“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 understanding, with guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is an virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:4
I always read these verses as separate thoughts - be anxious for nothing, and then I would read that we should meditate on things that are noble, just, etc. But one day I read these verses and saw them as a continuous thought - that when we are anxious, we should meditate on things that are pure, lovely and worthy of praise. Rather than letting our anxious thoughts take over, we can center our minds on these things - implant them in our heart. Isn’t that what happens with anxiety? We think and obsess over our circumstances - but instead we should be setting our mind on what the Spirit desires, because that leads to life and peace (Romans 8:5-6).
God does not desire anxiety for us - He desires peace. He desires for us to meditate on things that are praiseworthy, but how do we do that? We recall what He has done in our life. We remember the times He rescued us. We remember who He is - His characteristics.
Let’s Get Practical
Pray - the verse says don’t be anxious, but bring everything to God in prayer. Pray over those anxious thoughts.
I like to remember that even if my anxious thoughts were to come true - God is still God. Nothing about Him will change, and He will remain good and faithful.
Write out how God has been faithful. I use my Growth Roots journal to write out little and big ways God has been faithful to me, and it can be helpful when facing anxiety to go back and read those.
Be grateful. The verse also says to pray with thanksgiving - so give thanks to God. Write out what you see Him doing today in your life.
Remember some truth about God and about anxiety (I included some below).
Here is some truth about anxiety:
He is the answer to my soul’s distress (Psalm 4:8)
He is a God that can relieve the troubles of my heart (Psalm 25:17)
He is a God that knows my troubles, hurts, and the anguish of my soul (Psalm 31:7)
His wrap-around presence protects me (Psalm 62)
His peace will guard my heart and mind when I come to Him (Phil. 4:8)
His word enables me to dwell safely and be secure, without fear (Proverbs 1:33)
He draws near and tells me not to fear (Lamentations 3:57-58)
He is a God that delivers me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4)
He is a God of peace, not confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33)
He is a God of all comfort - who comforts me in my tribulation (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)