The Antidote for Anxiety ~ Cindy Cain

Apr 20, 2015

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.  ~ Psalm 33:20-22, NIV

For years I have worked myself near to death over the verses in Philippians 4:6-7, which say, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.” I hate to tell you that during those years I did NOT feel the peace of God guarding my heart and mind, so I would do what any red-blooded American would do. I would just try harder.

I had lived by the “just try harder” motto for many years before I realized that this just wasn’t going to work. One thing that kept me trying harder longer than I should have was that during those years I was also attending churches that preached the “will-power gospel.” “If you have a sin you just can’t overcome, just try harder!” “You havin’ trouble givin’ your worries to God? Just try harder!!!” And in these groups, most folks (including myself) were so busy pretending in public that this was working for them that it took a long time for me to admit that just trying harder wasn’t working. After all, everyone else at church appeared to have it together; I did not want to be the only one who didn’t.


Fortunately, God did not leave me in that place. I discovered the verse,

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”     ~ Isaiah 30:15

It took me spending time day after day after day with God and his word, to realize that sometimes even what I see and hear from well-meaning Christians, isn’t correct. In the above verse from Isaiah, God says repentance and rest, quietness and trust are key. Not only are these ideals simply counter intuitive, but also counter cultural. Repentance, rest, quietness, and trust feel like terms for slackers. After all, “When the going gets tough, the tough are supposed to get going!” But it doesn’t work that way in God’s economy.

It is the same with releasing anxiety’s grip on us. All the time I was “trying harder” I was focusing on the problems, the anxieties, the fears. When I learned to give them to God and then focus on him, my anxieties decreased. Were my problems immediately solved? Many were not. Sometimes my head was cleared so that I could see the answer to the problems worrying me. However, spending time focusing on God each day filled me with peace and relaxation that I had not known before.

I found the answer! But old habits die hard. I have had to intentionally practice each day to tear my eyes off of my problems and focus them on God. Daily he gently reminds me,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6


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