Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds all understanding. His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
There are times when we can feel disconnected or distant from God. We may feel duty-bound to spend time with Him saying to ourselves that we should pray or read our Bible; other times our worries and concerns block us from coming to God.
Rather than providing a formula that fixes anxiety or a list of tasks that need to be achieved in order to feel peace, this scripture gives us guidance on how to reconnect relationally to God in times of feeling anxious; it’s about our relationship and connection to God when we feel anxious.
So, what does that look like? Here are some ways we can do that:
Pray about everything
Often when we’re anxious or worried we can look to other things to help us. This might include things that distract us such as being busy, socialising, spending time on our phones, finding comfort in food or alcohol or looking to escape our reality through TV or the books we read.
- What difference would it make if you were to talk to God before you reach for one of the above comforts?
- What if you could find comfort in your relationship with God?
- Try speaking to God like He is a friend. Tell Him the things you are concerned about and be honest, which might look like, “I don’t know where to start God but I’m having a tough time and I need your help.”
Tell God what you need
In order to do this we must take a moment to notice what we do need. Sometimes it’s not always the obvious thing. For example, if it’s a financial concern the obvious need is money but what about community and the encouragement and support of others around us?
- Have you taken the time to really notice what you need right now?
- Take a moment to be quiet before God and notice your emotional, physical, mental, social, financial and spiritual needs. Make a list of what comes to mind and bring those things to God.
Thankfulness is a great practice to help remind us of the good that is around us. It can be easier to focus on the things that are difficult but, even in anxious times, there are still things we can be thankful for. Practising thankfulness can help build our hope levels even when we feel challenged by our circumstances.
- Take time each day to thank God for 3 things. You could also make a note of them to read through at the end of each week to remind yourself that there is hope.
God’s peace exceeds our understanding
This peace goes beyond something we can work out with our mind. It’s something that we experience — a peace that settles in our soul, in the deepest part of who we are as a person. It’s knowing who God is and what He will do with the expectation and hope of ‘good’ even when times are tough and letting that truth soak into our spirit.
- Take a moment to receive God’s peace and imagine it soaking into the deepest part of yourself.
God’s peace guards our hearts and minds
God’s peace acts like a protective filter that we view the challenges of life through. It doesn’t mean that we won’t experience anxiety at times or feel low but this peace allows us space to connect with God and to receive hope.
- We don’t have to wait until we’re struggling to practise receiving God’s peace. Try taking time out in your week to connect with God and be still before Him, take some deep breaths and feel His peace around you and in you.
- Why not share that peace with others who may need it?
We understand that January, in particular, can be a challenging month for many due to various reasons. If you find yourself struggling, please know that you are not alone. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. Please reach out to your church community, family and friends if you need support.
May God’s peace and love surround you today, and may you hold onto His hope. He is with you.
Philbe Kellett and the eFocus Team