How to Cast Your Anxiety on God

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

There are any number of thoughts that run through my head in a day that induce a feeling of anxiety. For some, anxiety is not only an emotion brought about by a specific thought or circumstance, but rather an internal state of being they struggle with over a time, if not throughout their lives. Whatever the intensity, I’m sure we can all agree that anxiety is all-consuming and can prickle our experience of daily life like we are constantly touching a static surface.

This is not what God wants for us, because when we are anxious, we are not living in faith and therefore we are not walking in the freedom and joy that Jesus has offered to us. We are also not able to thrive for His kingdom when we live in anxiety. But it’s difficult to simply – stop being anxious, as some more pragmatic Christians may think, and I personally believe that those who do suffer from anxiety as a more permanent condition should certainly seek professional therapy to help them cope.

But how do the rest of us cope with the daily anxieties induced by our circumstances such as the future of our country, our finances, job situations or health? How do we obey the word which in several passages tells us not to be anxious. How do we cast our anxiety on God?

DO what is in your control

“… Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NIV)

For me, this is one of my favourite teachings from Jesus because it has a practical application for each day. As a working Mom and co-homeowner, I have a long to-do list with personal admin generally being the items that stay on the list the longest. Any help I can get to organise my life better is therefore eagerly welcomed, including organising my worries so that there is less clutter in my head! But I believe the main reason Jesus pointed us to today’s troubles and not tomorrow’s, is because we can only do something about them today.

Most of us know the famous Serenity Prayer attributed to the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, that goes, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

This together with the wonderful teaching from Jesus in Matthew has translated in my life as a day-by-day faith; what can I do today that may impact tomorrow positively? What is within my control, and what is not within my control? When there is something that I’m hoping for, or something I’m worried will happened, I make sure that I do everything that is within my power, so that I know for certain that the outcome is the will of God, and not my own misjudgement or oversight. As an example, if I have an important deliverable for work, I make sure I do what I can do to make it the best it can be within Godly parameters, so that I don’t have to worry about whether it’s well received. If it’s badly received despite my best efforts, then that is the will of God. We know that God is for us, so even when we don’t have a good outcome, we know that the ultimate outcome will be for our good because it brings us closer to God’s plan for that particular point in our lives.

Therefore, our only concern for today, should be to tackle any of the day’s troubles or to-do’s in a way that is pleasing to God, which is essentially, to do our best. If we do this, then there is no reason to be anxious, because God is always for us and our ultimate purpose, regardless of present outcomes.

MEDITATE on why not to be anxious

This brings me on to my next point, for God’s good plans and purpose for our lives is something that we are told and know in our heads, but often fail to know in our hearts, and our failure to know it in our hearts is what contributes towards feelings of anxiety.

“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 NIV)

The best way for something like the above verse to take root so that our hearts can know it as well as our heads, is to meditate on it. One of my fellow Cup of Faith volunteer bloggers Ursula Houser wrote a wonderful post on reading scripture I encourage you to read it here.

When meditating on scripture, we look at a single verse and bring it into focus by memorising it, reflecting on it, visualising it, all within a quiet, peaceful place where you won’t be disturbed. This can be done in conjunction with guided Christian meditation audio, soothing music, breathing exercises and any other tools you find work for you.

The above verse points us to several aspects that if they were rooted in our hearts as permanent knowledge, we would never have to feel anxious again. We are told that God is always present, which means that in every trouble we face, we are not alone and we have the highest, most fearsome ally fighting on our side for our ultimate good and vindication. We are told that He is our God, which indicates a personal relationship and a vested interest in us and our well-being. He will strengthen us which means we don’t have to do it on our own, for He can move what He wills to move in order to bring us success as long as we are on His will. He will uphold us with His righteous hand, which means we don’t have to worry about falling or failing, for He holds us and will redeem us.

Lastly, PRAY

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV Philippians 4:6-7).

One thing that never ceases to amaze me, is how much God cares about me, in even the little things in my life. I have prayed about some of the smallest, most trivial worries, but worries that were causing me immense anxiety nevertheless, and even in these, God came through for me. Don’t get me wrong, this is within reason. God will not give us a shortcut; we will always need to do our part. As an example, when I have a presentation for which I have worked very hard, when I ask God to grant me favour with the people in the room, it has always gone well. There may come a day when He does not answer this prayer favourably despite me having done my part, but I know that in that case it will be for a reason that is for my ultimate good, and therefore I can still find joy in the disappointments and anticipate where God is going to lead me instead.

The above is an example of a smaller, daily worry. But what about the big worries? The cancer diagnosis, the eviction notice, the divorce proceedings, the call from the hospital…
I know it sounds trite to say that the same applies to these as my presentations, because I know they are not the same thing. However, for every situation regardless of magnitude, the fundamental truth that God works all things for His purpose and our good is true. We need to exercise our faith. He wants us to exercise our faith, and that is why prayer and asking for His favour and His hand is in important. But sometimes, His answer will not be the one that we want. When this happens, we need to have an eternal lens and meditate on His love for us and our ultimate destination, which is with Him, away from all worries and troubles.

If you are struggling with anxiety, I encourage you to seek counselling either at your church or from a paid professional. Here is a link to various practitioners globally: Psychology Today

Father God, please help me to remember that you are always with me, that you are my God, that you strengthen me and that you uphold me. Thank you that in you I do not need to be anxious for anything. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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