Everyone experiences stress and anxiety in their lives, but no one needs to live there. Anxiety Island is a lonely place where we believe the lie that no one else could possibly understand what we are going through. Jesus understands because He has been there. Because He suffered in every way like we do, we know we can look to Him to find the way out of anxiety and into God's peace which is the alternative to anxiety.
On the night Jesus had every reason to break down from anxiety, he prayed.
Prayer is the alternative to anxiety.
Philippians 4:6-7 says:
"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Turning our stress over to God allows us to rest in His peace instead of rolling around in our own panic. In the previous verses, Paul recommended constant rejoicing as a hallmark of the Christian life. The absence of rejoicing creates a void into which anxiety loves to move. For that reason, Paul continues in these verses by pointing out that thanksgiving should be the sauce on top of our prayers.
Thanksgiving is the antidote to anxiety.
When my life is full of gratitude to God, I leave no room in my heart or mind for anxiety.
This passage is about the power of prayer, not my problems and panic. We approach God with our needs because we are confident in His provision. That confidence is the result of regular thanksgiving and gratitude.
Notice, these verses do not promise we'll get what we ask for. They do promise peace, which is the result of letting go. For prayer to be effective against anxiety, we must be willing to give our requests to God and not take them back.
Trust is the antidote to anxiety
In the garden, Jesus asked God if there was another way. There was not. Even though Jesus didn't receive his request, He was so full of peace that He was able to endure His great trial with great patience, faith and even forgiveness. He trusted His Father to do the right thing!
Don't stay stuck on Anxiety Island. Fill your life with gratitude for all God has done, is doing and will do. Find reasons to rejoice in every situation. Present your requests to your Father, and let them go. Be confident that He will meet your needs, He will work things out and He will do what is right!
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