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.
She swaddled her firstborn tightly then laid him in a manger. A manger of all things, since there was no room for them in the lodging place.
It was a time of gathering. Of scurrying from here to there to register for the census, each in his own town. While the well-known manger scene is portrayed as lonely and quiet, the town of Bethlehem was most certainly not. Jesus came as Immanuel—to dwell among people, and entered the world in a season of hustle and bustle.
For many, the birth of Christ went unnoticed. God, who had been silent for 400 years, seemed as absent on the day of Jesus’ birth as he had for the preceding centuries.
The Lord’s coming was foretold. His people believed. Some waited with eager expectation. Yet in the fulfillment of time, Jesus was just a blip on the days’ events.
And so it seems today.
When God Seems Absent
We know and believe that this sacred holiday season points us to the Lord. We learned as children that His name, Immanuel, means God with us. He came to dwell among us and gave his life so that He could live in our hearts. And yet, we fix our minds on earthly things.
Like our shopping list.
Or our circumstances.
We focus on our financial woes.
Or our mean boss who seemingly wants to harm us.
We quietly obsess over broken relationships.
Or our marital issues.
The biggest struggles seem to come when we recognize Who God is, yet endeavor to see His presence in our lives.
We quietly wonder, “Why does God seem so absent?”
We question, “Is He still for me?”
“Does He see what’s going on?”
“Why did He let ___ happen?”
“Has He released me from His grasp?”
Rarely would we verbalize such thoughts, yet they linger in our minds, stirring doubt and insecurity. We thought we knew the truth about God and that we trust Him fully, but in the chaos of life, we question whether He remains active in our lives.
In this season, especially, we ask, “If Jesus is Immanuel, where is He?”
Searching for Immanuel
I received encouragement through a recent article in The Joyful Life Magazine. Author Ashley Mesa’s words touched my heart. When I experience dry and dusty seasons in my faith, I must dig a little deeper, through the stony, clay-like soil of my heart to discover God’s nearness. Such seasons require intense worship, focused prayer, intentional time in His Word, and deliberate communion with Him.
When things like grief and doubt and insecurity and anger and loneliness set in, I know I have a choice to make. I can continue to flounder, allowing what I can see to influence my level of faith. Or, I can press into God, abide in Him through my trials, and re-discover His immoveable and constant presence.
Time is a precious commodity in the holiday rush so for me, digging deeper means meeting with Him before sunrise when necessary. Over a cup of hot coffee, I let worship music blast through my earbuds and concentrate on praising Him for His character as each song reveals.
A focused period of prayer follows, where I pour out my heart to Him. I lay it all out—my hurt, frustrations, and confusion—and ask that He turn my heart toward His goodness so that I’m less focused on my circumstance. I specifically ask that He remind me of His nearness throughout the day.
Next, I pour over a short section of Scripture, writing down each word that speaks to my heart. Meditating on His truth sets a foundation for communing with Him through prayer and random (mostly silent) conversations throughout the day.
I discover that my God hasn’t moved an inch. He is right where He said He’d be—with me through every trial and circumstance. At my side through every celebration and victory. Leading me through every change and unforeseen event. Indeed, He is Immanuel. He is here. And He always has been.
“I’ve tried so hard to forgive her, but I can’t forget what’s happened.”
“If I forgive him, it’s like saying I’m okay with what happened—and I’m not!”
“I just can’t trust her, so I guess I can never truly forgive her.”
Have your thoughts regularly taken you to these misconceptions?
I struggled for years as I tried to forgive someone who had harmed my children. When unforgiveness lingers, the burden feels nearly unbearable. God’s commands and instruction seem impossible to carry out because we believe things about forgiveness that are simply untrue.
Most of us want to forgive others, unload the weighty burden, untangle the mess in our hearts and embrace the Lord’s blessing. But we’ve adopted some misconceptions about forgiveness. We’ve allowed the world’s perception about forgiveness to taint our view of what it really is.
We all have a lot to forgive, don’t we? We’ve been hurt, embarrassed, and treated inappropriately. At the same time, we’ve hurt others and sometimes struggle to forgive ourselves.
