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,
Welcome back! This is day 3 of the series 7 Days Toward Calming Anxiety. Together, we’ll focus on the peace that the Lord brings and use His strength to calm our anxious thoughts.
Today’s Bible verse is one of my favorites.
1 Peter 5:6-7
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you” (HCSB).
I don’t often consider humility as a powerful tool against anxiety, but it certainly is.
As we succumb to worry and anxiety, we focus on our circumstance to an unhealthy level while pushing away the truth of God and His Word. We begin to believe that our situation is too big for God to handle, that He won’t bring the right outcome, or that He’ll make the first mistake ever recorded in eternity. Do you see how we begin to inflate our trials until, in our minds, they become more powerful than our mighty God?
We don’t do it intentionally, but we put ourselves and our concerns in the center of our “universe” instead of giving God His rightful place in that position. We exalt our concerns over the peace of God.
Taking Thoughts Captive
Calming anxiety requires that we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. He is bigger than our circumstance, bigger than the trials that we face, bigger than our worries and He is more than able to calm our anxiety. 1 Peter 5:6-7 reminds us that rather than carrying the burden of our cares in our own strength, we can cast them onto God who loves and cares about us.
Each time you find yourself dwelling on your troubles or feeling anxious, take those thoughts captive. Remind yourself that God’s ways are best. He cares for you and is always working for your good. With God on your side, everything will work out per His good and perfect plan.
Allow God’s truth to overtake your fear, worry, and anxiety. And be sure to check out yesterday’s post about calming anxiety here. Be sure to read yesterday’s post and stop by again tomorrow for additional inspiration.
May God’s Word strengthen you today,
Welcome to day 2 of the series 7 Days Toward Calming Anxiety! This time of year brings a unique level of stress, fear, and even anxiety. So together, we’re taking a close look at Scripture and using this valuable resource to calm anxiety and embrace the joy of the Lord.
Calm Anxiety, Find Sleep
Any time I experience anxiety, my sleep suffers—tremendously. When I don’t sleep well, everything in my life is affected. And that causes, you guessed it, additional stress and anxiety.
Most nights I can fall asleep without any trouble. But then, for no apparent reason, I wake with a jolt, feeling worried and anxious about my situation. Sometimes anger and fear lie in wait for me in the dark of night, too, and I can’t seem to turn my anxious thoughts away.
That’s why I love these verses about sleep:
I will both lie down and sleep in peace,
For You alone, Lord, make me live in safety (HCSB).
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
You will like down, and your sleep will be pleasant (HCSB).
In context, these verses pertain to trusting the Lord and following His ways. When we keep God as our focus instead of our troubling circumstance, He surrounds us with His perfect peace—even while we sleep.
These scriptures remind me that the Lord is always with me, protecting, guiding, and promising safety. Sleep is His design and He intends that it is peaceful and restful every evening.
I’ve heard it said that since God never sleeps, He is carrying our concerns and working His diving solutions to our problems even in the dead of night. So, we can go on sleeping in pleasant peace and security knowing that He continues to work on our behalf.
Practical Tips for Restful Sleep
Here are a few helpful tips that I’ve adopted for falling asleep and staying asleep, even during some of my most anxiety-plagued seasons of life:
- Before sleep, I agree with the Lord and what He says in His Word. Using the two verses mentioned above in prayer, I pray the scriptures back to Him. My prayers may resemble this:
“Lord, you alone bring peace and safety. I accept this demonstration of your loving kindness. When I lie down to sleep, I will dwell in your safety. You will help me sleep in peace. Tonight, I will not be afraid because You watch over me, my situation, and my family. Thank you for sleep that is pleasant and sweet. I look forward to feeling rested and restored in the morning.”
- I play restful music. It helps me to listen to soothing instrumental music, nature sounds, or white noise as I drift off to sleep. There are several radio channels available on our favorite music apps that are pleasant and helpful.
- When I wake in the night and have trouble going back to sleep, I play audio Scripture from the YouVersion Bible app. Before I know it, I’m sleeping once again.
- I often get out of bed and read God’s Word or pray over what’s troubling me. Since I’m losing sleep anyway, I set out to accomplish Kingdom work. I find that the enemy sometimes plants doubt and insecurity while I sleep. When I use his untimely interruption for prayer, I find that he’s a lot less apt to disrupt my sleep.
What are some of the ways you ensure a good night’s sleep?
May God’s Word strengthen you, bringing peace, calm and joy.
Celebrations. New goals. Reflecting on what’s been.
For most, the onset of spring is a time to look back with satisfaction and look forward with eager expectation.
But for some, this change of seasons can bring an onslaught of anxiety. We seem to cast off comfort and familiarity, trading them for all things new and unfamiliar. Even things we look forward to—such as new goals, challenges, jobs, and upcoming family changes, the anticipation of forthcoming weddings, births, milestone birthdays, and other celebrations—can bring dreadful feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, and apprehension.
Moving toward unknown situations can spur a level of unease. We’re moving out of a season of less sunlight, fewer outdoor activities, and healthy farm-to-table food options which left us feeling sluggish and ill-equipped to battle heightened fear and angst.
Finding the Right Focus
During any time of year, one significant way to calm anxiety is to fix our focus firmly on the Lord. It’s important to remember that when we feel anxious we’re allowing our circumstance to take a higher priority in our lives than the character God and our relationship and reliance on Him. The solution is to refocus and allow God’s truth to fill our hearts and minds.
Today we kick off a short blog series titled 7 Days toward Calming Anxiety. Each day in the upcoming week, we’ll examine a Bible verse in which the Holy Spirit points us toward the peace and calm we experience in the Lord’s presence.
