Let’s be honest. Matrimony sometimes feels like a place of discouragement and disappointment.
Marriage was created by God as an institution of security, love, friendship, and lifetime partnership. But anyone who’s married knows it doesn’t always fit such descriptions.
When struggles arise, as they do in any marriage, it’s common to sense anxiety rising. In the past, I have worried that I was failing to be a good wife or provide what my husband needed. At times I felt nervous thinking perhaps our marriage wouldn’t survive and that my kids would grow up with divorced parents. I have felt the anxiety of financial concerns and the burden of caring for our home and family while working full time.
There’s no doubt about it. Marriage can generate mountains of stress if we allow it to. I spent years allowing thoughts of “maybe” and “what if” cause more anxiety in my marriage than I care to admit.
Navigating Fear and Insecurity
It’s easy to see, now, how I worried to excess and allowed my tendency of overthinking rob me of peace and joy in my marriage. Looking back, I realize that I didn’t have the tools I needed to navigate my own fears and insecurities. In my early marriage, I was just learning to follow the Lord and didn’t understand the concept of surrender.
I received wise counsel such as “just give it to God,” or “let go and let God work it out.” But I had no idea how to put those phrases into practice. Truth be told, I didn’t even have an effective prayer life at that time. In church, I heard that God would help us but in the reality of my daily struggles, I couldn’t see evidence of His aid or comfort.
I didn’t know how to talk to my husband about what I was feeling. Communicating my insecurities was a terrifying thought. After all, I might find that each one was completely true, and then where would I be? So, I suppressed my worry and provided an environment in my thought life for anxiety to flourish.
That wasn’t fun for anyone.
The Truth of God’s Word
I had to learn to rely on God’s Word and allow its truth to fill my heart and mind. In doing so, I discovered the calming and peaceful impact that Scripture could have on my daily life.
My husband and I reached a point in our relationship where we separated. It was there, alone in different homes, that each of us began to pray. In our division, at last, God led us to an incredible act of unity. As we started to pray for each other, for our marriage, and ourselves, God revealed His nearness and unceasing activity in our lives.
Prayer delivered such peace and calm to my anxious heart that I could finally begin to see the future of joy and fulfillment that lay ahead. It restored my hope and taught me how to lay my concerns at the foot of the cross, surrendering worry and anxiety to the Lord. Through His goodness and power, God restored our relationship and brought wholeness that we’d never experienced.
That was twenty-five years ago. And with God’s help, we have enjoyed and thrived in a peace-filled marriage.
Praying Scripture for Your Marriage
In celebration of God’s goodness and aiming to help others calm anxiety in their own marriages, I created a 31-day prayer devotional for marriage. Each day provides Scriptures with prayer guidance that will invite the Lord to do a mighty work in your relationship.
The impact that these Scriptures have had on our marriage is nearly indescribable. We’ve transitioned from struggling and considering divorce to a fulfilling life-long commitment with open communication and unwavering trust for one another.
31 Specific Prayers for Your Marriage is more than just a list of Scriptures. It provides practical application pointers and hands-on guidance for growth in your prayer life. I believe, wholeheartedly, that it can help calm anxiety and stress in your marriage. It certainly had a God-sized impact in mine.
May you feel the Lord’s nearness today,
Seven days of calming anxiety. I certainly need the wisdom we’re learning together, and I pray this is a meaningful and inspirational series for you. Each post in the series turned to Scripture to embrace its truth and allow it to help point our minds to the authentic Source of our peace.
Recapping Our Journey
Calm Anxiety with God’s Power—2 Timothy 1:7
How to Calm Anxiety and Find Sleep—Psalm 4:8 and Proverbs 3:24
Finding Peace Through Humility—1 Peter 5:6-7
Calming Anxiety Through Gratitude—Philippians 4:6-7
Calming Anxiety Through Surrender—Isaiah 41:10
Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ—Isaiah 26:3
Hope for Today
Today’s anxiety-calming Scripture is one that, at its surface, almost sounds too good to be true.
6 John 14:1
Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me (HCSB).
At times, it seems these words of Jesus are oversimplified. How do we gain freedom from a troubled heart by simply believing? Through prayer and in considering the depth of His profound statement, God gives me a glimpse of His powerful intent for these words.
If we desire freedom from a troubled heart, we must believe in God and His Son. Before this instruction can have the powerful impact they’re capable of, it’s important to analyze our belief.
