Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us that we should not be anxious about anything. It advises us that when we do feel anxious, we must turn to prayer. Although this is great advice, and we should turn to prayer when anxiety kicks in, the reality is that prayer isn’t a magical pill. Prayer cannot instantly remove the anxiety you feel. Sometimes it well, while other times, your anxiety will not subside no matter what you do.
We are human, and our closeness to God will not make us bulletproof against our humanity and the emotional roller coasters that we will encounter. Feelings of anxiety are sometimes uncontrollable because something in our brain is occurring that we cannot control. What can we do? We must focus on the things that we can control. There is no use in focusing and ruminating over the variables in our life that are out of our control. Instead, we must focus on what we can control, which is our decisions and our thoughts.
The next time that you feel as though you are expected to be courageous 24/7 and be utterly faith-filled at all times, do not allow shame to consume you. Your feelings are valid. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Your anxiety is a sign of fear—a type of fear. Instead of running from it, face it head-on. Navigate your thoughts and discover your concerns. Determine the source of your anxiety. Once you know what it is, develop a spiritual and practical strategy. Pray fervently and intercede for your mind.
Allow yourself the chance to cry it out or exercise or engage in movement because our bodies have a way of processing emotions through active movement. Recite encouraging scriptures and declare God’s word upon your life and your mind. Speak God’s truth to yourself because that is how you minister the word of God to your spirit. Every time that you feel anxiety rise, choose to be practical.
Reach out to those you trust, go for a walk, watch a comedy, invite laughter into your day, take time to journal, read a book, or listen to talks that will bring you peace. Be spiritual about your approach but also practical. Your prayer is your spiritual weapon, but employing a practical strategy will help you get through your day.
Do not allow shame and religion to pollute your thoughts and ideas. Push through it and learn to take it easy. One step at a time, one moment at a time. God is with you, and He is a loving father that will never shame you for your humanity. He will never shame you for feeling fear, anxiety, sadness, depression, or melancholia. Instead, this is when He wants to be closest to you. Run toward Him and let Him be your refuge, not religion.