If you’re anything like me, worry and anxiety can create problems in life from time to time. Some of us come by it honestly. For some of us, it’s a family trait – it’s in our blood. Some of us acquire issues with anxiety over the course of life’s many obstacles.
I know firsthand what it’s like to be anxious. Worries seem to distract me from what I want to accomplish at work, at home, and in my relationships. Anxiety and worry can be like anchors that keep me from getting anywhere. Can you relate to this? Yet it shouldn’t be that way. As Christians, we have the means to live a life that can be free from anxiety. In this article, I outline one Christian’s perspective on how that is possible, and offer five biblical ways to control anxiety. But first I outline why anxiety does not fit into a Christian’s life.
Anxiety is Unproductive
Which one of us can add a single hour to our life by dwelling on what we are worried about (Matthew 6:27)? The answer is none. If we are preoccupied with worry, how can we accomplish anything? Anxiety distracts us and traps us.
Anxiety Renders Us Unable to Enjoy the Present
Whether the focus of our anxiety is forward looking or in the past, it takes us out of the present. When we are not present here and now, we miss all that the present has to offer. The present moment is a temporary, fleeting gift that we will miss if we do not enjoy it now.
Anxiety is Noncompliant with God’s Word
The Bible is full of commands about anxiety:
- Be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6).
- Fear not (Isaiah 41:10). This is also commanded 364 other times in scripture, by the way.
- Let not your hearts be troubled (John 14:1).
- Do not be dismayed (Joshua 1:9).
Anxiety is a Foe of Faith
Simply put, it’s very difficult to be simultaneously overcome by anxiety and to wholeheartedly trust in God. It’s like oil and water. We worry because we are concerned about things that we are uncertain about. In contrast, to trust in God is to know that He is in control, that He loves us, and that He wants what is best for us. We don’t need to be anxious if we are confident that he is in control and cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Anxiety is a Waste of Time and Energy
When allow ourselves to linger in the thoughts and fears that make us anxious, we waste time and miss the important things in life. We may miss out on the following:
- Engaging and connecting with family (spouse, parents, children, etc.).
- Engaging and connecting with God.
- Engaging and connecting with those in need around us.
- Planning, organizing, and directing our energy in a productive direction.
Christ Empowers Us to Overcome Anxiety
The scriptural solution to anxiety is to have a disciplined mind that focuses on Christ. Cognitive Behavioral counselors would phrase this as identifying your unwanted problematic thoughts. The Bible agrees with the psychology research.
So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. (1 Peter 1:13)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37)
Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)
How to Change Your Focus from Anxiety to Christ
Here are five ways that can help you to deal with your anxiety and change your focus from your own problems to Christ.
Change Your Thinking
You can change your thinking by becoming more aware of the circumstances that trigger your anxiety. You can acknowledge your feelings and make intentional choices to shift your focus to Christ. Acknowledge that He is sufficient to help you and free you from whatever makes you feel anxious.
Studies have proven that those who are thankful live longer, happier lives. Start a gratitude journal, write a letter of thankfulness, serve at a local charity, or spend some time in purposeful prayer of gratitude to God. God has given you so much to be thankful for. If you take the time to look for it and acknowledge it, your attitude can shift from worry to peace.
Practice Good Self-Care
Take care of yourself by prioritizing physical exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and connection with other people. Find the activities that give you joy and energy, and make time for them without apology. Take care of yourself.
Make Room for Joy
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins in the brain. Laughter is also good for your heart and your immune system and it relaxes the whole body.
Seek Christian Counseling to Control Anxiety
Christian Counseling is an excellent place to start facing whatever it is that has you feeling anxious or worried. With the help of a good Christian counselor, you can begin to begin to find the solutions you are seeking. I would be delighted to partner with you as you enter this challenging and important healing process.
“Faithful Hands,” courtesy of Milada Vigerova, unsplash.com, Public Domain License; “On Top of the World,” courtesy of Austin Ban, unsplash.com