"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
I've been a little anxious this summer. More than a little anxious at times. I have a full-time teaching job coming up in (gulp) 15 days, plus all of the other things that are just part of life and stress me out at times. So when we went to Colorado with our youth group this past week for Rocky Mountain High I tried to leave all of that anxiety behind and just enjoy the music, speakers, and beautiful scenery of this big youth event. I really did enjoy it.
On the last day I stopped by the prayer tent and had someone pray with me. I knew that I was going back to my normal routine and it was going to be difficult to deal with the stress. It was really helpful to talk things through and hear someone praying for me. After praying, the person asked me how I felt and I started to say, "Well, I still feel kind of anxious..." and I was shocked to hear them say that I couldn't do that. They adamantly proclaimed that I had no right to do that - at all. They pointed out that the Bible says not to be anxious and if I believe the Bible I can't be anxious. If I let myself feel anxious I'm just letting the devil win!
At first, I almost felt offended. How dare someone tell me I can't feel anxious? (*See note below) But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that they were right. I'm a Christian and the Bible does say not to be anxious. I've been pondering that often in the couple of days since we got home. It has helped. When I'm tempted to feel anxious, I remind myself to talk to God about it instead. I remind myself not to let Satan win.
I looked up verses about being anxious. Expecting to find lots and lots, I was surprised to find only 5 verses about it in the NIV Bible, and only 6 verses about worry. Evidently God didn't want us focusing on this habit and He didn't talk about it much.
On the other hand, there are 117 verses about peace in the New International Version of the Bible. Maybe that's where our focus needs to be. Focusing on our anxiety wastes time and energy and doesn't move us along in the right direction. It keeps us stuck. Let's all try to make a conscious decision to turn it over to God and experience His peace instead.
"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 NIV)
Do you feel anxious at times? Can you see how talking to God about it could help you experience peace instead? How can you remind yourself to do this?
[*Please note that this post is directed toward those of us who can make a conscious decision to turn from our anxiety and focus on better things. I realize that some people get stuck and feel so much anxiety that they have trouble functioning daily. I believe that some people need to seek out professional help when anxiety becomes overwhelming. They may need counseling and/or medicine in order to feel better and be able to look at situations more objectively. Get that help if you need it!]