I have struggled with writing this post. It's a subject I am hesitant to touch for different reasons. First off let me say this: I am not a Bible scholar! In any means. I am just a woman trying her best to dive deeper into God's word, grow my faith, and encourage others.
Fear is real and fed to us by our culture. Where there is fear, anxiety blossoms. Anxiety takes root in our brain, plants itself firmly there, tries to trick us into believing its a beautiful rose - helpful and smart. When actually, anxiety is a weed that festers and grows. We try to kill it but it keeps expanding.
The world itself is enough to feed us fear and grow our anxiety. There are so many scary things happening, I don't even have to name them. You're already thinking them! But we aren't here to talk about that. What I would like to do over the next week is: (make sure you subscribe so you don't miss it!)
How does it manifest in the world? What does the Bible say about it?
How do we deal with this crippling emotion?
I know many people's anxiety manifests in different ways. Personally, I struggle with catastrophizing and run away thoughts. A few years ago, I would live with severe symptoms daily. I didn't realize how common a problem it was until I saw my doctor and began to open up to others. I tell you these very personal details about myself because I want you to know that I GET IT. While I don't know everyone's situation, I have dealt with this and I know its real. MENTAL ILLNESS IS REAL.
I don't want to minimize what anyone feels. That is not my point. My point is, dear friend, it doesn't have to be this way. We don't have to live in fear. We don't have to allow this to dictate and rule our life, our every day decisions.
When I first realized I had unconfronted issues in my life that was causing devastating symptoms, I spoke to my doctor, who was also my employer. Dr. Brandi Collins is one of the kindest, most intelligent woman I know. I knew I could bring my concerns to her without fear of judgement. Her words made me want to cry tears of relief. In response to my question "Is this normal?" She replied, "It's normal in the sense that it happens to a lot of people, but it's not normal in the sense that you have to live like this." Reliving that moment and coming to that realization still brings a wave of emotion over me.
When we open up to others about issues in our lives, those issues lose power, their stronghold loosens. We can allow fear and anxiety to overwhelm us and become slaves to these spirits. ORRR, we can learn to identify problems, cope, rely, and trust in the Lord to see us through.
SO, lets see what the Word of God has to say.
Some of my favorite verses on fear and anxiety that are certainly worth studying:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. @ Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
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. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Philippians 34:4 (NKJV)
It's all good and fine for me to post a list of Bible verses about fear and anxiety and leave it to you. But that wouldn't be very useful, would it? It's very easy to say: pray more, read your Bible more, trust in God and he will take your ailments away. Its much harder to apply those truths to your life.
I like things to be super simple, I need someone to break it down and tell me what I need to do. So, today we are going to take a close look at and really unpack 1 Peter 5:7.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
When we study the Bible, it is important to look at the context in which the verse or passage is written. This particular verse is written by Peter, Peter was offering encouragement to Christians. He was addressing those who already know Jesus. This must have been an issue for Christians, even then, or Peter would not have addressed it.
The word "cast" here is translated from the Greek word "Epirrhipto", it is a verb. It means to literally throw upon or place upon.
Whenever we are throwing something, a ball for example, it is necessary to put a certain amount of action and force behind it, otherwise it the object wouldn't go anywhere, right? To me, "to place upon" implies a certain amount of tender care. Think about placing a beautiful linen table cloth over your dining room table, preparing for a special holiday. To place something definitely requires definitive action and care.
So what this verse is telling us, is that we are to give our anxiety, our worries to God. We are to actively turn them over to Him. How do we accomplish this? What does that look like? Simply praying to God to take away our fear and anxiety and then continuing in our same patterns and actions won't change anything. Yes, God is capable of erasing those thoughts from our minds. Yes, God can heal us from anything. I think that God requires action behind our words and prayers.
We MUST pray to Him, study our Bibles, and rely on the Lord's strength. We must ask for His wisdom to show us the ways in which we are allowing our fear and anxiety to create a stronghold on our lives. And we then must work to break down these barriers and replace fear with trust.
There is so much content here, I just couldn't pack it all into one article. In my next post, I will be discussing practical ways of applying God's truth to our lives and strategies to deal with anxiety. I will also have free printables and resources for you. I am excited and thankful for what the Lord is doing. I hope you are too.
Please, send me a comment or message and tell me what you think.