If you’ve read my about page, The Truth about Eliza Grace, you know that I struggle with anxiety and depression on a regular basis. I have found in my life that mental health problems, among other issues, oftentimes relate to spiritual health problems in one way or another. As I deal with these issues, I must remember to go to God first. He has shown me the following verses to battle the anxiety that rages in my mind and throughout my body.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
When I first discovered this passage many years ago, I immediately decided to devote it to memory. Then I would recite it over and over during times of anxiety, whether mild, moderate, or severe. For example, during track season in high school, I would recite it over and over before a race. For some reason, I would get so anxious before a race that I would make myself physically sick. This verse helped me to calm down and concentrate on the Lord rather than on my own nerves. Now, several years later, I continue to return to this verse for comfort and wisdom. It reminds me that my own understanding of life and circumstances is skewed, and only His understanding is perfect. In every endeavor, I must go to him for direction. When I do this, He promises to guide me.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
This has become my go-to verse when experiencing any sort of anxiety. For those of us who experience anxiety often, what do we really want? Peace. Here, God tells us exactly how to gain that peace, which only comes from Him. Gaining peace doesn’t mean that your circumstances will change or that the world will all make sense. It means that your heart and mind will be kept (or guarded) through Christ Jesus.
Let’s break down this passage. Notice that God promises peace beyond our understanding — peace that we cannot even begin to fathom because it doesn’t make sense in our crazy world! But He also gives us directions in order to experience that peace. He says to go to Him in prayer, giving Him all of your requests. However, it’s not just about asking God for peace. It took me a long time to realize that I was overlooking one small but important phrase: “with thanksgiving.” God directs us to take everything to Him in prayer with thanksgiving. We should give Him thanks for what He has done and for what He will do. Since then, I’ve noticed that it’s somewhat difficult to be thankful and anxious at the same time!
Now, please understand that this isn’t always easy. I have to remind myself often of this truth from God’s Word. At times, I remember to pray and give thanks, laying everything before Him, and He does give me peace! But as soon as I pick up those anxieties again and cease from thanking Him — as soon as I change my primary focus from God to something else — the feelings of worry overcome me once more. Thus, I understand that this is a day-by-day, even moment-by-moment, act of giving my anxieties to God.
Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
This verse is my most recent comfort and challenge. Notice that God promises strength for your heart. However, just like the previous verses, this is contingent upon our actions. We must do two things: be of good courage and hope in the Lord. God directs us to have courage and hope in the Lord — not in ourselves — and he will give us strength for whatever challenges come our way.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Do you love God? If so, He promises that ALL things are working together for your good. This means that even the things in life that are difficult, things that seem horrible, things that seem unfair, things that seem tragic — those things, along with everything else, are working together for your good. You will receive some sort of blessing. You will look back someday and see this truth — even this difficult time right now, by God’s grace, will have helped you to grow.
Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
Many of those who experience anxiety on a regular basis have trouble sleeping. Thankfully, I’m not usually one of those people, but I have had a few sleepless nights in which I used this verse to calm my spirit. As God’s children, we can know for sure that we are safe in Him.
Are you God’s child? It’s possible that you are experiencing anxiety because you have not yet accepted Christ as your Savior. To learn more about this life-changing experience, visit this link.