“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
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”Matthew 6:34
*look at Matthew 6:25-34 for Jesus’ whole teaching on this topic
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:7
The Bible speaks often of anxiety… there are several other places outside of these three verses where anxiety is mentioned. We can read stories of anxious people (Ex: Martha in Luke 10: 38-42) or Jesus’ teaching to not be anxious (Matthew 6:25-34 & Luke 12:22-34) or Solomon who can relate to the weight of anxiety (Proverbs 12:25). I think it’s pretty clear that God understands the reality of anxiety in the world!
But what are we supposed to do with these verses? Is the anxiety talked about in the Bible different from anxiety disorder that can be diagnosed by psychologists? How are we supposed to practically combat anxiety because the Bible makes it clear that we should not be anxious?!
To begin, I want to make it clear that there is a difference between common anxiety and anxiety disorder… I am a college student studying psychology and one of the first topics that was discussed in my classes is anxiety. I am learning that common anxiety is an emotion. It is something that I am certain you have felt before! It’s the feeling you get right before you take a test you know you didn’t prepare well for or the feeling you get right before you go in for a job interview that you feel unqualified for. This is something that everyone (even myself!!) has experienced.
This kind of anxiety is totally different from anxiety disorder. I have known several people who battle anxiety disorder, and it is a mental health topic that is commonly discussed in my classes. Anxiety disorder is diagnosed and treated by psychologists. It is something that the brain is not strong enough to overcome on its own. It is usually marked by panic attacks, which include trouble breathing, high heart rate, uncontrollable shaking, etc. People with anxiety disorder often “spiral” into a state of anxiety that feels impossible to come out of. There are medicines and therapy options available to provide support to those who struggle with this.
When the Bible speaks of anxiety, it is not talking about anxiety disorder because this is a medical mental health diagnosis. The anxiety talked about in the Bible is referring to common anxiety, which is something all of us have experienced.
The Bible commands that we are not anxious about anything. This includes all the scary tests, the hard conversations, our overwhelming schedules, family responsibilities, etc. God asks that we surrender all these things to Him, “casting all our anxieties on Him” & lifting everything up in “prayer and supplication with thanksgiving”. He cares for you & He listens to you, so surrender it all to Him. Before approaching whatever you are anxious about, make it a habit to prayerfully surrender it to Him. He is trustworthy and more than capable of taking on your anxieties.
Check out the verse that follows Philippians 4:6…
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
God promises peace (and not just any peace!! a peace that surpasses understanding!!) to those who surrender their anxieties to the Lord! How awesome is that?!
So, to those of you feeling anxious: let’s make a habit of surrendering those anxieties to the Lord because He is trustworthy and He cares for you AND He promises a peace that goes far beyond our understanding!
To those of you who think you may be battling anxiety disorder: it is okay to seek help! There are many therapists and counsellors who want to help you through this. I know the weight of anxiety can feel overwhelming, but just like any other medical diagnosis, we serve a God who is more than capable of healing and redemption! Surrender these things also to the Lord, trusting that He is in control! There is an abundance of peace and hope for you too (:
Beloved children of the King, surrender all the anxieties weighing heavily on your heart to Him and embrace the abundance of peace that He has to offer. If there is something I can be praying for, please submit it under the “contact me” page (at the top of this page). I know the weight of anxiety that can feel overbearing, so let’s lift it up to the Lord together.