DO NOT be anxious about ANYTHING, but in every situation, by prayer (earnest hope expressed to God) and petition (appealing to God), with thanksgiving (expressing your gratitude to God), present your requests to God. And the peace of God, (freedom from disturbance and tranquility) which transcends (goes beyond limits) all understanding (comprehension), will guard (protect) your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine never being anxious about anything…
It seems impossible! What does a lack of anxiety look like?
For me, it is picturing myself sitting in a lounger, on the beach, watching the sunset, while staring at the vastness of the ocean and listening to the waves gently touching the shore. That’s my happy place. Can you see it?
We all have worries. Maybe your fear is losing your job and figuring out how to make ends meet. Maybe you fear the instability of the markets and losing everything you’ve earned and banked on for retirement too late in the game. Maybe you’re scared for the health of an immunocompromised family member. Maybe you’re just stuck wondering about the future and how/if/when this will end.
The fact is, whether it’s the fears of today’s world or tomorrow’s, none of us know how any of it will turn out. But Paul’s advice is to turn our concerns into prayers. If you want to worry less, then pray more. Whenever you start to get anxious or feel a panic attack coming on where you are suddenly gripped with intense fear based on your perception of a threat rather than actual imminent danger — stop what you’re doing and pray.
Sometimes you are simply unable to deal with TSA by yourself. When you get to that point, reach out to a seasoned Christ-follower, a pastor or a Christian counselor. After all, we know the devil is a master of isolation and always tries to keep us on the deserted island.
Finally, brothers (and sisters) whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Phillipians 4:8 NIV
A friend of mine recently said, what you focus on will become magnified.
In other words, what we put in our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions. Paul tells us to program our “computer”. If you are struggling with negative contemplation, then examine what you are putting into your mind via television, social media, books and conversations. Instead, try replacing all that undesirable information with God’s Word.
We are not garbage cans—but if you’re not careful, the junk that you allow in will eventually become the junk that comes out. Ask God to help you center your focus and give you clear vision—even in this blurry year of 2020.
If you want to overcome TSA then meditate on Scripture. Spend time every morning reading the Bible before turning on the news, before reading the headlines on your smart phone, before checking work emails, before responding to text messages and before scrolling through your social media feeds. All of those other sources of “input” only build and create anxiety. It knocks us off balance, distracts from God’s purpose and causes an upset stomach. God’s Word encourages, calms, and restores our souls. Try swapping out your “inputs” for one week and see what a difference you’ll feel.
Cast (throw forcefully) all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 NIV
Carrying our tension, stress and anxiety all alone tends to expose that we have not fully trusted God with our lives. It takes humility to recognize God cares for you, that you need Him and His help.
Let me leave you with this: God’s peace is different from our world’s peace. Contrary to a very popular cultural belief, true peace is not found in positive thinking or good vibes. Instead, it’s found in trusting God’s goodness and grace, believing that “we are His workmanship, created for good works, which He prepared beforehand.” (Ephesians 2:10)
After all, as Christians, our ultimate citizenship is in Christ’s Kingdom and as Revelation 21:4 tells us; someday “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Folks, Heaven is our real home, but in the meantime, we will occupy this earth, we will wait with great anticipation until He returns, and as the Christian song says, we will choose to “Let Go and Let God.” He knows how to get us through the TSA.