April 15, 2018
Proverbs 3:21-26 & Philippians 4:6
A question came up in our Bible Study class last week about how to overcome the many feelings and issues that cause anxiety, fret, fear, and worry in our lives. Today we will try to learn how to handle and respond to the overwhelming challenges of anxiety.
In the Bible panic attacks are referred to as sudden fear. You can’t breathe, your palms sweat, your chest gets tight, you feel weak, and you are on the verge of exploding. Many people have experienced these symptoms to some degree or another. Doctor’s estimate that in our stress filled world, about a third of us experience at least one panic attack a year. If you are one of them, here are some things you can do to help yourself.
A. Always remember that you help and hope is in the Lord and not in the situation that is causing your problems. The Word says, “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence.” (Proverbs 3:25&26)
B. Breathe deeply. Panic makes you breathe in short shallow bursts, whereas breathing deeply helps to calm and relax you. So when you start to feel overwhelmed or upset, stop and breathe the name of Jesus. Try it; it works!
C. Talk to yourself. Say, By God’s grace I can handle this. (2 Corinthians 12:9) If you respond with more panic you will just end up with double trouble. Allowing yourself to feel panic without reacting to it may sound difficult at first, but it helps you break the cycle and take control of your thinking.
D. Do something calming. This may be the last thing you feel like doing, because panic attacks make you instinctively think thoughts that feed your fear. So take a minute and whisper a prayer, quote a scripture, listen to inspirational music, or talk to a close friend. If your panic attacks continue, there is no shame in getting professional help. God is the One who gives doctors the learning to intervene.
The pressures of our times have many of us caught in a web of the most acceptable, yet energy draining sin in the Christian family: worry. Chances are good you woke up this morning, stepped out of bed, and before doing anything, strapped on your well-worn backpack of anxiety. You started the day not with a prayer on your mind, but loaded down by worry. What a dreadful habit! Jesus challenged His followers with the question, “Who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27) Worry solves nothing. It creates unrest and uneasiness, and if left unchecked it can stir our waves of anxiety into a perfect storm of emotions. Add a little imagination and creativity, and our worst fears come to live high definition brilliance. The stress from worry drains our energy and preoccupies our minds, stripping us of our peace. We fret over big things and little things. Some of us have a list of concerns that feed our addiction to worry. It is a very unattractive and annoying addiction, yet we somehow manage to make a joke out of it. I’ve heard people say with a smile, “If I don’t have something to worry about, I get worried about not having something to worry about.” Anxiety has become a favorite habit we love to hate and worse, we are passing it on to our loved ones. As they see the worry on our faces and hear it from our lips, we are teaching them the art of anxiety. So what is the answer? Do not worry about anything, but instead pray about everything.
How can we turn our worries into prayers?
How has God helped you overcome your worries?