What to Do When You're Anxious - The Crosswalk Devotional - February 2
The Crosswalk Devotional
By Anne Peterson, Crosswalk.com
What to Do When You’re Anxious
By Anne Peterson
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
With everything happening in our world today, does God really expect us not to be anxious? The short answer is yes. God tells us not to be anxious about anything. And he goes on to say when he expects this of us.
In every situation.
Our heavenly Father is aware of everything that is going on in our world. God is sovereign, which means God is the ultimate power. He’s omnipotent, which means God can do anything. And if things look impossible, that’s okay. Because we’re told in scripture the things which are impossible with man are possible with God (Luke 18:27). All we must do is look all around us, and we will see evidence of God’s power. Did you know God placed all the stars in the sky and named them? That alone shows me God’s infinite power. So how are we supposed to be able to be calm when things around us seem to be out of control? It’s because of two things: 1) things may seem out of control to us, but they are never out of God’s control, and 2) God has given us the privilege of prayer.
By prayer and petition.
We are told to pray without ceasing. That means our lives can just be one continual conversation with God almighty. I don’t know about you, but I am always talking to God. I let him know my needs, however small, and I love it when God meets those needs. One of God’s names is Jehovah Jireh, which means the Lord will provide. It doesn’t mean God might provide. Paul reminds us that God will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19). God even likes to give his children the desires of their hearts (Psalms 37:4). Petitions are appealing to authority with a respect to a particular cause. God is our authority, and God gives us the invitation to let him know what it is we need. And the exciting thing is we have an open invitation. We are told to come boldly to God’s throne of grace, we don’t have to have wobbly knees like the cowardly lion who approached the Wizard of Oz. We have the God-given right, knowing that can ease our anxiety. Because God himself tells us to bring him our requests. But how we do that is paramount.
Why is it important that God tells us to do it with thanksgiving? I believe it’s because when we are thankful as we bring God our requests, the Holy Spirit reminds us of other requests God has granted. He reminds us of other needs our loving Father has met for us. Right now, take a few moments and jot down some of those answered prayers. It’s what makes our faith in God grow. When David stood before Goliath and David remembered how God had helped him when he faced a lion and a bear, David’s faith in God grew. David knew if God was faithful when facing a lion and a bear, God doesn’t change. So, God would faithfully help David with this Philistine before him.
When our hearts are full of gratitude, there is no room for anxiety. We know that we don’t deserve anything, and yet God showers us with so many blessings we can’t help but feel overwhelmed at times. And when can we give thanks? God tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (1Thessalonians 5:16-18). And God explains that it is God’s will that we do that. I have found when we feel we cannot do something that God tells us to do, we can trust that He will empower us to do it. Otherwise, God is not a loving God. And I know He is loving.
Present your requests to God.
All we’re asked to do is lay our requests before God. Sometimes we don’t have, God tells us, because we don’t ask. It can never be yes if we don’t ask. And one thing I know of God is that when He chooses not to grant a request, it’s because God has something better in mind, or it’s just not the right time. This is something we will learn the longer we walk with the Lord. The one verse I’m reminded of is a wonderful verse to memorize. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all—how will he not along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32). God gave us Jesus. What could we possibly ask for that would be of more value? God tells us not to be anxious, but being the loving Father he is, God also instructs us how to do that.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
When have you struggled with anxiety? Are you willing to try God’s method of dealing with your anxiety? How loving of God to spell it out for us. He really does want his children to have peace. Then the world will see something different in us, and perhaps they will want to know about our Jesus.
Lord, I pray for anyone who is anxious. There are so many things happening in our world right now. We thank you, Lord, that you are on the throne. We thank you that nothing will happen to us that you are not aware of. I’m thankful you are sovereign. We love you, Lord, and we pray this in your Son’s precious name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
On the Throne (a poem)
Peace amidst the chaos,
shelter from the storm,
God protects His children
from every kind of harm.
Lord, we bow before you,
for You are God alone.
No matter what we face today,
You’re always on the throne.
- Anne Peterson © 2022
Do a Bible study on the word “peace.”
Read my article on Crosswalk: Biblical Encouragement for When You Feel Like Giving Up
Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/fizkes
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and published author of 16 books. Her most recent book is Always There: Finding God's Comfort through Loss. Anne has published 42 Bible Studies and numerous articles with christianbiblestudies.com. She has been a regular contributor to Crosswalk for seven years. Visit Anne’s website at annepeterson.com and sign up for a free eBook or visit her Facebook page. You can also subscribe to Anne’s YouTube channel where you can watch her recite her poems and share her heart.
Check out fantastic resources on Faith, Family, and Fun at Crosswalk.com!
Want to grow your prayer life? The So Much More Podcast shows you how to create space to be with God. This podcast, hosted by Jodie Niznik, introduces you to two types of scripture experiences: Lectio Divina and Imaginative Prayer. Join our growing prayer community today!