Pressures in our lives can build and pull us in different directions. These pressures pull against our sense of well-being, and anxiety begins to overwhelm us. Trying to do too much work with too little time or too few resources can stretch us beyond our capacity. Trying to cope with the financial demands of life without adequate income can make us begin to feel desperate. Difficulties in marital relationships, in parent-child relationships, or in work relationships can lead to deep anxiety and a sense of hopelessness. What is the answer? We need a perspective that comes from God. And we also need the help of wise counselors and friends who God can use to bring us his presence, wisdom, and hope.
From the Helpfinder Bible
Should I be surprised by the anxiety I am experiencing in my life?
JOHN 16:33 | “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Jesus warned us to expect stress and trouble in this life. This world is filled with trials and sorrows that generate deep seated anxiety. The key to dealing with anxiety is to not be surprised when it comes, but to learn how to respond when it comes. While there are many healthy and positive ways to handle anxiety, never neglect the spiritual help the Holy Spirit promises to provide if you ask.
What are some causes of anxiety?
GENESIS 3:6, 23 | So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband . . . and he ate it, too. . . . So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden.
GENESIS 44:18 | Then Judah stepped forward and said, “Please, my lord, let your servant say just one word to you. Please, do not be angry with me, even though you are as powerful as Pharaoh himself.”
2 SAMUEL 11:4; 12:13-14 | Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. . . . Nathan replied, “. . . the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless . . . your child will die.”
LUKE 22:56-62 | Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!” But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” . . . At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. . . . And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.
Anxiety can have roots in things we have done in the past. When we sin, we can bring anxiety along with sin’s painful consequences into our lives.
EXODUS 16:2-3 | The whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned.
Anxiety can build when we fail to trust God for help.
MATTHEW 1:18-19 | Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
Change often produces anxiety in our lives.
JAMES 1:2-4 | Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Adversity and the normal problems of life cause anxiety. Sometimes anxiety is the result of wounds from the past that were not your fault.
PROVERBS 21:17 | Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich.
Laziness and poor planning can lead to anxiety.
COLOSSIANS 3:13 | Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Making mistakes can lead to anxiety in our lives and in the lives of our friends.
1 SAMUEL 25:17-20 | “You need to know this and figure out what to do, for there is going to be trouble for our master and his whole family. He’s so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!” Abigail wasted no time. She quickly gathered 200 loaves of bread . . . 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys and said to her servants, “Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly.” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal what she was doing. As she was riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming toward her.
Working against the clock, especially on an ongoing basis, can cause deep anxiety.
What can I do when I’m overwhelmed by anxiety?
2 CORINTHIANS 4:9 | We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Keep going! Knowing that God is by your side during times of anxiety can help you to keep from giving up.
PSALM 55:22 | Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (See note on Stress on page 508.)
ISAIAH 41:10 | “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
PSALM 62:2 | He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.
JOHN 14:1 | “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”
HEBREWS 2:18 | Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
PHILIPPIANS 2:4 | Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
The first step in dealing with your anxiety is to bring it to the Lord. Only he brings true peace of heart and mind. God’s availability and promises provide effective stress reducers.
2 SAMUEL 22:7 | But in my distress I cried out to the Lord. . . . He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears.
PSALM 86:7 | I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.
Be persistent in prayer.
MARK 6:31 | Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
Take time to slow down and take a break from pressure-packed situations.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20 | Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Take care of your body. Adequate rest, regular exercise, and proper nutrition are essential to dealing effectively with stress and anxiety.
GALATIANS 6:9 | So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Don’t let stress and anxiety defeat you. When you are tired of doing good, it may be because you are just too tired.
Helpfinder Bible NLT
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