Has your anxiety ever escalated and grown out of proportion, causing you to become so focused on the future that you cannot remain focused on today?
I can’t count the times my mind has wandered into the future, allowing anxiety to run rampant and I believe my worst fears will transpire. It is in these moments that my fear overtakes all my faith. My fear consumes my thoughts and my perception of God is tainted. I allow the incredible power of my God to become diminished by the weight of my fears.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When we encounter difficulties we can often become engulfed by the incredible weight they inflict on us, although we were never meant to carry this burden alone. When we take God’s “yoke” upon us, we are allowing Him to train, lead and guide us without having to worry or fret over our lives.
I’ll share four reminders that I have found helpful when enduring through anxiety-filled seasons and how they helped release my fears over to God.
Something that has helped me incredibly when enduring through extreme anxiety is reciting Scripture to remind me of God’s truth. I use Scripture as prayers to God to refocus my heart and remind me He is in control. I have included a few of the many that I’ve recited recently in times of worry and fear.
Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 26:3: You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Psalm 23:1-3: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
God is for you
Amid trying circumstances we can often think that God is inflicting pain into our lives to make things difficult for us. God never allows trials to come because He enjoys seeing us suffer and wants to cause us pointless pain. Each difficulty is allowed in our lives to develop character, teach us reliance on God or strengthen our trust. No pain is worthless. It is how we react during those trying times that is allowing us to grow the very most. Do we turn to God for reliance, or do we wallow in the fear of what could be or what God is allowing?
The LORD is for me; he will help me.
Focus on the present, not the big picture
Anxiety can become overwhelming when we look too far into the future or remember too much of our past. God desires us to not get caught up in what tomorrow holds, let alone worry about our future.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
We find in Exodus 16, God instructed the Israelites to take the manna He supplied them with, only to provide them for each day. They were not intended to collect more than what that day required. I believe God desires that of us as well. We cannot control what will occur in our future, it is not a burden we are meant to bear. We are to live wisely in the moment, focus on what we can do now and let God take care of the rest.
I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.
We have eternal hope
Even if your worst fear occurred, as Christians we know we have an eternal hope that awaits us beyond the pain of this world. We don’t have to live in fear because we know we will one day reign in heaven where there will be no more pain, worry, suffering or depravity. This world is only a temporary place until we reach our eternal home where God is awaiting our arrival. The very worst of days on this world cannot compare to the joy we will experience when we reach heaven.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Our anxieties do not have to consume us, but rather be used to turn us back to God. When we become anxious or fearful, we can transition our worry to prayer. When you find yourself beginning to worry, turn it into a time of prayer instead. In fact, “Do not fear” is written in the Bible 365 times, one for each day of the year. If God mentions “Do not fear” that many times in Scripture we can rest assured that He cares for us so much that we should not grow fearful in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.