Somebody needed to read this today! I was writing about a totally different topic, but I felt led to share this one. So, if you’re reading this, my message today is for you.
Every year, one of my plans is to overcome anxiety. And of course, every year, I still struggle with it. Yesterday, however, I was in my car, driving everywhere under the sun to complete my to-do list. I realized that, even though my schedule was full, I was still calm. I had a sense of peace even in the chaos.
As much as I wanted to declutter my life, the clutter wasn’t what caused the anxiety. My desire to play with it was.
Imagine you’re running on a trail. Anxiety is like a rabid, wild animal, foaming at the mouth and thrashing around in a circle. When anxiety crosses your path, you can either run from it, fight it, or let it attack you. That’s right: you get to choose whether it overwhelms you or not.
While in my car yesterday, I made a commitment not to bring anxiety into 2019. I wasn’t going to think about it, and I wasn’t going to let it stop me from crushing my goals and living my dreams. Of course, even since making that declaration, I have run into anxiety a couple of times. However, I didn’t entertain that crazy rabid dog like I normally would have.
So, what does it look like to leave your anxiety in 2019? Well, we’re in control of our minds. Only we (besides God) know what we think about. So, if anxiety creeps into your head, whether through a TV show or a friend’s comment or a memory, you get to decide not to think about it. Anxiety always begins with a thought.
Don’t entertain it. I know the attacks are strong, but don’t even think about it. You’re in control of your body. Whatever thought leads you to anxiety, let it go and get it out of your life.
Think of your brain like a cup. If you let anxiety fill your mind, it will overwhelm you, and you won’t see a way out of it. Choose not to fill your mind with anxiety. However, if your mind is empty (like they tell us to do in meditation), you’re left with an empty cup that has the potential to be filled with anxiety. Instead of leaving your cup empty, fill it with good things. Instead of thinking the worst about yourself, think about encouraging yourself.
More than any other motto or mantra or saying, God’s Word has kept my cup filled with good things. I have never felt more encouraged than knowing what God says about me. Here are some verses that give me peace in the midst of anxiety, especially since they demonstrate what God says about us. I wrote seven here, so choose one to focus on each day of the week.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”-1 Peter 5:7, NIV
“Set your mind on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life,appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”-Colossians 3:1-3
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”-Isaiah 41:10
“But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.”-Isaiah 43:1-3
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”-Colossians 1:13-14
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?” -Psalm 27:1
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”-Psalm 56:3-4