Be anxious for nothing...but how?
The life of a new mom is filled with anxiety. You spend every waking moment trying to make sure your baby is okay. Many moms go through postpartum depression which adds even more stress.
As I write this my son is 5 months old. He is an absolute joy, and the love we have for him is unlike anything we have ever felt. With that love comes so much anxiety. I am constantly wondering if I am doing a good job or if I am messing everything up. How can I be anxious for nothing when I am responsible for a tiny human?
We all desire peace of mind, but sometimes it’s harder to find than we would like it to be. Before we talk about finding peace, let us first talk about the hurdle we have to clear: anxiety. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Life is full of uncertain outcomes; for many, anxiousness is an everyday feeling. As Christians, we often treat Philippians 4:6-7 like a “one size fits all” band-aid. Got anxiety about a test? Read Philippians 4:6. Worried about your kids' health? Read Philippians 4:6. Worried about how you will feed your family after being laid off? Read Philippians 4:6. While that verse is great, it may not be the best place to start your journey toward peace when you are in the midst of anxiety. The Bible is a complete book with so many other passages that will help pull you out of dark places.
Psalm 139 is so beautifully written. Please take this time to read the passage in its entirety. The psalm describes how well God knows us and that there is not a place we can go where He will not be with us. I would like to pull out a few verses to focus on.
Verses 1 and 2 read:
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.”
The Lord of heaven KNOWS YOU. He knows you inside and out. Better than that, He loves you (Romans 5:8) and is protecting you. Verse 5 goes on to read:
“You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.”
He is surrounding you with His protective hand. How’s that for security? As we continue in this beautiful passage, the psalmist lets us know that to be created by God is to be wonderfully made. Verse 13-14 says,
“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.”
We were created by THE Creator of the universe (Genesis 1:26,27). We are marvelous works of our God created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Once again, I encourage you to read and meditate on the entire passage of Psalm 139.
Anxiety can cause us to doubt ourselves and doubt that God can help us. BUT, we are known, loved, created by, and protected by God. No matter where we go, He is with us. For me, that thought alone is like a weighted blanket calming me from my anxiety. Once I am in a place where I realize that God is still there, even when I am low and doubting, I can then be in the right mindset for Philippians 4:6-7.
Philippians 4:6-7 says,
“Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.”
The peace that surpasses understanding, the peace that doesn't make sense. The calm when everything around you is chaotic. How to achieve that peace can vary, but here are two things that helped me.
Have faith like the bleeding woman. The account can be found in Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, and Luke 8:43-48. The woman had a terrible affliction, but she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” Spoiler alert, she touched Jesus, and in His words “her faith made her well.” WOW, what faith! The thought process of being so determined to get to the Master because you know that, if you reach Him, you will be healed. How desperately are we seeking to touch Jesus? Do we have the faith to know that He can and will heal us? Such great faith does not happen overnight; it may even come and go, but I pray that all believers will have a great faith because we serve a great God. Some practical ways to get this faith are to pray and read scriptures to see examples like this one of great faith. Another way is to remember what God has done for you in the past and meditate on those things. If he had done it before (which He has), He WILL do it again.
Look straight ahead, not all around. Whenever I feel overwhelmed I always think back to what my dad used to tell me growing up. He would say, “how do you eat an elephant?. . . One bite at a time.” In this life, we will have many elephant-like tasks we have to face and it will seem overwhelming. However, we cannot focus on everything going on around us, we have to only focus on WHO is right in front of us making our path straight.
Proverbs 3:6 says,
“In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
When looking around we may see others prosper while we struggle. We may see a sin-sick world that is closing in on us. If we focus on those things we will be far from peace. Peace comes when we can focus on our Redeemer (Romans 5:1-2).
God is the God of peace, not confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Let us hold on to the truths of the word: God is our creator (Genesis 1:26-27), He knows us inside and out (Psalm 139:1-2), He protects us (Exodus 14:14) and He loves us (John 3:16). If we cling to those truths we can find peace and be anxious for nothing.