During personal periods of hardship and anxious thinking, I have adopted some errant ideas about the Lord. They clouded what the Bible teaches is true about the living God. For example, when experiencing past trials:
I’ve believed God was no longer for me,
Or that He stopped caring about the people I love.
In the past, I’ve believed that my sin was too great to be covered by the blood of Jesus,
And that I was too disgraceful to receive forgiveness.
I believed that the Lord abandoned me
Or that I was being punished.
Each statement is completely untrue. If I believe false truths about Jesus, I have no hope in calming or overcoming anxiety.
Calm Anxiety With the Truth of God
In order to calm my troubled heart, I must believe the truth about God and that truth is found in His Word.
When I believe that His love covers a multitude of sins, including my own, then I receive hope for a blessed future walking in the Lord’s favor. (See 1 Peter 4:8).
By believing that He is a loving Father, I can embrace my identity as His child and know that He is for me. Whatever struggles He allows into my life are filtered through His loving kindness. (See 1 John 3:1).
With the belief that God has a good plan for His children, I can rest in the knowledge that He is always working for my good and His glory. (See Jeremiah 29:11).
It’s not enough to believe in a God about whom I’ve formed my own perception —especially one based on emotion and disappointments. Complete peace comes when I believe in the God of the Bible, when I believe who God says He is in His Word. The more I read His Word, the more I begin to know and understand His character, His nature, and His ways. A deeper connection and relationship with my Heavenly Father emerges out of the time that I spend with Him. There, I find perfect peace that calms anxiety.
Mindful of Anxiety
Part of the formula I’ve discovered to calm anxiety is to remain mindful of it. I’ve learned that I cannot allow it to run rampant through my heart and mind or my anxious thoughts will continue to multiply within me. I must tame my thought patterns, and that requires smothering them with the truth of Scripture. When my mind is filled with God’s truth, there’s no room for it to wander off into negative, anxious, and destructive thinking.
The Bible is filled with God’s wisdom and instruction that deliver His authentic and unwavering peace. By relying on Him, I can calm anxiety and embrace joy in my jumbled life.
May you discover our holy God through His Word today,
Anxiety, whether common anxiety over life issues or an anxiety disorder, is something that plagues our minds. It takes root in our thought lives and can disrupt so much more: our energy levels, concentration, eating habits, sleep, communication, relationships, you name it! The real struggle is in what we ponder, which is why today’s verse is so powerful as we work to calm anxiety.
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace,
for it is trusting in You (HCSB)
The more we focus on God, the more we receive His peace. The HCSB says peace comes when our minds are dependent on God. Other Bible translations use the terms “stayed,” “fixed,” or “steadfast.” Each points us in the same direction. When God is the center of our focus, we trust in Him and He brings peace. Perfect peace. That peace is unwavering and able to withstand anything that comes at us.
How do we focus on God? How do we develop a steadfast thought life that holds Christ in the center? It takes practice, first and foremost. And we start one step at a time. Here are some practices that help me when my thoughts threaten to take a dangerous path of worry and anxiety:
Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ
Read more of God’s Word.
My aim is to read Scripture every day. I don’t give myself a set assignment like reading an entire chapter or three. My days are too sporadic for that. Sometimes I have lots of time to read and other days it feels like my feet are running on a treadmill before I ever even get out of bed. As I read daily Scripture, sometimes it’s one verse. Sometimes it’s an entire book of the Bible. It truly doesn’t matter. If I’m reading His Word, it is an aid to keep my mind fixed on God.
Pray and ask for focus.
As I turn my minds to focus on God, I’m trying to accomplish a spiritual discipline. I cannot accomplish a spiritual discipline with fleshly strength. It’s important to ask for the Lord’s help in my endeavor and accept His supernatural and divine help. I am not alone in this task. God is by my side, aiding and equipping me along the way.
Place visual and electronic reminders.
It helps a LOT to have a Bible verse taped to the bathroom mirror, or to my dashboard, or as wallpaper on my phone. It also helps to set an electronic alarm as a reminder to take a break for 5 minutes and read or re-read a verse or passage each day. Lastly, when making the bed, I sometimes place my Bible on my pillow to remind myself to read the Word once again before I drift off to sleep.
Listen to podcasts or watch videos that pertain to the Bible.
I find this a great way to use my drive time or chore time to help my thought habits. ** If you’d like to listen in, I have a FREE daily video devotion series here. **
I often ask a friend, mentor, or even my husband to check in with me from time to time and ask if I’ve been in God’s Word each day. If I know I’ll have to answer to someone, even casually, I’m much more diligent in my efforts. Accountability can go a long way in strengthening my thought life and fixing it on God.
