Battling Anxiety

We all face anxiety, whether for seasons or as an ongoing part of our life. This week we’re going to look at what the bible says about anxiety.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, Paul tells us that we’re to train our hearts to be anxious for nothing, to be ready to deal with it when trails come. The Greek word for anxious is ‘merimnate’, which is where we get the word marinate and when we’re anxious we’re marinating on the wrong things.

Philippians 2:20

Genuine concern, as mentioned in this verse is a good thing, so we have this challenge to be genuinely concerned without slipping into needless anxiety. Tim Keller describes anxiety as concern gone bad and Joyce Meyer says worry is a down payment on a problem you’ll never have.

Mark 4:35-38

In the middle of the storm Jesus is asleep, while the disciples are panicking. There are circumstantial storms that cause anxiety like Covid-19 that we can’t do anything about, but most of the anxiety we battle with we create ourselves, some examples of this:

  1. The words we use frame our day, what we say when we get up effects our day. If we go through our day saying ‘if it’s not one thing it’s the other, no one likes me, I’m worried to death about this’ etc.. The words we use frame our day and can create anxiety.
  2. Voices we listen to, many of us listen to the wrong voices and it creates anxiety, we’re marinating our minds on the wrong things. E.g. checking the news as soon as we wake up, so we already have a bleak outlook before our day has started, listening to the wrong people, people who put us down or speak discouragement. All of this can create anxiety.
  3. Expectations we set ourselves, at the moment so many people are talking about all the things that we can do with this time, but we won’t be able to do it all and then it can cause anxiety because we’ve expected too much of ourselves and we think we should be doing more, but be kind to yourself.
  4. Shame, we get anxious because of the shame we carry around. Conviction of sin is good, but shame makes us feel paranoid and think people are judging us all the time.

Mark 4:39-41

We have many questions right now about what’s happening and why, Questions are a good thing to have, but when we have questions we should do what the disciples do, go wake up Jesus and ask him. But we shouldn’t do what they did next and say ‘Jesus don’t you care?’, because Jesus cares so much for each one of us and understands our pain and suffering.

Jesus was in the boat with the disciples, as Christians the Holy Spirit is inside us. When those wind and waves of the storm come, Jesus is teaching us to tell those inner storms, be still and be quiet. Jesus has authority over our inner storms and anxieties. We often take our anxieties out on those around us, but Jesus wants us to learn to deal with the inner anxieties.

5 practical ways to battle anxiety:

  1. Breathe – when anxiety comes take a breath. Breathe out the worries and anxieties and breathe in the Holy Spirit and God’s peace.
  2. Remember – in Mark, Jesus promised to take them to the other side and told them to remember that he would see them through. Remember the promises of God, have a scripture or a promise to remember when we’re anxious.
  3. Ask – Philippians 6:7, in our struggles and battles we need to ask the Lord for help.
  4. Visualise – ask the Lord, open the eyes of my heart, let me see that you are at work, let me see my prayers are being answered.
  5. Elevate – atmospheric pressure is less the higher it increases. The higher we get in perspective the better things become, and we do that through worship. When we truly worship we cannot worry.

We will face the storms of circumstance and life, but we’ll also face inner storms which we can battle, using those 5 words – which spells BRAVE. The challenge is to be brave in battle and remember we have Jesus with us. So let’s be brave, battle, fight and say storm be still.