I am no stranger to anxiety. Honestly, I’ve battled this enemy since childhood.
I distinctly remember many nights as a young parent when worry and fear would grip my heart. I worried that I was being too hard or too easy on the kids. I worried about whether or not they’d grow up loving Jesus and wanting to serve Him. As they got older, I worried about their driving and the temptations they’d face in high school. The worst part was, on top of my worry, I felt guilty. I heard so many sermons on how worry was a sin. I didn’t want to worry. It just sort of attacked at random moments.
What I needed wasn’t guilt over my worry. I needed a plan to combat my worry!
How do we navigate life with peace and nurture a calm spirit in these chaotic times? On top of everything you might be wrestling with guilt, wondering, “Why can’t I trust God?”
What you need isn’t guilt over your worry. You need a plan to combat your worry!
The Apostle Paul wrote, “For my weakness becomes a portal for God’s power” (2 Corinthians 12:10). When I read those words, I realized that my anxiety was my weakness. My weakness could become a portal for God’s strength.
But the question is how? How can you use your worry to drive you deeper into worship?
Pour out your heart in prayer and then praise Him. The apostle Paul gave us some of the best advice for managing our anxiety. Writing to his friends from prison, Paul wrote, “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 minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). When you feel anxious, turn towards the Lord. Not only is prayer good for your soul and mental health, it’s also good for your physical health. In a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular specialist, discovered that during times of prayer “the body’s metabolism decreases, the heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down and breath becomes calmer and more regular”. It turns out science is proving what God has said all along. Praising God is good for your body, soul, and spirit.
Take a Worship Walk. Take a walk and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. The health benefits of walking are huge. Not only does walking trigger endorphins that raise your spirits and give you more energy, it curbs anxiety, helps you sleep better, and benefits your memory. “Walking for about 40 minutes three times a week increases the size of brain regions associated with memory and planning”. But don’t just walk. Worship while you walk. Praise God for the beauty of creation all around you. Grab your earphones and turn on some worship music. Let the music prompt your praise. The combination of walking and worship will help bring peace to your mind that’s unparalleled.
Sing. Yup, you read that right. Bust out some tunes. “Singing is known to release endorphins, the feel-good brain chemical that makes you feel uplifted and happy. In addition, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing. The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of what the singing sounds like.” The next time you feel overwhelmed, unleash your inner rock star and bust out a melody.
Stay Connected. Even in chaotic times, you can connect regularly with friends and loved ones. Utilize Facetime or Skype. Check-in with each other and offer to pray for one another. Scripture reminds us to “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Isolation often increases feelings of anxiety and depression, so make the effort to stay connected.
Memorize Emergency Verses. Every home I know has an emergency kit. The kit includes things you might need in a medical emergency: Band-Aids, antiseptic ointment, aspirin, or other pain relievers. Why not develop a Bible verse emergency kit? In your kit, you will have favorite passages on index cards. You might include Psalm 91, or Psalm 46, or Philippians 4:4-9. Try to memorize these verses. Even if you can’t memorize them keep them in your purse or backpack. When anxiety strikes, go to your emergency verses and recite them. By taking charge of your thoughts and directing them towards Scripture, you will be able to counter anxiety, worry, and fear.
As I have faithfully put these practices into place, God has poured peace into my heart! He will do the same for you. When worry attacks, don’t let guilt pummel you. Instead, let your weakness become a portal for God’s strength! Turn your panic into praise, and peace will follow!
Order The Extraordinary Power of Praise today! I guarantee learning to become intentional about deeper worship will change your life!
 Prevention. April 2020, 36-37
Great reminders and ideas. One of my favorite that I don’t employ often enough is to use the alphabet to help me pray for people I know. Think of everyone I know whose name starts with A and pray for them. Then B, C, and so forth. I don’t always start with A because I’d never get to other letters. When I do remember, it is an exercise that helps me focus and that helps me calm down/go to sleep.
“Turn your worries into prayers,” translated Eugene Peterson.
And sometimes, a doctor and/or a therapist are needed as well and that’s ok too.
Thank you for your timely post. I know I should trust God for the future, but right now I struggle with doing that. Then I feel guilty for not trusting God like I know I should! Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in feeling this way and some things to do to combat my discouragement.
Bless you, Susan!~ don’t beat yourself up for not trusting God enough. You don’t need guilt on top of anxiety. Just ask God for more trust. Blessings and Joy to you!