Before Caleb, my first child, was born last November, I would not have considered myself someone who had a problem with anxiety. I had many weaknesses and sin issues to work on, but anxiety just wasn’t one of them. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation of early motherhood, the postpartum hormones, or the brand new emotions I was experiencing as a mom. Likely it was a combination of the three. But whatever the “trigger,” after Caleb’s arrival I suddenly found myself running into fear and anxiety on a regular, almost daily basis. I could be enjoying a sweet moment with my cooing baby, then allow myself to contemplate the possibility of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and within a matter of seconds I would be overcome with almost nauseating fear. News of trouble in the Middle East or political tension in our own country could send me into a mental tailspin as I considered Caleb’s future. Nighttime was the worst. If I had managed to subdue my anxious thoughts over the course of the day, they would come tumbling into my mind the moment I said goodnight to my husband Andrew and closed my eyes. I brought myself to tears often as I thought of losing Andrew and Caleb or watching them experience terrible hardships.
Although I knew that hormonal imbalance could be exacerbating my anxious thoughts, I also felt strongly that I was in a spiritual battle that could be overcome by the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Very quickly after realizing that I was prone to fear and anxiety, God showed me that the power to work through these issues could be found within His Word.
It became clear that I was failing to trust God. I was looking into the future without remembering Who holds it. I was frantic over things I do not control, all the while forgetting that I knew the One who does. As God revealed to me my acute need for His truth to permeate my thoughts, I acquired a deep hunger and thirst for His Word. I began developing a habit of quickly running to the Bible when anxiety brewed. Here are four basic truths that God is still teaching me as I learn to battle fear and anxiety in a biblical way.
1. Worrying does not accomplish anything.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? …And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25, 27)
These verses make a very simple point: the time we waste on worrying will not help us to live one day longer or accomplish anything good. I am amazed at how unproductive I am when I am taking time and energy to fret!
2. We can take our fear to God and find peace in knowing Him.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27).
“Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
In John 14, Jesus assures His disciples that He will impart His peace, commanding them not to be troubled or fearful. God cares. He does not want us to merely suppress our anxiety. Rather, He tells us in Philippians 4 to take our requests to Him. When we turn our fears over to God and rest in what we know to be true of Him, we can experience a deep-rooted peace that transcends earthly sorrows. I am working on taking my energy-wasting fear straight to God and leaving it with Him!
3. The evil we see in this world is fleeting.
“Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness” (Psalm 37:1-3).
I love the combination of these verses. God comforts us in His reminder that evildoers will “wither quickly”, then commands us to trust Him and “do good”. This passage puts courage in my heart as I carry on with life in a world that is not my home.
4. Persevere, reward is coming!
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
Our suffering here on earth is not in vain. We have a crown of life promised to us! Do not grow weary. As I anticipate future trials, the promise of eternity with Christ gives me hope.
As the weeks since Caleb’s birth have rolled along, I have been able to see God tangibly working in my heart and helping me experience trust and inward peace. There are still days that I give in to fear; but more and more, the Lord is helping me to replace my anxious thoughts with passages of Scripture. As I contemplate His sovereignty, lovingkindness, and compassion, my fear gives way to thanksgiving for the good and gracious God I am privileged to belong to. Fear does not have to paralyze me; rather, it can be a tool to show me my constant need for God’s grace and awaken me to the living power of the Bible.
How has your love for Scripture changed your life? What is God using to transform your worry into trust?