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.
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,
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.