Choosing Joy When You Struggle With Anxiety

by

From the Series: Choosing Joy

The Smithsonian Institute magazine called this the “golden age of anxiety.”

But God has a great goal for us…

Philippians 4:4-7 NRSV

[4] Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. [5] Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. [6] Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

HOW TO OVERCOME ANXIETY

1. Worry about nothing.

We need to size up our worries for what they really are.

Dr. Walter Calvert published a study about worry and concluded…

  • Forty percent of what you worry about will not happen.
  • Thirty percent of your worries concern the past.
  • Twelve percent of your worries are health issues.
  • Ten percent of your worries are insignificant and petty issues.
  • Only eight percent of your worries have actual legitimate concerns.

In other words, most of the things we worry about we simply need to declare as unworthy of our worry and move on, leaving them with Jesus.

1 Peter 5:7 NRSV

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

2. Pray about everything.

Everything? Yes. Everything. That does NOT mean that every little thing turns into a religious activity, but rather that prayer becomes a part of who we naturally are – an ongoing, casual (and sometimes serious) conversation with God.

More specifically, though, this means “in every circumstance” or situation.

3. Thank God for all things.

I love this description of “gratitude” by Psychology Today

Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for  what one has—as opposed to, say, a consumer-oriented emphasis  on what one wants or needs—and is currently receiving a great deal of attention  as a facet of positive psychology. Gratitude is what gets poured into the glass to make it half full. Studies show that gratitude not only can be deliberately cultivated but can increase levels of well-being and happiness among those who  do cultivate it.  In addition, grateful thinking—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy.

What’s really amazing is that modern psychology didn’t invent this concept. It has merely discovered a law that God wrote on the human heart at creation – gratitude is attitude- and life-changing.

4. Think about the right things.

Paul gives us a list, challenging us to fill our minds with certain things…

Philippians 4:8 NRSV

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

THREE PRACTICES FOR A HEALTHY THOUGHT LIFE…

  • Be careful what you fill your mind with.
  • Intentionally cultivate positive thinking.
  • Replace negative tendencies with positive…

Replace lies with the truth…

Replace impurities with purity…

Replace critical thoughts with praiseworthy thoughts…

How to Support This Website

All of the resources and ideas found on Preaching for Change are made freely available to anyone who benefits from them. Some pastors have the budget and means for professional development and creative resources while others do not. For those who can and wish to support this website financially, feel free to do so at the link below.

Feeling Burned Out?

Exhausted? Depleted? Disillusioned? You’re not alone! In January of 2021, 29% of pastors had considered quitting. By March of 2022, that number had risen to 42%. (According to Barna Research) And things aren’t getting any easier. So we’ve developed this 20-question free burnout assessment tool to help you know where you stand.

My Other Favorite Source of Creative Preaching Ideas

Creative Sermon Series Planning Resources

Get Free Preaching and Leadership Ideas

Fresh sermon ideas, leadership tips, and articles to help you be a better shepherd.

Thanks so much for subscribing!