I never thought of myself as an anxious person. I’m fairly low-key, not easily stressed, and don’t let things get to me. However, there have been times in my life when anxiety hits hard.
I miscarried my first pregnancy, and it completely shook me. Miscarriage was one of those statistics that I thought would never happen to me. I did everything “right” according to the pregnancy books, yet the baby’s heart stopped beating for unknown reasons one day. I wasn’t afraid to get pregnant again, but I found myself struggling to relax once I was expecting. Because I lost my first baby at 14 weeks, I was hesitant to tell anyone about my pregnancy in case something happened again. I felt wound up, like I was waiting for something bad to happen. Once I felt my baby moving, I became dedicated to daily kick counting. I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but, looking back, I can see that those months were based on anxiety. I didn’t completely enjoy my pregnancy, and I approached every aspect of it with hesitation because I was worried.
The dictionary defines anxiety as “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.” When we are anxious, our thoughts are constantly pulled to the danger that might happen or the things that could go wrong. Often we base this on past experience, as I did with my miscarriage. This distress or anxiety, left unchecked, can lead to sleepless nights, stress, raised blood pressure, the inability to enjoy anything, and a host of other physical and mental strains.
Anxiety controls us in ways we might not completely see when we’re in the midst of it. We might struggle to relax, constantly think about the what-ifs, and want to control every situation we encounter. Things that didn’t bother us before leaving us tired, frustrated, and strung out. We feel there’s no relief, that life will always be this hard.
It’s often difficult to admit our struggle to others, so anxiety has a way of isolating us. We try to be happy and act normal, yet fear and worry are eating us on the inside. Maybe we believe people would judge us if they knew our fears but that only compounds our anxiety.
God doesn’t want us to live in fear, worried and anxiety over what might happen or go wrong. Because of what He has promised us, we can rest and trust in His Word even when situations seem overwhelming. The best way to demonstrate this is by simply looking at some Bible verses and considering what they have to do with anxiety.
Matt. 6:25-34, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you, by worrying, can add one cubit to his stature?
So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or, ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
In this famous passage, Jesus reminds us that God holds everything in His hands. He not only knows about our troubles and concerns, but He also looks after nature and provides what the birds and flowers need.
Psalm 4:8, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
I love telling this verse to my children at bedtime. When we are anxious and fearful, sleeping is the last thing we want to do. It feels so vulnerable to lay down and close our eyes and become unaware of what’s going on around us. But when we consider that God never sleeps (Ps. 121:4), it should bring comfort that we can.
Is. 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
No matter where we are, what we try to keep hidden from others, the circumstances piling around us, God is with us. He will give strength and comfort. We have nothing to fear.
Phil. 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
We have an amazing opportunity in prayer: we can talk to the Creator of the universe! Nothing is foreign or unknown to Him because He is Sovereign everything. When anxiety threatens to steal our peace, we can take all our concerns and the things robbing us of sleep and pour them out to the ears of our loving Father, who hears and listens and cares.
Like so many things, anxiety often doesn’t have an easy solution and is not one where we can be free forever from it. This is a daily, sometimes hourly, discipline. Certain times of trials or heartache might be more difficult, but God is still there. Situations don’t change His care or love for you.
When we are tempted to give in to fear and dwell on the anxiety, we feel surrounded by, let us, instead, turn to the Bible and rest on the truth God has given us. He will never fail us.
Angela Jeffcott is a pastor’s wife serving alongside her husband in northern Utah. She makes time to write between homeschooling her children, reading books, and googling craft ideas. She blogs every Wednesday on topics from homeschooling to Christian life to Bible study at angelajeffcott.com.