Shootings, political mayhem and stress, it’s no wonder an estimated 24 percent of American adults report they are overwhelmed by anxiety.
But we can discover hope in Christ and obtain and advice from Max Lucado, who writes on how we can denounce anxiety in, Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World. The Senior Minister at Oak Hills Church for 30 years, rallies us cross the finish line and how Christians can slay the dragon of anxiety. Be encouraged that no matter what you’re going through–you can rest in the peace of God, which “surpasses all understanding.”
Consider the following ways to combat anxiety in your life today.
During times of stress and anxiety, we need to cast our fears at the feet of Christ, Lucado advises. “We rest in Him, find our nourishment in Him. His roof of grace protects us from storms of guilt. His walls of providence secure us from destructive winds. His fireplace warms us during the lonely winters of life.” We need the warmth of this fire to survive tragedy and when we don’t have all the answers. “Your goal is not to know every detail of the future. Your goal is to hold the hand of the One who does and never, ever let go.”
Next, let go of having control as no one can control the weather, other people, external circumstances, or the future. The Bible has a better idea, and this is to abandon it. “Casting is an intentional act to relocate an object. Let this ‘throwing’ be your first response to bad news. As you sense anxiety welling up inside you, cast it in the direction of Christ. Do so specifically and immediately,” adds Lucado.
We are told in 2 Corinthians to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. If we don’t harness our thoughts, we fuel anxiety. The mind is a powerful weapon, so use it to your advantage. Lucado writes a line in the book that puts the brakes on worry. It reads “When you gave your life to God, He took responsibility for you. He is your shepherd.”
Lucado writes to “not give in to your fears. Resist the temptation to retreat and hunker down. This is the time for faith; the season for God-based hope.” Trusting in the Lord will bring safety. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, we are “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Another key in dealing with the onslaught from the world is not believing the lies that God is a spectator. “Avoid the quicksand that bears the marker ‘God has left you!’ Do not indulge this lie. If you do, your problem will be amplified by a sense of loneliness. It’s one thing to face a challenge, but to face it all alone? Isolation creates a downward cycle of fret.”
Jesus has a word or two about this brutal world. “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28). The take away here is we can’t allow wickedness to defeat and this includes anxiety.
Lucado has more encouraging advice on how to handle life’s storms, and it starts with the Apostle Paul. Paul tells followers that “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7).” What does that mean for us? We need to do our part like pursue a gentle spirit, pray about everything, and rejoice. Then God does His part. “He downloads the tranquility of the throne room into our world, resulting in an inexplicable calm. We should be worried, but we aren’t. We should be upset, but we are comforted. The peace of God transcends all logic, scheming, and efforts to explain it,” he says.
If it’s the news, social media or an unruly neighbor, it doesn’t matter compared to who sits on the throne. When we step back and see this bigger picture, we can find clarity and know God is more significant than our apprehensions and doubts.