In this devotional on anxiety, I suggest 4 habitual steps you can take to help you bring your anxieties to God.
I hope what I share will be useful to you!
Anxiety can hit any of us (yes, even believers in God!)
Our world has become a powder keg for feeling anxious. Indeed, research has shown that anxiety is on the rise across the world.
The reality is: modern life moves at a blistering – often stressful – pace. It’s hard to keep up.
As a result, it’s sadly way too easy for us to get overwhelmed by fears, both new and old. This may include worries over job security, finances, family, other relationships, and / or an uncertain future.
And yes, this anxiety-inducing situation impacts Christians as much as anyone else!
Even with faith, believers too often struggle with trying to live in a difficult world.
This begs the question: how can we deepen our trust in God to help us overcome our anxieties?
In this devotional on anxiety, I present 4 steps that, together, will hopefully help you better seek God’s peace amid your fears and worries.
4 Steps to Seeking God for Help with Your Anxiety
Devotional on Anxiety, Step #1: Above all else, make time for God!
Let’s begin with an honest question.
How much time do you currently commit to praying to God, each day?
I don’t mean casual ‘pray-as-you-go’ time (e.g. “Dear God, while I wait for my pumpkin spice latte…”). Heh.
Nope, I’m talking about purposeful, focused, daily sit-down time with our heavenly Father.
5 minutes a day? Maybe 10? 20?
Well, the reality is… many of us often choose to spend our time on other activities, besides prayer time.
For example, we often opt to work longer hours, socialise more regularly with friends, browse the Internet for hours on end, play video games, binge the latest Netflix series…
You get the drift. 🙂
Of course, I’m not saying these activities are necessarily ‘bad’ in and of themselves.
However, the contextual point is: many people don’t put God as a top priority in their lives.
Instead, God is kinda taken-for-granted as being ‘always there’ – but in the background.
And the result?
Well, we inevitably expose ourselves to more anxiety by letting the things of the world consume our hearts (e.g. stress at work, relationship problems, personal insecurities, etc.) – while turning away from the peace that God offers.
Put God first.
If we truly want to start overcoming our anxieties, we must begin by putting God first in our hearts.
Jesus is clear in saying this:
Notice that the verse doesn’t say “Seek first your work, your friends, your Netflix subscription – then, if there’s any time left, give the leftover to God”.
Instead, God says seek Him FIRST – and, in so doing, He will give guidance for all matters in life (not just food, drink, and clothes).
What form of divine guidance will He give us?
Well, among many wonderful blessings, God promises us peace from fear, worry, and anxiety, through our steady faith in Jesus Christ.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.Psalm 34:4
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30
In short, via our humble prayers and faithful hearts, God invites us to share our anxieties with Him.
This should not be carried out as an afterthought – but treated as a foremost path in our lives, for our own good.
So, Step 1: Put God first!
You may be asking yourself now: “Why would God, who is almighty, have time to help me with my trivial fears? My silly problems?”
Put simply, it’s because our heavenly Father loves us! And He’s willing to help anyone who stands humbled before Him.
Devotional on Anxiety, Step 2: Be 100% open with God
As you start to prioritize God in your life, always remember that He knows you better than everyone else in your life. Because God sees all our hearts fully.
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.1 Samuel 16:7
Even more amazing, God – as our ultimate creator – knows us better than we know ourselves! For the Bible says:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.Psalm 139:1-6
And, yes, God – who transcends time and space – is well aware of ALL your anxieties, fears, worries, etc. Every. Single. Detail. Way before they even enter your heart.
Are you emotionally avoidant?
Amid our everyday lives, many of us are masters at ’emotional avoidance’ (consciously or otherwise).
For example, do you ever find yourself secretly holding onto anger, worry, fear, annoyance, etc. in your heart – while telling others “everything’s ok”?
Or, perhaps, you try your best to ignore your negative feelings about something / someone, burying your emotions for “some other time” to deal with?
Yup. That’s emotional avoidance in a nutshell!
However, with God, be emotionally accepting instead!
When intimately sharing our anxieties with God, I believe it is far better to approach Him in emotional acceptance – rather than avoidance.
What does this mean?
