When it comes to anxiety, depression, and stress-related illnesses, America is the frontrunner. Thankfully, Max Lucado provides a roadmap for battling with and healing from anxiety. Do you feel weighted down with worry? Does the uncertainty and chaos of life keep you up at night? Are irrational fears your constant companion? Could you use some calm? Explore God’s treatment plan for anxiety found in the most underlined verse in the Bible, Philippians 4:6–7: Be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, 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.
Anxiety is not so much the onslaught of a storm as the continual threat that one is coming. We have been taught that the Christian life is one of peace. When we don't have peace, we assume the problem is within us, which leads us to feel guilty. But while the presence of anxiety is unavoidable, the prison of anxiety is optional. When Paul writes to "be anxious for nothing," he is saying, "Don't let anything leave you perpetually in angst and breathless." The prescription for anxiety is to "rejoice in the Lord." This is not a call to a feeling but to a decision.
A gentle person is level-headed and reacts to stress with steadiness and fairness. We can choose to pick up every disappointment, stress or frustration that is tossed our way, or we can choose to not pick up that garbage in the first place. We not only have the choice of how we will perceive trials, but how we will react to them. Contagiously calm people trust that God is always in control and encourage others around them that everything will be okay.
Our primary call to action in the fight against anxiety is prayer. The power of prayer is not in chanting the right formula or quoting some secret code, but in the heart of the one praying. God is not manipulated or impressed by formulas or eloquence, but he is moved by sincere requests. As his children, we honor him when we tell him exactly what we need.
"Where is God?" is one of the first and most common questions we ask when facing life's storms. God never promised a life without storms. But he promised to be with us when we face them. As we do our part — rejoice in the Lord, pursue a gentle spirit, pray about everything, cling to gratitude — God does his part...he builds a fortress of peace around our hearts and our minds.
The best way to face anxiety in life is with clear-headed, logical thinking. Our minds are constantly under attack. But, while there are many things in life over which we have no control, we get to choose what we think about. So, instead of responding to unknowns with anxious thoughts, we need to hand our minds over to Christ. We need to let him control our thoughts with his truth.