Anxiety is part of the human condition.
We have within us a set of mechanisms that regulate our emotions, which can easily be overstimulated by the frantic pace of this world, causing a persistent state of worry and fear.
But you weren’t created to be a machine of fear. We all have within us the capacity for calm, clear-headedness, and presence.
When experiencing stressful periods in your life, there are spiritual remedies that can bring you resolve in a more powerful way than you might have imagined.
We’re going to turn to scripture to find out why we’re anxious and what we should be feeling instead. We’ll also look at practical methods to calm the worry inside us.
Anxiety is a common topic in today’s society.
Beyond the normal appearance of day-to-day nervousness or worry, people who suffer from clinical anxiety find themselves in a constant state of emotional turmoil.
These conditions can be categorized under a cluster of distinct psychological illnesses known as ‘anxiety disorders.’
The particular feelings, how they appear, and why determine what kind of anxiety disorder someone is suffering from. This can be depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, OCD, social anxiety, and more.
To be classed as a ‘condition’ rather than an environmentally-influenced emotional state, the anxiety must be persistent, lasting for more than two weeks with no obvious cause.
Unfortunately, experiencing an anxiety disorder is more common today than it has ever been.
National prevalence data indicate that nearly 40 million people in the United States (18%) struggle due to an anxiety disorder in any given year.
The spike in the prevalence of anxiety disorders can be attributed to an increased awareness of the condition, but it is also no doubt influenced by other contemporary factors. These include geopolitical tensions, the mounting threat of climate change, social media addiction, and more.
While anxiety disorders deserve nothing less than highly qualified medical intervention, it’s comforting and enlightening as a Christian to read the useful things the Bible says about the mental states of anxiety and fear.
Let’s break down some popular verses in the Bible about being anxious and worrying.
“Do not be anxious about anything, 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.”
Philippians 4 is an uplifting conclusion to the apostle Paul’s epistle to the Philippians in the New Testament. In it, Paul reminds us of an important principle that fosters a healthy and happy mindset: gratitude.
We’re instructed to try and replace feelings of anxiety with gratitude for the simple fact of our existence.
When you’re experiencing anxiety in life, try and think of things you’re grateful for — whether it’s your morning cup of coffee or the guidance and protection of the Lord — and focus on that feeling.
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Why do we worry?
It seems that much of the time, worrying does nothing to advance our situation, yet we continue to do it. Combining poetic beauty with stoic logic, Matthew reminds us that other animals aren’t burdened with worry about the type of things we tend to worry about because they are safe in the abundance of the mighty hand of God that feeds them. It is the same for us.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
When does our suffering end?
Though you might not know the answer to that question, it is a powerful thing to remember that it will.
This is the basis of the religious notion of faith, which we all should strive to have in the good word of God. But what about a little faith in ourselves? Or faith that things will get better?
When you find yourself lost in anxious thoughts, have faith that you’ll be lifted out of your worry, as Peter says, in due time.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with my righteous right hand.”
Oftentimes, anxiety can strike us most deeply when we’re alone.
However, as Christians, we’re never truly alone.
Even in moments of physical solitude, God is always with us spiritually. And we’re always at liberty to ask for His strength and support.
The Bible is full of uplifting messages regarding anxiety and fear. For more, explore the following passages:
Prayer is a powerful spiritual tool for calming anxiety.
Like meditation, prayer allows us a few sacred moments to simply breathe and communicate with the most high.
When performed correctly, prayer establishes a relationship with God that fosters adoration, faith, and gratitude. We draw nearer to God through prayer and learn more of His will for our lives, discovering perfect peace through His grace.
To experience this yourself, try our 21-day prayer plan, specifically designed to calm anxiety and worry.
In the grand span of life, we’re undoubtedly going to encounter moments of anxiety and worry.
Thankfully, the Bible contains many words of comfort that can expand our own understanding of how to handle these emotions with poise and grace.
When you're face-to-face with anxiety, take a moment to orient your thoughts toward God and toward Jesus — He’s called the Lord of Peace for a reason! He’ll offer you all the spiritual tools you need to overcome your troubles.