Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7
Uncertainties often comes with anxiety about the future. When we cannot see past our current circumstances and the future looks like a blur, it can slowly begin to get the best of us.
All the what-if scenarios start going through our minds as we wait to see what tomorrow will bring. The unsettling feeling of not knowing keeps you up at night and steals the joy of the present moment right in front of you.
The word anxiety comes from a Latin root that means “to choke” or “to squeeze”. Its strong grip can cause your heart to race a hundred miles an hour as if running a marathon. It leaves you gasping for air, as if suffocating and just cannot catch your breath.
All of us struggle with a certain degree of anxiety. Some are more severe than others. Anxiety reveals areas where we are afraid of losing control e.g. the future, our job, marriage, children etc. It exposes our lack of trust in God who is in control of our lives.
Fear and Anxiety.
Fear and anxiety are not the same. Fear sees a threat while anxiety imagines one. Fear screams “get out!” while anxiety ponders, “what if?”
“The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, the prison of anxiety is optional.” ~ Max Lucado.
As the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold, there are uncertainties, challenges and circumstances that are far beyond our control. We do not know what the next several weeks or months would be like. And that makes most of us anxious and unsettled.
Be Anxious for Nothing.
You would think the apostle Paul might be out of touch with reality when he wrote one of the most quoted scriptures in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing!” The circumstances under which Paul wrote this verse were far from pleasant. In fact, he was in prison at time and had endured some gruesome trials and persecution because of the gospel.
So how was Paul not moved by his circumstances? In fact, in Philippians 4:4, Paul says to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
How are we supposed to rejoice with the pain, disappointments and anxiety about the uncertainties of life?
When Paul tells us to rejoice always, it’s not a call to a feeling but to a decision and a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control and that He is good.
Rejoicing in the Lord does not mean that we are in a constant state of excitement. It’s not about having a fake smile as we walk through a dark time. It’s not about acting as if everything is okay or denying the problems we face.
A Calm Assurance.
To rejoice in the Lord always is a decision to remember who God is.
To remember that the Lord is with you, always – “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
To resolve that He is in control, always – “This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?” (Isaiah 45:11, NLT)
To recognize that amidst the pressures, pain and anxiety in life, He is sovereign, always. – “I made the earth and created man upon it. My hands stretched out the heaven. And I commanded all their host. (Isaiah 45:12)
The more we believe in God’s sovereignty and control, the more we relinquish our control and trust him with our lives and the future. We release our anxiety when we cast our cares on him (1 Peter 5:7) using the acronym CALM.
Celebrate God’s Goodness
Ask God for Help
Leave Your Concerns with God
Meditate on Good Things
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Susan Egbe-Tanyi, MD is a board-certified family medicine physician. She is also the founder of Empowered Women Faith Club, where she writes to empower women to live confidently knowing who they are as daughters of God and encourages weary moms to find strength in God through the journey of motherhood. She is a wife, mother of three treasured kids, a passionate follower of Christ, lover of nature and a servant at heart. She practices medicine in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and three children.