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Some tips on how to overcome anxiety

It was a stressful day.

Later, feeling anxious and concerned, unable to sleep, I started praying and searching through scripture. I searched Google for prayers about anxiety and anxiousness. In the process, I discovered scripture from 1 Peter.

“Be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift they have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:7-10

In other words, give your anxiety and your concerns to God.

1. Be clear-minded — Focus on God, not your circumstances.

2. And self-controlled — Don’t be swayed by what is happening around you.

3. Pray — This should always be your first action when feeling anxious.

4. Love deeply — The goal is to more deeply love God and each other.

5. Offer hospitality — Hospitality is our opportunity to put love into action.

6. Use our gifts to serve others — How are we utilizing what God gives us?

Struggling with anxiety? Feeling the stress?

Be clear minded and self-controlled as you pray for God to guide you to more deeply love others, to be hospitable to those around you and to better use your gifts to serve others.

Several days later, feeling less anxious, I shared my struggles and what I learned with a group at church. Then I passed out a page filled with scripture verses. I asked each person to pick one verse and share how that passage relieved anxious feelings in the past or added meaning to their present circumstances.

One woman read from Philippians: “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (4:6-7) She then shared how this verse was given to her during a difficult time. Seeing the verses again offered encouragement that God was continuing to relieve her anxiety.

Another person read from 1 Peter: “Casting all your anxieties on God, because God cares for you.” (5:7) He talked about how this scripture brought comfort during a crisis with one of his grandchildren. He knew it by heart and began crying as he shared the meaning with us.

Another read from Psalm 55: “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (55:22) She had learned this verse as a child and thought of it often.

One scripture after another was read followed by a story of how God relieved anxious moments but more importantly how God worked miracles during their struggles.

A woman read from Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” (29:11.) She said: “In the midst of my anxiety, God brought me comfort, reassurance and hope.”

What about you? Are you feeling anxious? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) In the midst of anxiousness and worry, if you acknowledge and trust God, you will find relief.

Struggling with anxiety?

Be clear minded and self-controlled as you pray for God to guide you to more deeply love others, to be hospitable to those around you and to better use your gifts to serve others.

God taught our group, and me, a valuable lesson. During anxious moments, trust God to see you through. I pray that during your anxious moments you discover God’s relief.

REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at larrydavies@vaumc.org.