This devotional is the first of eleven short pieces that can be read alongside Phil’s new online course that teaches about Anxiety and Stress. You can find the course on the Fill In website by clicking here.
This introductory piece will offer a few additional insights and some encouragement as you engage in the course. As you know, anxiety, fear, and worry are familiar words to us, and many of us experience them at different times. Anxiety is no respecter of demographics or status and shows up in various ways such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. It is not our aim to offer a quick fix to rid your anxiety, or give you all of the answers but rather acknowledge the reality of this epidemic and offer some thoughts, helps and God-given solutions.
For some, this will be a lifeline to find a way to live with anxiety in Christ, others might find the answers and lights on moments to find new freedom. We have known and experienced both, and our prayer as you listen and read is that you will know a new reality and profound truth of the God who encourages you to cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
We are not alone in our search for answers. Data from Amazon found here describes the most popular, beautiful, and poetic passages that readers had underlined in many online books.
Here is the most highlighted verse from the NIV version of the Bible. ‘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 your minds in Christ Jesus“ Philippians 4:6-7. The verses before and after encouraging readers to ‘rejoice in the Lord’ and focus on where our thoughts are landing by thinking on ‘whatever is true, whatever is admirable.’ We are encouraged to not be anxious about anything… ANYTHING. Easy for you to say, Paul. But maybe not as I’m reminded that he wrote this from prison. He had clearly found a way to find peace in this cold, anxious place, encouraging us to find peace ‘by prayer and petition.’
Other translations put it this way…
The Message (MSG) ‘Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.’
It is so easy to allow newsfeeds, news flashes, and our hypothetical headlines to cloud our knowledge of what we know is true in God. I like how the Passion Translation translates the same verse, ‘don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about something. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.’
Saturation becomes the answer to paralyzation
When I spin on the hamster wheel of anxiety, and as the swirling clouds wrap me up, and I become excessive in my overthinking, I find that grace has a harder time breaking through. For this introductory post, I thought I’d introduce a few wins for my own journey – I hope they help. Further posts will include testimonies of friends and my community who have found their way with anxiety.
What causes your anxiety? What causes you to lose sight of God’s love, sovereignty, and care? Journal your answers.
One of the things I love to do when I get stuck in the ‘traffic jam’ unable to move, I remember. I remember that God has proven Himself faithful, over and over again. He has shown me His mercy and His promised presence daily.
…and finally, another piece the most underlined, this time from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:
Wrong will be right,
When Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar,
sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth,
winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane,
we shall have spring again.
Meditate and Memorise
Throw all your anxiety on [God], because he cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:25–26
Listen: I’ll Give Thanks, Housefires
Part two in a few days, don’t forget to sign up and forward to those it might help,
Love, Michelle x