OPINON | STEPHEN HARRISON: How to overcome anxieties of this world

Stephen Harrison
Stephen Harrison

Anyone deal with anxiety? Me too. Surprised? Stress, fear, worry, uncertainty and a host of other anxiety issues come at all of us in varied proportions. Sometimes anxiety hits us when we least expect it.

One day when I was headed to an important meeting I thought started at 3:30 p.m. It actually started at 3 p.m. I wrote it down wrong in my calendar and as I checked my email before leaving my office I realized instead of being early I was going to be a few minutes late.

I sent a text to the leader of the meeting and then hurried off -- to the wrong address! I drove way across town to a bank only to realize when I arrived I was at the wrong branch! Needless to say my anxiety went through the roof.

I sent another text in panic and the leader simply said, "Breathe." Ever have one of those days? What do we do when we are stressed about bigger issues than being late for a meeting? I'm glad scriptures tell us how to overcome the anxieties of this world.

One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Peter 5:7, which says, "Cast all your anxieties on Him (Jesus), for He cares for you." Did you catch that? It says "All" of them! No matter what they are. I also noticed it didn't say, "Stop being anxious" but it reminds me when I am anxious to turn to Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 is a verse I say most every day. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer with supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard (renew) your hearts in Christ Jesus."

Notice the Apostle Paul did not say just pray, but described how to pray. He said right praying should include prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. While prayer is making your requests known to God, it shouldn't be just a wish list. Praying involves devotion, adoration, and worship. It is connecting to God in His presence and realizing He is more than enough for any situation you may face.

Paul reminds us that after connecting to God we must then share our needs and problems. This, too often, is where we start. When you do share your issues with God, be intense. Pray sincerely, earnestly, and passionately.

Don't be halfhearted -- lay it all out there. Remember cast all your anxieties on Him for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Cast means to throw or unload. Go ahead -- He can take it when you can't take it anymore.

His shoulders are big enough. After prayer and supplication, Paul says we should show thanksgiving. Appreciating God is worship. We are quick to ask but often slow to appreciate. This right praying leads to a right heart and mindset.

Notice it's not the other way around. The result of right praying is anxiety turns into peace -- which comes from the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Anxiety will come but scripture says peace can also come.

It's this peace that guards and renews our hearts and minds in Jesus. Peace is not the absence of problems but the presence of Jesus! We shouldn't be anxious about anything but pray about everything!

Stephen Harrison is the former lead pastor of Family Church at White Hall. He is the lead pastor of The Summit Church Saline County. Ministers or other writers interested in writing for this section may submit articles for consideration to Writers should have connections to Southeast Arkansas. Please include your name, phone number and the name and location of your church or ministry.

Editor's note: A version of this article was printed in October 2022.

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