Which of these tips do you find most helpful? Are there practices that you use that I didn’t share? Please tell me about them in the comments. I’d love to hear!
For additional inspiration about calming anxiety, be sure to read the rest of this 7-day series.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it on social media so other women can also be encouraged!
May you find great peace today as you fix your mind on Christ,
Mamas tend to worry. It’s what we do. We face more anxiety about our children than we ever dreamed possible.
I remember seasons when my kids were off to college, wrestling with feeling utterly out of control. And that’s because I was. We can teach, guide, counsel, and influence our kids till we’re blue in the face. But when it comes right down to it, they’ll make their own decisions. As parents, we have no way of controlling that.
I lost a lot of sleep in those college days, wishing I could be with my kiddos to guard and protect them and worrying over them because I couldn’t. There’s not much that’s fun about the early empty nest years, especially the tremendous concern that floods our hearts.
I’ll never forget a phone call during one of those heavy seasons. I talked with my son who said, “Mom, look up Isaiah 41:10. My coach showed it to me while we were on the bus to our last game.”
Once I looked up the verse it became a staple in our home. I cling to it often when I slip into my fearful, worrisome and anxious tendencies.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand (HCSB).
Calm Anxiety Through Surrender
In his own way, my son was reminding me that God was tending to us both. The Lord was watching over me and guarding my troubled heart. He was also holding my son in the palm of His hand, caring for him in ways that I never could. The Lord would also watch over my daughter when it was time for her to move away. This verse reminded me of that and helped me rest in God’s protection.
Even when my kids are beyond my reach, I can trust that the Lord is caring for me, loving them like the gracious, protective, and tender-hearted Father that He is.
The Holy Spirit calls Isaiah 41:10 to my mind often, reminding me to surrender to God’s shielding care. It helps me release the protective hold I imagine that I have over my family and trust that God will handle all the details. I am not to be afraid because He is God, He is with me, He is with my family, and He helps and strengthens us all.
As you work to calm anxiety and worry today, take a moment to intentionally surrender your cares to God. Hold your hands in front of you, palms up and relaxed, symbolizing that you’re releasing your grip on the things that trouble your heart. Then name them, one by one, and tell the Lord that you surrender each point of concern into His strong and loving care. Ask that He show you, moment by moment, how He holds you and your worries in His righteous right hand.
May you find comfort in God’s Word,
Thank you for stopping by the blog! Today is Day 4 in our series 7 Days Toward Calming Anxiety where, day by day, we allow the truth of God’s Word to calm our anxious hearts.
Philippians 4:6-7 were two of the first verses I ever memorized and the Lord calls it to mind often as I struggle with fear and worry. It’s become a trusted source of comfort that provides me with several action steps to calm anxiety.
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (HCSB).
The most common takeaway from this familiar passage is prayer, which is powerful and effective. Prayer should be our go-to response to trouble instead of the last resort that we turn to when nothing else seems to work. If you know me at all, you know that I value and fully embrace the power of prayer. In fact, I shared a series on the topic of prayer that you can read here.
But today I’d like to focus on a little phrase inside of this treasured verse that’s often overlooked:
Calm Anxiety Through Gratitude
As I’ve learned (and continue to learn) how to conquer worry and anxiety, one of the most powerful weapons in my arsenal is gratitude. It’s pulled me from many obsessive thought patterns that firmly grip my mind. Giving thanks to God not only spurs our faith, but it’s also a healing practice with the power to transform and renew our minds.
Today as you continue in mindfulness about your own anxiety, I encourage you to take a break. Grab a comforting beverage, find a quiet place to reflect and list 5-10 aspects of your current situation for which you’re thankful.
I’ll share transparently that I struggle today with the unknown. After decades of solid employment in our home, I’m wrestling with our current uncertain situation, “what if” types of thoughts, and more worry than I care to admit. I can’t see the future as I once believed I could. As I practice gratitude, I am thankful that . . .
- I have an incredible man of God partnering with me on this journey
- while we can make plans, it’s the Lord who determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9)
- God provides for our every need and has given us countless examples of that
- we have friends who stand in the gap on our behalf, both praying and doing great, generous things
- we’re learning to find contentment in every season
- God’s timing is perfect and He is never late
- Multiple opportunities await us on the horizon and we can look forward to new adventures
Simply listing simple statements of thanks shifts my mind from worry to peace and from anxiety to calm. May the practice of gratitude transform your thoughts as well.
Be blessed by God’s mighty promises,