Emotional acceptance is essentially taking notice without reacting or resolving … Acceptance is simply saying [for example], “I feel afraid”. Experiencing the sadness, acknowledging its presence at this moment … is a giant leap to our end goal of being honest with God and receiving healing.‘Being Honest with God: 3 Essential Steps for Emotional Healing’, Holistic Faith Lifestyle
In other words, don’t try to hide or avoid how you truly feel about the things that make you anxious.
Instead, open your heart fully to God. Allow yourself to feel, acknowledge these feelings, and present them in their rawest form to Him.
By doing this, you are in effect humbly surrendering your anxieties to Him, as they are – without pride, pretension, or the need to ‘keep up appearances’.
Remember, God already knows you inside out! So all of the above is really about you learning to trust Him with your heart.
So what happens when you trust God? Well, as the Lord promises::
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6
… and part of setting your path straight includes helping you overcome your anxieties.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”Psalm 56:3–4
Devotional on Anxiety, Step 3: Listen to what He says
As you share your anxieties with God more regularly, it’s important to pay attention to how He chooses to respond.
This is key because, the truth is, most of us tend to form the habit of ‘one-way’ praying.
That is to say, we talk to God a lot about our personal requests, petitions, hopes, etc.
However, less often do we actually make room for Him to speak to our hearts in return.
This funny skit captures the heart of what I mean, albeit with exaggerated humour. 😀
All this being said, you should have faith our heavenly Father – who is a LIVING God (Jeremiah 10:10; John 6:57; 1 Timothy 3:15) – still actively speaks to us.
He does so in many different ways to many different people, including you!
For example, as you cast your worries to Him, God may choose to respond to you:
- through His Word (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16),
- promptings / impressions from the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; John 16:13),
- dreams or visions (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28),
- circumstances (Matthew 10:11-14; Acts 16:6–7),
- a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12)
- … among myriad other ways He so chooses.
If you’re new to trying to listen to God…
No stress! 🙂 Today is the day you can start!
For a more detailed understanding of how to hear God’s voice, I suggest you begin by checking out Jack Deere’s Surprised by the Voice of God. He covers far more ground than there is space here in this devotional on anxiety.
Deere shares tons of supporting Bible references, real-life stories, and eye-witness accounts that will greatly grow your faith to believe that you, too, can listen to what God is saying directly to you.
I’ve read several good books on this topic. However, Deere’s release is definitely among my favorites, thanks to his extensive service experience.
Give it a go!
Have faith He will respond.
I can’t say for certain when and how God will choose to respond to your prayers.
After all, God is 100% sovereign. So He’s gonna do things according to His will (Psalm 115:3).
However, above everything else in life, you can trust that God is listening to your every word while knowing every detail of your unique anxieties.
What we all need on our parts is faith, trust, and patience that He will respond in His perfect timing, in His perfect way. For the Bible says:
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.Romans 12:12
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.Matthew 21:22
Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.Isaiah 65:24
However, I have to stress an important point next.
Repentance is key.
As we seek God’s help with our anxieties, it’s natural for us to hope for Him to provide an ‘easy fix’ solution outside of ourselves.
For instance, you might be praying “God, I’m anxious about my finances. Please provide money for me!” (i.e. hoping for an external ‘easy fix’ solution).
Of course, in such cases, our heavenly Father may indeed choose to open doors for you to earn more cash (e.g. you may clinch that new job offer, someone suddenly reaches out to you with financial aid, etc.)
Such wonderful blessings do happen, for sure. By His amazing grace!
However, the Bible is also exceedingly clear: as we seek God’s help with our anxieties, we simultaneously invite Him to discipline us in love as He shows us areas in our hearts that require repentance.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.James 4:8
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.Revelation 3:19
For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.Hebrews 12:6
But how does repentance relate to overcoming our anxieties?
Well, the reality is: as we hear and welcome God’s discipline / correction, our hearts (that are prone to pride) slowly start to surrender to His divine will.
Our faith and trust in Him deepens overtime as a result. Through accumulating life experiences, we start to see the wisdom of His ways, not ours (Proverbs 3:5-6). We walk a path that brings both greater glory to Him and, by His grace, more blessings to our own lives.
Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.Job 5:17
And with all the above comes peace from our anxieties, no matter how impossible to overcome our worries seem to be at first.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.Hebrews 12:11
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.Acts 3:19
In short, our humble repentance to God bears the fruit of an anxiety-free life.
Will this happen overnight? Not likely. But with patience and discipline, His promised peace will become ours to enjoy!
Here’s my personal example of how overcoming anxiety can be hiddenly linked with repentance.
Recently, I felt myself feeling anxious about people’s approval. I was worrying over how others might react negatively to a Christian music project I was working hard on.
I turned to God for help on this anxiety.
Through persistent prayer, He began to bring to my heart old memories from my early 20s.
At first, I wondered how these seemingly random recollections were even remotely related to my current anxiety! They felt so detached from my immediate worries.
However, as the days passed, God showed me how such yesteryear moments were, in actuality, hidden root causes of my present anxieties over rejection.
You see, unbeknown to my conscious self, I’d secretly held a grudge against certain people from my past who’d ridiculed me for my previous self-expressions.
This grudge meant I had not yet forgiven them.
Even worse, this unforgiveness had discreetly hardened my heart over time as I became more and more prideful in my attempts to prove “other people like them” wrong.
In addition, God revealed to me how my pride also led to other fear-inducing thoughts, such as “If I don’t prove people wrong, maybe they’re right to judge me!”
Faced with this, I suddenly realized how this horrible thought-pattern – which has been recurring for a long time – had birthed my recent anxiety over people’s possible reactions to my music project.
Seeking forgiveness helped in my anxiety.
When God showed me all of this, I felt the right thing to do was repent.
I then asked Him to please forgive me for not forgiving others earlier (Matthew 6:14-15).
I also prayed for Him to fill me with a genuine desire to “strive for peace with everyone” (Hebrews 12:14) and let go of the insidious “root of bitterness” (Hebrews 12:15) that had taken hold of my heart when I first felt rejected.
Of course, learning to let everything go takes time. And quite a bit of heartache.
But, you know what? Challenging as it may be, this entire process has really helped to heal my overall anxiety, little by little.
I now worry far less about “what will people think?” as I try to focus instead on God’s desires for the music project – rather than my old pattern of fear.
Again, the main point I’m trying to make here in this devotional on anxiety is: God has a delightful way at helping us overcome anxiety by concurrently disciplining us to repent for our sin. These two things are more closely linked than we first think!
And a great way to get there is by humbling ourselves to listen to and allow God to correct us along the way. It’s a testing journey for us all – but totally worth the while.
Devotional on Anxiety, Step 4: Do what you hear
God often brings to light the hidden sins that underlie our anxieties.
However, should we only hear God, repent… and then simply do nothing else?
Instead, God invites us to be active doers of what He tells us.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.James 1:22
So, what does it mean to do God’s will vis-à-vis reducing anxiety?
Well, for example, you may feel anxious about a colleague who gossips about you.
Praying to God, He impresses upon your heart to forgive your co-worker.
Yikes! But OK, you forgive him on the inside.
But wait – the Bible also says we must be DOERS of His word.
Among other actions, this means having to:
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.Matthew 5:44, KJV
Thus, for instance, God may want you to actively show love and do good deeds for your gossiping colleague.
That’s a hard pill to swallow!
But what happens when you focus equally on doing as much as hearing?
Jesus reminds us:
If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love.John 15:10
… and by remaining in Jesus’s love, God promises you peace from your fears and anxieties (John 14:27) because:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.1 John 4:18-19
In short, let us seek God to take away our anxieties as we learn to both hear and humbly do His will for His kingdom and our lives.
Of course, life is full of varied circumstances – and there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ guide to overcoming all your unique worries.
Nonetheless, I hope this 4-step devotional on anxiety has encouraged you to approach God in greater faith!
In summary, overcoming your worries first begins by making God a priority in your life.
Through prayer, share with Him your honest feelings. Be emotionally accepting, not avoidant.
By His sovereign will, God may choose to supernaturally change the external circumstances causing you to fear. At the same time, He may also reveal areas in your life that invite you to repent.
As you open your heart to hearing God’s loving discipline, it is just as important to do His will as you step more fully into the peace He offers.
Thank you for reading this devotional on anxiety. May our heavenly Father bless you, amen!