“Don’t Be Anxious”
by Wanda Walborn, Director of Spiritual Formation
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
This command makes such an indictment to my heart because it seems normal to have anxiety over certain things such as final exams, relationships, finances, or addictions, however, if we are to take God at His word, He is saying don’t be anxious about anything. Anything? Anything. This is such a tall order.
In the last few days I have had several conversations with students on campus struggling with anxiety. The heart palpitations, churning stomach and sweaty palms come when we feel out of control waiting for the shoe to fall. Anxiety is like an algae-ridden pool in which we swim in our minds and never drain for cleaning. Why would we swim in such a place? In a word-habit. We have become so familiar with living in this state that we think it is normal. At times it causes us to get our homework done, or go to church/chapel/class, but we have no joy or peace in our lives.
This verse from Philippians 4 gives us something to do to break this habit. Pray and petition with thanksgiving as we present our requests to God. Prayer includes quieting ourselves to be able to hear, and thankfully petitioning simply means asking God. It is important that we welcome Him into the chaos, fear, pain, which is causing the anxiety.
I have some breathing prayers that help me focus on the Lord and let go of my anxiety. I breathe in on the word Father, and breathe out on the phrase I receive your peace. Since it fits with the rhythm of my breathing, I can slow it down and eventually focus fully on receiving God’s peace. Sometimes it takes me awhile to feel His presence, but if I stay there, He (the Prince of Peace) always comes to me.
Give it a try!