions may not indicate love, but the truth remains the truth. And when the dust settles of the argument, they realize how much they really do care about one another.
The truth is that you are a child of God. He loves you unconditionally, even when you were lost in your sin. He promises in His Word to provide for all of your needs. He’s a good Father who cares about even the little things like how many hairs are upon your head at any given moment. When we feel stress and anxiety, I truly believe it breaks His heart. I know this because when my daughters are overwhelmed or hurting, I want to step in so badly because my heart aches for them. Sometimes as a parent, I step in and help their situation. And other times, I know that a good mom would allow them to learn how to handle their specific situation using the tools I have taught them.
When you are coping with anxiety in your life, trust that God cares deeply about your situation. And as your good Father, He will either step in or equip you with what you need to endure.
Abide in the rest of Christ…
Jesus is our rest. It’s a truth many of us have heard before, but how often do we make the effort to rest in Him? Now, that may seem like a contradiction at first glace. Putting forth an effort to be a rest?? But the truth is that our natural physical selves have a hard time resting. In fact, our culture seems to despise it. Sure, we all know that rest is good for us. But as fast-paced as we’ve become and as hard as we feel we have to work to keep up, you wouldn’t know it.
The truth is that God designed us for rest. He longs for us to be so at rest in Him that even when we are working, we are at rest. This type of rest requires a spiritual choice. We have to CHOOSE to rest in Him. And when the enemy tries to steal that rest from us, we have to continually resist him and choose to abide in our Savior’s arms.
Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. – Hebrews 4:11 (emphasis added)
Confide, but don’t complain…
This one is hard. How do you confide in someone without sounding like you’re complaining? Well, for one thing… your heart matters. Is your heart truly seeking godly wisdom or do you just want to talk someone’s ear off and whine about your situation? Another thing to keep in mind is that WHO you confide in matters. Are you seeking guidance from a trusted friend who will lead you towards sound biblical guidance? Will they challenge you to do the right thing? Or will they simply tell you what you want to hear…
Pray… and keep on praying…
Prayer is an ongoing effort. We are called to pray without ceasing and take everything to God. Prayer is the key to just about every life issue we could face. Many of us are more than willing to talk to friends about our anxiety, but have you talked to God yet about it?
When it comes to coping with anxiety, God gives us everything we need overcome.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Ben White at ChristianPics.co