What to Do When You're Anxious


What should we do if we are overtaken by anxious thoughts? We should set our focus on God and on His goodness.

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul—Psalm 94:19.

I remember a particularly difficult semester in college.  My classes were hard, and the pressure was on to keep my grades in the A-B category.  Thoughts of failure began to seep into my mind... and those thoughts began to take root.  I can recall sitting at the dinner table in the Dobie Cafeteria one evening, feeling so anxious, believing that disaster was about to overtake me.  It was no fun, and it wasn't something I could easily shake off.  The anxiety was sticking to me like glue.  I desperately needed the peace of God.     

Can you relate?  Have you ever had anxiety befall you?  Has your mind ever flooded with anxious thoughts that begin to take root and breed?   

Anxiety has been defined as an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior.  Some symptoms are restlessness, fatigue, problems in concentration, and muscular tension.  Regardless of how it may manifest itself, one thing is common to all who struggle with it: There is no peace. 


Obviously, God doesn't want us to live in a state of high anxiety.  He has not given us a spirit of fear.  In fact, Jesus told us that peace was a birthright for the child of God.  He wants all people to experience peace with God (salvation) and the peace of God (sanctification).  He doesn't want us to be anxiously looking about, but confidently looking up.

So what are we to do if we are being overtaken by anxious thoughts?  We need to set our focus on God and His goodness.  The comfort of His presence and His Word will turn the dread into delight.  You see, anxiety is nothing more than an alarm clock, awakening us to the fact that we are anxious because we have taken our eyes off the Lord.  Anxious people are filled with the worries of life.  Peaceful people, on the other hand, are filled with the realities of God. 

Isaiah 26:3 is a key verse for fighting anxiety—"You will keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You." 

Where is your mind today?  Is it fixed on the greatness of God?  Is it actively clinging to His precious and magnificent promises?  Remember, no matter how big your problems may seem to you, they are nothing more than a pimple on a flea compared to God.  If God can speak worlds into existence, He can certainly handle whatever troubles you are facing right now.  He is good.  He loves you.  You can trust Him. 


Dear God, I have been so focused on my problems that I have lost sight of You.  Please forgive me, Lord.  I know you are a zillion times greater that this issue that is stealing my peace.  I make the choice today to "turn my eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face."  Lord, you promise peace for all those who keep their minds on You... so I claim that peace, in Jesus' name.   Thank you, God, for being my refuge and strength, my unfailing Savior.  Amen.

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