Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. -Philippians 4:6
Philippians 4:6 - Anxiety by Ashley Bowlin
How many times have you heard do not be anxious about anything or have heard a sermon with this exact verse? If you are apart of a church family, church group, or even just have church friends, you could probably recall hearing this Verse at least a couple times. But how does this help when you deal with anxiety? How can these words help in the middle of an anxiety attack? Let’s take a look.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. If you have an anxiety attack, it can make your heart rate increase, make you hyperventilate, maybe even sweat, or you just shut down all together. Anxiety is no joke, and it is not something to mess around with, nor joke about.
When Paul wrote this to the church in Philippi, he wasn’t messing around either. Paul was a sincere writer. He was only wanting the best for his fellow Christian friends. Through his letters, he would instruct fellow Christians how to live out their Christian lives. The Christian life is hard. It was even hard back then and it is still hard now. The Christian’s back in Paul’s time needed just as much instruction and teaching as we do now. The Christian life wasn't easy on Paul because when Paul wrote this, he wrote this from jail. He was in jail simply for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. So how can Paul say, “Do not be anxious about anything…." when writing from jail..?
Paul could write that because he found himself so much in Christ, that He didn’t care what the world had to say. He even said himself, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Paul got to a place of contentment in Christ that he really didn’t care what happened to him. So how do we get there? There are three pieces of advice in this verse that can help us grow more in Christ and less in our anxiety.
The first way we can attack anxiety head on is to pinpoint exactly what fears and worries are causing your anxiety to rise. If you know your anxiety creeps up at a certain time, place, event, or even if you’re around a certain person, take the time and stop. Ask yourself why is this circumstance making me worry or what is the fear that is taking place. If you can take time to acknowledge what the fear or worry is stemming from, then you can attack it head on. Fear comes from a place of belief that something bad is going to happen to you. Worry is when you dwell on it. Both are lies. These are two weapons that the enemy uses against us far too often. Both of these can be weapons that the enemy uses to push you further away from God, which is exactly what the enemy wants. The enemy can stir up anxiety when we take our eyes off of Christ. He did it back in the garden of Eden and lied to Eve to take the fruit. This pushed Eve away from God and believe the lie. So, if you can stop and acknowledge what the fear is or what the worry is, then you can hand it over to God which helps you grow closer to Him.
The second way we attack anxiety is by praying. This is how we let God take control. We bring our requests to Him. If you can pinpoint the fear and worry, then you can ask God to help you work through these things. You can pray about your anxiety and you can even pray for Him to remove it. You can ask Him to help you forget the lies and believe in the Truth. Take time to sit with God, be with God, and let him work on your heart. Now you might say, “Well I pray but nothing happens,” or “I don’t ever hear God when I try to listen.” To that I would say, open your Bible. God can speak to you through the scriptures. There will be times of frustration, and there will be times of silence; but God is always working in us and through us. We need to the take time to slow down and understand. God wants us to be in relationship with Him, and the closer we get to Him the easier it will be for us to say, “Do not be anxious about anything.” When we are founded so close in Christ, like Paul, we can have peace instead of fear an anxiety. These things don’t change overnight. As in any relationship, they take time. So, learn how to pray, learn how to spend time in the Bible, learn how to push closer to Christ.
The third way to attack anxiety is remembering what God has done for you. Being thankful is replacing those negative emotions, those lies you have believed and filling them with Truth you know. You know how much God has worked in your life. You have seen what He has taken you out of, and where He has placed you. If you can be thankful for all that God has done for you, then even in the silence, you know that God is there. When you have a thankful heart, it is very hard to let the enemy win, to let the lies in and even to let anxiety boil up. Thankfulness is remembering what Christ did on the cross even though we deserved it. So, take time to sit and be thankful for what God has done and that practice will help you reignite the peace.
Once we acknowledge the fear, pray about the fear, and be thankful for what God has done or will do, we can start attacking anxiety head on. Dear friend, know that it is very unlikely that this will happen overnight. It will be a process of running to God over and over again. But you can do it. You can do it because once you lean on Christ, everything will start falling into place. The peace will come, the anxiety will fall away and you will be left remembering another thing Christ has done for you. I am praying for you endlessly.
**Anxiety can be hard to overcome. Sometimes you need to reach out to friends, family, or Christian counselors to help you take these steps. Some might even need medical help and that is OKAY! These are steps that can help point you in the right direction. Christ is the wonderful healer, and He can and will heal you within His timeframe. **