DG-blog-header-AntidotesForAnxiety-01 When I was in grade school, my parents were gracious enough to pick me up so I didn't have to ride the bus. Every day, without fail my dad would pick me up in his bright red Durango. Every day our teachers would lead us in lines out the front doors of the school where we waited for our loved ones to load us up and take us home. He would come; I knew this for a fact. But if I didn't immediately see that bright red SUV in the circle drive, I broke down in inconsolable sobs. I never had a reason to doubt that my parents would remember me. And though irrational, that fear was so incredibly real. The goings-on of anyone's mind is a complex thing, and not once do I want to belittle, or irritate that sentiment. So, I say what I will with sincerity and empathy to any of you who share in my same struggle or have your own cross to bear. Needless to say, I've always been a worrier. I was so repetitiously anxious that my teachers wanted to hold me back to repeat the 1st grade over again. I was anxious about storms. I worried about the health and safety of my loved ones on a regular basis. Strange as it sounds, I was even afraid of certain numbers. Suffice it to say, I've always been exacerbated by the quip, "Oh, don't worry about it," or "everything will be fine." I've always known how high-strung I am, but I thought I was always just a little weird or maybe a little broken. But it turned out that these nonchalant phrases illegitimatized and undermined a much deeper problem of mine–a spiritual problem. At any given moment, my mind has the propensity to be a mess of stress and worry, and the way my brain has "hacked" that worry is to tell my mind to release the tension I feel through different compulsions. Known by another name: OCD. While the nature of compulsions is beside my main point, I must note that like most worldly things, these compulsions promise peace but actually stir up more turmoil. My mind is constantly busy with thoughts, and when my body is still it seems to be the hardest time to reign-in my compulsions. This makes uninvolved things like sleeping, "relaxing," or enjoying silence very difficult for me. When I see the wrong headline, or I hear a sad story that easily could be my own, or when the brushes of death are all too real, the tension in my head rises and gives way to a muddied mind. And this does not happen because I'm not really a Christian, nor does it happen because I'm too lazy to "turn it off." This happens because I, like every other person, am a broken creature who still feels the pangs of that fateful day in Eden. But there is hope, and in my daily waging of war against my flesh I've found three things to be helpful in my continued pursuit of becoming victorious through Christ over anxiety and OCD.

Philippians 4:6-7

"Do not be anxious 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.

Here Paul is, urging the Philippian church to not be troubled. But in his rebuke, he doesn't leave them with an empty remark of "just don't worry about it." Instead, he provides a prescription to heed, a medicine to take. "Do not be anxious about anything, BUT in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving . . ." These two verses are simple, they first tell us not to partake in a certain problem shortly thereafter there is a prescription to that problem, and then we come to an assurance for believers that the peace of God will guard us when we take our proper medicine. The salve to soothe away the spasms of anxiety is prayer. I would be hard-pressed to say that every situation of an individual's battle with anxiety can be solved by flippant prayer, but I believe wholeheartedly that God Himself is making a promise to us through the apostle Paul. When we pray with whole hearts and minds, our eyes become glazed over, minimizing the feeble problems of this world and instead our senses become fixated on Christ Himself, who has already overcome the world. DG-instas-Jan14-18 I know the descriptor of "feeble" to describing very real and very painful and very present suffering and anxiety might seem as unpleasant as nails on a chalkboard. We don't like to hear that our problems are small, which is why the phrase, "just don't worry" seems so unhelpful. But, as controversial as it may sound, to give the anxieties you experience, whether they be illness, job loss, or even death, the power of a stronger word than "feeble" is a disservice to the freedom we have in Christ. When we give anything this world throws at us a stronger word, we dilute the accomplishment of Christ on the cross; we lose focus that this world is not our home. We forget that we are coheirs with Christ, an imperishable nation of believers who will not taste a final death. This is, in part, the peace of God that verse 7 is speaking about. There are many wondrous and splendid things about the Gospel that we can and should and must contemplate. These thoughts should infiltrate our prayers and guard our hearts. Praising God for His goodness, and pleading for reprieve from anxiety is a safeguard from the persistent and worrisome thoughts that attempt to invade our minds.

2 Corinthians 10:5

"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."

In this passage Paul is speaking to the Corinthians and though the Apostle is not saying this with anxiety specifically in mind, I believe it is fair to draw the benefits of "taking captive every thought" with regard to anxiety. Worried thoughts can easily be surmised as "lofty opinions" that go against the knowledge of God. This second tenant of battling against the fruition of anxious flesh ties closely in with what was said above about prayer. To actively combat anxious thoughts we must take them captive, shifting our focus from the deplorable thing to beautiful thing–Christ. In order to actively slay sin in this regard, we must first commit to seizing our every thought and bending it in obedience to Christ. DG-instas-Jan14-182

Philippians 4:8

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

What do we do with the thoughts we've now diligently taken captive? Dwell on these things. Let that sink in for a moment. What is honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and excellent? What is worthy of our praise? The Triune God. The gospel that plucked us from our sure fate in Hades. A low born babe of Mary, humble and laying Himself down for us. The Bride of Christ, His Church. The final resurrection, the second coming of our King. This is only a glimpse of the pure, joyous, and excellent things of which all are so much better and worthy to be thought of than the woes and throes of anxiety and death. Being a Christian does not guarantee you a life void of doubt and worry. It does, however, give you more than sufficient reason and resources to combat the sin of anxiety and instead stretch your eyes heavenward. For me, being a Christian was perhaps the hardest aspect of dealing with high-levels of worry. If the phrases I stated before were bad, imagine how much more ostracizing it is for people to tell you how sinful worry is without offering a solution beyond, "just stop that." Scripture is rich with examples of how as a church we are called-upon and urged to edify one another and spur one another on towards Christ. In most of my time in Christianity, I have not experienced that with anxiety. Scripture is not silent on the antidote for anxiety, and Christian, neither should we be. DG-instas-Jan14-183 Sarah Morrison is a staff writer for The Daily Grace Co.
The Daily Grace Podcast

We want to invite women to join us in our conversation about our great God, and be encouraged to seek a deeper knowledge of God that leads them to live their lives for God’s glory as they grow in love and awe in response to who He is.