10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Psalms 46:10-11 (ESV)
Tension. That’s the first feeling we have when anxiety strikes. We feel the stiff grip of tension throughout our bodies.
And our minds begin racing. Not with any real destination in mind. Just ’round and ’round, taking the turns at breakneck speed up on two wheels, careening out of control.
Think Indy 500 on steroids.
When anxiety strikes, the ability for rational thought is, at best, hindered (if not somewhat incapacitated). Our peace is shattered. Our focus is skewed. Our hearts and minds are racing.
Look out for the third turn.
When God instructs us to “be still”, He is telling us – very pointedly – to chill out. The root of the Hebrew word for “still” (rāpâ) means “to slacken” (Strong’s H7503). Loosen up your grip. Calm your mind. Relax your body. Release the tension.
How? “Know that I am God,” He said. Know that He is in control. Know that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present. Know that He is immovable, and He is your fortress.
In other words, have faith. Understand that we can trust God and His Word far more than we can trust our own personal notions. This is especially true when we are in an emotional spiral. In moments of anxiety, rational thought tends to fly right out the window.
But we always have the Lord and His promises. Despite what we see, He will never leave or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). He is our shield of protection (Psalm 3:3 and 28:7). He is our place of safety (Psalm 91). God is love (1 John 4:8) and nothing – nothing – will ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39).
You see, the reality of our loving God means we can set aside all that worries us, all that we fear. Peter put it this way:
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1 Peter 5:6-9 (ESV)
Do you want to get rid of the anxiety that plagues you? It requires a change of heart and mind, a firm decision to be led by faith and not sight.
- Humble yourself under God. You are not the one in control. That is way above our pay grade. Not only that, our enemy is in no more control than we. He “prowls around” as if he were “a roaring lion”. He is a defeated foe. His reign has an expiration date, unlike God’s eternal kingdom. It requires humility on our part to realize that God’s Word is real and true, even when it stands in opposition to what we see and perceive with our physical senses.
- Cast all your anxieties on God. Peter was a fisherman. He understood all too well the importance of a good cast. When you cast a net – or, in more modern fishing terms, a fishing line – you aim at your target and you throw. You have to trust that your line will go where you aimed it. Take all of your worries, fear and doubts, humbly trusting the Lord and taking Him at His Word, and cast them off, sending them straight to God. And leave them there.
- Be sober minded and vigilant. Don’t fall for the temptation to reel those cares back in. It may seem that the Lord isn’t working fast enough. Maybe you doubt that He heard you at all. Don’t go there. Have faith. Seek the Lord. Be mindful that the enemy is going to try to tempt you back into anxious thoughts.
- Resist the enemy. All he can do is tempt you. Be aware: he can sound very reasonable and sensible. He can twist any fears we have and make them seem right. But remember: He is not in control. God is. Rest in that knowledge.
- You are not alone. Never think that you are facing something unique. God is always with you. You are not facing life alone. One of the wonderful things about our Lord is that, not only does He guide us in the way to go, He makes the way for us. He strengthens us. He leads us. He enables us to do His will.
Let today be the day. No more anxiety. No more worry. Stay in God’s Word and connected in prayer. When the opportunity for anxiety strikes again (and it will), be ready. Stand firm on promises of God, on the firm foundation He has given you.
Be humble under God.
Be confident in His strength and love.
Be firm in your faith.
He is with you. Always.