Discovering the Truth
If you desire to abide in God’s freedom and victory that accompanies it but feel hindered by lingering unforgiveness in your life, you’ll want to come and discover several myths about forgiveness. By realizing how God views forgiveness and how He equips us to walk with Him through the process, we can begin to embrace the goodness and divine purposes He has for our lives.
Today I’ve written a post for my friend, Kelly R. Baker and hope that you’ll stop by as I shine some light on lies the enemy uses to keep us in bondage. He deceives us into believing they’re true, but the Lord shows us the truth in His Word and through His example.
Come along, my friend, and take a step toward freedom in Walking With God to Untangle the Mess of Forgiveness. I look forward to meeting you there!
Read the Post here.
Other posts you’ll love:
Set Free from Shame
The Joy of Abundant Life in Jesus
Have you ever pushed through fear to do something that terrified you?
Queen Esther did. The people of her heritage, the Jews, faced tremendous persecution by an evil leader who had the power to annihilate them. Esther was Queen with a divinely-inspired level of influence. She alone could do something to stop the coming madness.
But fear gripped her.
The king of Persia hadn’t called for her in many days— and to approach him without permission could lead to her execution. Esther lived in a long-ago era where women were deemed property and their intuition and acumen were disregarded. She had much to say but hadn’t received an invitation to say it.
Esther wrestled with the decision to get involved. She counted the cost and knew that her decision could lead to dire consequences. Offering surrender was the bravest thing possible: She presented her offering to God, surrendering to the Lord’s will, and uttered one of the most piercing declarations in Scripture:
“If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)
After convincing persuasion by her uncle, Esther refused to let her people face destruction without stepping into action. She weighed the cost of her involvement then made the decision to entrust her life to God himself. He alone could protect her.
Her husband was a fickle king, ruled by his own emotions and acting as his moods determined. As Esther prepared to meet her destiny, she didn’t go alone. She encouraged the Jews to support her by fasting for three days. And when the fullness of time came, she respectfully, yet boldly faced her fears and approached the king.
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Blessings of Offering Surrender
Sharing her news took several tries, but Esther accomplished her task. She revealed the evil plot to the king who made provision for the Jews to protect themselves against attack. Her people were empowered to gain victory in an overwhelming battle.
But what if Esther held her tongue? What if she let anxiety and fear stop her from stepping into service? What if she’d chosen her personal comfort and safety over the protection of her people?
Esther’s uncle, Mordecai shared his great wisdom when he said,
“Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:13-14 HCSB).
It’s true. Had Esther forsaken her calling, the Lord would have protected the Jews another way. But because Esther stepped into service, she experienced the manifold blessings of surrender to God. She witnessed miracle after miracle as God revealed His power and presence.
Through Esther’s story of courage and surrender, we continue to revel in God’s provision over the Jews in Persia today. Through God’s Word, we see . . .
- unexpected, favorable outcome from Esther’s bold step
- our God, Who, even while deafeningly quiet, remains active and present
- God’s orchestration of all things for the good of His people
- good that overcomes evil
- how God uses fully surrendered hearts for His glory
God could have rescued the Jews in countless other ways, but he chose to use His beloved child, Esther—an orphaned woman in an oppressive culture—to accomplish His purpose. He gave Esther a kingdom assignment and she found the courage to accept the challenge.
Personally Offering Surrender
God gives each of us a kingdom assignment. Some seem weighty and are completed in the public eye. Most, however, present themselves as typical, daily tasks accomplished in mundane settings. Each type of call is equally as significant. Every Kingdom assignment is God’s way of using our fully surrendered heart for His glory.
How does the Lord want to use you? (If you don’t know, ask Him!)
What’s holding you back from obedience?
In what ways is God prompting you to surrender to His will?
How will you prepare to step into action for your Kingdom assignment?
May God’s Word strengthen you today,
If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it on social media!
Other posts you’ll love:
When God Seems Absent: 3 Unexpected Lessons from Queen Vashti