One day, I was hit with difficulties that left me feeling anxious and concerned. That night, unable to sleep, I started praying and searching through Scripture. I even searched Google for prayers about anxiousness. In the process I discovered a devotion with this scripture from 1 Peter.
“Be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift they have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:7-10
What I learned? When feeling anxious…
- Be clear minded. – Focus on God not your circumstances.
- And self-controlled. Don’t be swayed by what is happening around you.
- Pray. This should always be your first action step when feeling anxious.
- Love each other deeply. The goal of prayer is to more deeply love God and each other.
- Offer hospitality. Hospitality is our opportunity to put love into action.
- Use our gifts to serve others. How are we utilizing what God gives us?
Struggling with anxiety? Be clear minded and self-controlled as you pray for God to guide you to more deeply love others, to be hospitable to those around you and to better use your gifts to serve others.
Feeling better, I shared my previous night’s struggles at a church leadership meeting the next day and passed out Scripture verses, one to each person asking them to share something about how that verse helped to relieve anxious feelings in the past or added meaning to their present circumstances.
The first person read from Philippians: “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (4:6-7) She then shared how this verse was given to her during a difficult time. For her, receiving the verses again offered encouragement that God was continuing to relieve her anxiety.
Another read from 1 Peter: “Casting all your anxieties on God, because God cares for you.” (5:7) He talked about how this Scripture brought comfort during a crisis with one of his grandchildren. He knew it by heart and began crying as he shared the meaning with us.
Another read from Psalm 55: “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (55:22) She had learned this verse as a child and thought of it often.
One Scripture after another was read followed by a story of how God relieved anxious moments but more importantly how God worked miracles during their struggles.
A woman read from Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” (29:11.) She said: “In the midst of my anxiety, God brought me comfort, reassurance and hope.”
What about you? Are you feeling anxious? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) In the midst of our anxiousness and worry, if we will acknowledge and trust God, we will find relief.
God taught our group and me a valuable lesson. Sometimes during our anxious moments, we need to trust that God will see us through in often surprising ways. I was feeling the pressure to provide answers but instead, God provided comfort and relief and taught us all a valuable lesson. I pray that during your anxious moments, you discover God’s formula for relief.