Stepping Stones to an Anxiety Free Life
by Margaret Silvester
According to statistics, anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the UK and elsewhere, yet it is still under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated. Anxiety disorders have surpassed depression and alcoholism as the number one mental health problem in many cultures. Though it can have physical, emotional and spiritual impact on a person’s life there is not usually any guarantee of a cure. However, the Bible offers hope and the possibility of an anxiety free life. Psalm 37 gives a number stepping stones to this.
Firstly, trust in the Lord. We are exhorted well over one hundred times to do this. To trust God simply means what it says - trust Him - lean on Him, rely on Him and have confidence in Him. If your trust is not in Him it will be in yourself or someone else or something else and that kind of trust cannot bring security. God is a trustworthy Guide and Friend; He cannot fail. Real security cannot be found anywhere else. Make it your life’s aim to truly know God for when you understand His character you cannot help but trust Him.
Secondly, delight yourself in the Lord. We might say this means put God first in your life. Concern yourself with His ways, familiarise yourself with His thoughts, His flawless character and His unfailing promises. When you delight yourself in the Lord He will shape the desires of your heart so that they fit in with His desires. He will give you the desires of your heart and you will be satisfied.
Thirdly, commit your way to the Lord. Don’t plan your own way. Commit everything to Him. The idea is that of rolling a heavy burden from yourself to another so that He can carry it. We are exhorted to roll or cast on to God every care and concern. He has a perfect plan for your life and He will protect and vindicate you even when you go through times of trouble which may seem to overwhelm you. Our God is a God of justice.
Fourthly, be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. The Hebrew definition is to stop striving, to let go, to surrender. It means to have an inner quietness so that God can speak to us. To be still is to stop trying to work things out, to cease doing things in your own way and in confident trust wait for God to act on your behalf. The world is a noisy anxious place. Our hearts can be so filled with the clutter around us that we cannot hear the still small voice of the One who has said, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? Trust in Him.”
As I was once praying with someone who was suffering from anxiety we read `Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you` (1 Peter 5:7). I gave the person a bag of soft balls and encouraged them to hurl every one of the balls with force at the wooden cross in the room, as a symbolic act of hurling their anxieties on Jesus. Considerable emotion was released in the act.
Anxieties are intended to be cast not carried, to be hurled not hoarded. They are meant to be cast or hurled on to the One who said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) His name is Jesus.
Prayer: Dear Father, Please forgive me for the times I have failed to trust in You. Forgive me for the times I have gone my own way, seeking to make myself feel better, instead of coming to You for true freedom, found in Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross. I cast today’s anxieties upon Him, choosing to believe Your word is true. I approach today with the knowledge I am Your child and the evil one cannot harm me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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