Calm Anxiety with Today’s Verse
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment (HCSB).
In different Bible translations, the term fearfulness is expressed as fear, timidity, and even cowardice. It conveys a lack of bravery, courage, and confidence. The Lord did not give us such a disposition. Instead, as this verse teaches, God provides us with a spirit of power, love, and sound judgment.
We do not find power in our own strength, but through the power of Jesus Christ that resides in us. This is the same power that raised our Lord from the dead (see Ephesians 1:19-20). It is capable of far more than we can imagine, giving us the strength to face all circumstances and accomplish all that we encounter.
God gives us love, which is the greatest of Christian qualities. It’s not fleshly, emotion-based love, rather it’s the perfect love of Christ, which as 1 Corinthians 13:7 states, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (HCSB). This love helps us withstand trails, difficulties, fears, and anxiety.
Lastly, God provides sound judgment, sometimes translated as self-control. This pertains to our thoughts as much as our actions. Because we have the mind of Christ, we have the divinely-given ability to see ourselves as Jesus does: powerful and able as we walk in His strength.
As your stay mindful today in calming anxiety, work toward memorizing 2 Timothy 1:7. Write it on a notecard or in your journal, then say it repeatedly until it begins to sink deep into not only your mind but your spirit. Let the truth of God wash over your anxiety and bring you His perfect peace.
Have a blessed, calm, and peaceful day as you allow the Word of the Lord to give you strength.
“All the outs in free!”
We shouted those words so that our friends could hear from their hiding places: from under trees, behind laundry piles, inside dog houses, or disguised beneath a collection of blankets. We’d search for and find many of our chums, but there was generally one in our game of hide and seek that went undiscovered. Yelling the familiar chant let the outstanding hiders know that they could step into visibility without penalty.
As I think back to the frustrating task of finding someone who did not want to be found, it makes me glad that Jesus doesn’t hide from us. Yes, there are times when I feel I can’t find Him. He feels absent from my life, as if He’s taken a “hands-off approach” and left me to my own devices. As I wrote in my last post, the process of searching for Immanuel can feel long and arduous.
In these seasons, we must intentionally dig deeper to find the fertile soil beneath our clay hearts. It’s there that Christ remains alive, active, and ever-present.
We may weep and lament as we search for Him, but through the process of searching, we find. That’s when the joy comes. That’s when we discover fullness of joy in His presence. In the journey of finding, we often recall what we already knew. We find truths that we encountered before.
The process of finding helps us to not simply know, but to know again.
As we seek what is hidden, the process of remembering proves a valuable tool. When I searched for my best friend in our childhood game, if I remembered how much she loved dogs and tended to hide somewhere close to them, I could spy her out almost instantly.
By calling to mind—remembering—what I already know about Christ, I can also find Him more readily.
As I actively remember— things like His character revealed throughout the Bible, or the promises He declares in His Word, the blessings He lavished upon me in the past, or victories and freedom that He helped me attain—suddenly I can see His subtle fingerprints in my life. My eyes open to things that He is doing right now. I begin to identify ways that He is moving in my current trials and circumstances.
When you can’t see God’s activity, you might begin to feel hopeless. Come and discover His active involvement in your life today with the Bible study: Victorious
The Christmas Story
The story of Christ and His birth in Scripture recounts many who found Jesus through a process of active searching. They took the time and trouble to recall the promises and truths of God’s Word, which provided a type of roadmap leading to the discovery of Immanuel.
The wise men depicted in Matthew chapter 2 are believed to have traveled over 800 miles in their search for Jesus. Talk about a long journey! In the process, they examined promises of God’s Word and followed the star that led their way. When they found Jesus, Matthew 2:9-11 tells us that they were overjoyed beyond measure and fell to their knees in worship.
Angels revealed the Word of the Lord to unsuspecting shepherds during the night. Through this miraculous announcement, the shepherds were compelled to seek Jesus. In doing so, they discovered for themselves the good news of great joy.
Finding Through Remembering
We, too, can remember the word of the Lord and His activity in our lives, which will help us find Immanuel when we are compelled to seek Him.
Active remembering can take on many forms:
Present day memorial stones help us recall the Lord’s involvement and provision. Reminders like photographs of special, spiritual milestones call the Lord’s mighty work to the forefront of our memories. Embellishing and decorating our homes with Bible verses keeps our hearts focused on Him. We can document our experiences in writing through letters or emails to loved ones, journals, or even blogs.
Prayer and Meditation
Prayer and meditation allow us to draw near to God with a true heart, in full assurance of our faith (see Hebrews 10:24). After encountering the shepherds and hearing of their angelic experience, Matthew 2:19 tell us that Mary meditated on these things. She treasured the truth in her heart. The psalms are also filled with examples of recalling and pondering on the mighty works of the Lord.
Communion and Worship
Communion is a practice that, as the Bible teaches, is a specific act of remembrance. We remember the work of Jesus on the cross, the power of His blood, and His ultimate sacrifice.
Worship is certainly a practice that calls to memory the promises, freedom, and victories that the Lord gives. I love to belt out old songs that helped carry me through difficult times. I also cherish the new songs that quench my thirsty soul and help me focus on the Lord’s character. The shepherds who found Jesus praised God for the fulfillment of the promises and for all they’d seen and heard. We’re wise to do the same.
As we face difficult trials and situations that make us question, “Where is God in this?” we do well to recall that He remains near. When we seek, we will find Immanuel, God with us. We’ll discover that His promises still stand. We’ll learn to see God’s subtle fingerprints as readily as His indisputable miracles. And we’ll remember that He is with us always.
May God’s Word strengthen you today,