Mental Health: Anxiety Buster

Written by Paris Barnes (Illinois, USA)

Paris is a University Chemistry professor and an active runner. His life was reclaimed by God at 38 years old after going through a series of personal hardships. He serves Jesus Christ actively in his local church in the childrens, youth, hospitality and missions team ministries. He dearly loves his wife Tracy and their three kitties.

May 30, 2024

You have a demanding 40+ hour per week job.
You may have a spouse, children, pets, and family members that you gladly give your time and energy to helping because you love them.
You may be responsible at home for making sure the bills get paid, the garbage and recycling are taken out, your part of the household chores are done, the lawn gets mowed, the kids are dropped off at school or daycare, your aging parents are taken care of, or that the dog makes it to their vet appointments. 

Your friends seek you for emotional support and request favors because they need your help.
Your professional skills are valued by others in your community, so you share your talents and time with others with the hope others benefit from your gifts.
You are an active member of your church because the scriptures and the Holy Spirit stir you to grow God’s Kingdom.
You cheerfully serve in multiple ministries because the Holy Spirit urges you to play an active, meaningful role in your local church.
The athlete in you is training for a competition (such as a triathlon, half marathon, mountain bike race, or swim meet) simultaneously as everything else is happening.

This could describe anyone reading this blog.
Many of us are juggling responsibilities to our jobs, families, friends, community partners, and churches.
We are busy people, which can erode on our mental well-being.

When I think about the description of life provided above, I become anxious.
Anxiety is that nervous instability or worry we have about something with an uncertain outcome.
Being busy is not unusual.
However, the awesome gifts God has given us to serve in His Kingdom and help others can lead us to overcommitment.
Being too busy doing too many things is fertile ground for Satan to grow our anxiety.
And when the unexpected happens (such as a sudden illness or death among those you love; a serious medical crisis; financial or leadership instability at your workplace), our anxiety can become crippling. 

Christians are not excluded from being anxious.
There are examples of anxiety in the Bible.
For example, when lamenting his birth, Job says,

For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.

Job 3:25-26 (ESV)

Job, a righteous and devout follower of God, groans with anxiety as Satan tormented him by taking his property, killing his children, and afflicting him with painful sores and pustules all over his body.

Another example is Martha in Luke 10.
Martha and Mary welcomed Jesus into their home.
Martha was occupied doing many things to serve Jesus while in their home, while Mary sat at His feet, listening to Him. Scriptures tell us that:

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:40-42 (ESV)

Mary demonstrated service to Jesus by focusing on learning from Him.
He was pleased with Mary, saying that she chose “the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Martha was much more concerned with pleasing Jesus by busying herself in preparation of their home (Luke 10:40), and Jesus identified she was anxious.

Again, Christians are not immune to worry or anxiety.
How can we handle the anxiousness we have?
God’s Word tells us what actions we should take.

1. Pray 

    “…do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.”

    Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

    First and foremost, turn to God.
    Paul instructed our brothers in Philippi to bring their requests to God through prayer, stating they should not be anxious about anything.
    We should do the same.
    That is easier said than done, but by seeking God in those moments we are filled with fear and worry, peace that can only be given to us by God will come upon us and protect us.

    2. Count your blessings

      “For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for Himself.”

      1 Samuel 12:22 (ESV)

      A brother in Christ who I am particularly close with shared this verse with me during a day when I was visibly showing stress.
      In Samuel’s closing, he tells how God listened to the prayers of the people of Israel and responded.
      God has done so much for us, so during those difficult times, reflect on the blessings given to you through God’s grace and be thankful.

      3. Practice self-care

        And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

        Genesis 2:2-3 (ESV)

        God rested on the seventh day after creating the universe.
        We are also commanded to rest (for examples, see Exodus 20:8-10, Exodus 33:12-14, and Matthew 11:28-30).
        Give your worries to God, ask for joy, and take time to rest.
        Continue taking care of yourself through sufficient sleep, connecting with others, attending and participating in your small group, spending time in God’s Word, praying, eating healthy, and being physically active.
        Do things that bring you joy during the challenging times when anxiety is present in your life.

        REFLECTION AND PRAYER

        1. What makes you anxious? How can bringing your worries to God help you control your anxiety?
        1. When does being anxious become a sin?
        1. What activities can you do to help reduce your anxiety during stressful times?

        Father God – we are sinful creatures prone to anxiety.
        There are examples in the Bible of your children experiencing stressful situations.
        We should live our lives without fear.
        Coming to you in prayer and asking for your help demonstrates we trust you in the midst of our most challenging moments.
        Today, we hand you all of our fears asking for peace and wisdom to subdue our anxiety.
        We thank you for the provisions you have given to us.
        We know you are in control of everything and place our trust in your awesome plan.
        Amen.

        You May Also Like

        Mental Health: Power of Positive Thinking

        Mental Health: Power of Positive Thinking

        God encourages us to take control of our thoughts, replacing negative ones with positive, God-given thoughts.
        He recognizes the immense power our thoughts hold, and so should we.

        1 Comment
        1. Callie Hinrichsen

          Brilliant article… Thank you

          Reply

        Submit a Comment

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *