When you’re stressed and anxious, it’s difficult to see straight. You feel as if you’re trapped in an endless loop of “what-if’s”, endless “to-do’s”, fears and disappointments.
So naturally… what happens?
Stress creeps in and invades. Anxiety waps it’s tendrils around you.
You start to panic.
Maybe you’ve battled with stress and anxiety for your whole life. Maybe it’s just become apart of your life recently. Or maybe you haven’t experienced it yet.
Whatever it may be for you… take heart. God offers a solution. And His solution is ridiculously simple. Like simple to the point that it almost seems to easy.
Here’s His solution.
“Do not be anxious about anything.” (Philippians 4:6)
You may be thinking: “Really? Is it that simple? How can I just NOT be stressed or anxious? That’s impossible!”
God doesn’t offer this elaborate plan that includes 20 steps to get rid of stress and anxiety. He doesn’t give us more to worry about. He doesn’t give us more rules or more guilt to pile on our backs.
Simply, He tells us to not be anxious.
In a world with a million solutions to every problem, God offers a different approach. It’s simple and it’s attainable if you trust Him. Let’s approach this verse as a breath of fresh air from our loving Father!
Is it really that simple?
This command might seem like a slap in your face, as if God is saying: “You’re anxious? Stop it! Don’t do that. I don’t know why you’re anxious.” Friends — God isn’t saying that. Instead, He’s offering a gentle and tangible invitation to rest, praise and pray.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (4:5-7)
Verse 5b tells us why we don’t have to stress or be anxious: because the Lord is near to us. He’s physically near to us and He’s also reminding us that His second coming is soon. God is reminding us that He is always with us and that soon, He will rescue us from a stress-ridden world! How wonderful!
Because God is so near, we don’t have to stress about this and that. Because God is so near, we don’t have to be anxious. We simply are to pray and ask Him for help. We simply are to praise Him for who He is and He will wrap us in His lavish peace.
Trust the process!
Even though this command sounds so simple, it really isn’t. This verse isn’t providing us a “magic wand” kind of fix. It’s not promising that one wave of the wand will cure us from all stress and anxiety.
It’s a life-long process.
To rest in God’s perfect peace, we are called to a life-long practice of pursuing Christ in every area of our lives.
Stop the anxiety before it comes!
If you find yourself easily stressed and anxious, let me offer you this encouragement.
Pray preemptively. When you feel that twinge of stress and anxiety start to rear its ugly head, immediately go to the Lord in prayer. Ask the Lord to help you recognize when the anxiety starts to form so that you can quickly disarm it with His help.
The prayer may even look like this: “Lord, I’m feeling anxious. I don’t know why or what is causing it but I can feel it starting. Help me to step away for a second — take some deep breaths and slow my heart down to Your pace. Help me to look to You.”
Then instead of letting your mind go full-on anxiety mode, the Holy Spirit will gently remind you that there’s a better way to handle this. And because the Holy Spirit lives in us, we have the strength to obey. We have the power in Jesus Christ to fight this head on. We can actually live out Philippians 4:6 and “not be anxious about anything”.
It’s hard to choose Jesus and His way of handling stress in those moments sometimes. But when we do, we will feel inexpressable peace every time. He always answers with peace.
Recognize your stressful & anxious patterns.
There may be certain trigger points in your life that cause stress. I know for me, whenever I start school back up after a long break, or go through emotional trials with friends, it triggers a lot of stress. When we’re diligent to recognize those patterns, we will be prepared to face it.
Also, replace the anxiety with something better.
When we fast, the point is to take a break from something to make room for something better. The same can be said when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety. Replace the stress and anxiety with something better.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:5 to “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!” (emphasis mine) Hmmm… sounds important, right?
Praise is a great re-direct! It reorients our minds and reminds us of the Truth. When we fix our eyes on Jesus and rejoice in Him, everything else becomes clearer. The focus is off of us and onto Him. We won’t have room for anxiety’s lies when we are looking at our Savior — because our Savior has nothing to do with stress or anxiety.
So remember: Don’t be anxious. With God, it can be simple. It may be a life-long process, but all He asks from you is to trust Him. Give thanks. Praise Him. Ask Him for His help. Then you will see that He is absolutely capable of doing that in your life.