6 Steps to Surrendering Anxiety

 

I leaned back in the padded booth and listened to my friend pour out her heart. Between the sounds of barista calls and tea kettles whistles, I could hear hurt, anger, and a bit of wounded pride.

But the one feeling that flavored every word she spoke was anxiety.

Anxiety because something uncomfortable had happened in her life. Anxiety because the situation had not been resolved. Anxiety because she was worried about possible future complications.

I set my coffee down. “Have you prayed about this?”

She stared at me for a moment before she answered. “No. Should I have?”

Her situation wasn’t what we’d call a ‘big’ deal. It wasn’t something anyone would run to put on the church’s prayer list. It was easy to see why praying about it would slip the mind.

What does Paul have to say about this?

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, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

The word Paul uses here for anxious is merimnaō. It means to be anxious, to be troubled with cares, and to seek to promote one’s interests.

Considering the fact that many believe the synoptic gospels were not written until after Paul’s letters, it’s interesting that Paul’s writing complements Jesus merimnaō teaching in Matthew 6:25-34 perfectly.

Neither Jesus nor Paul negate the fact that we worry. Anxiety happens. It will keep on happening until Jesus comes to get us. But, they both point us down a practical path of submission as we release our grasp on control and ask God to take over.

Surrendering Anxiety

1. ► Realize each day has its own problems to deal with. Don’t borrow from tomorrow. Face today’s worry and deal with it. (Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.—Matthew 6:34)

2. ► Agree with God that your internal/external hashing of the situation is useless. (Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?—Matthew 6:27)

3. ► Acknowledge God sees your circumstances. He isn’t surprised by your needs and he already has a plan in place to supply them. (So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.—Matthew 6:31-32)

4. ► Meditate on truths that are bigger than your situation. Jesus and Paul acknowledge we have needs, but they are saying, “Wait! Get your eyes off the problem. Think about this…” (Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?…And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?—Matthew 6:26 & 6:28-30 AND Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.—Philippians 4:8)

5. ► Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, BUT…” The conjunction shows that the prayer and petition precedes the ability to not be anxious. Don’t feel guilty for entering prayer anxious. Present the anxiety to God. Let him know what you need. Thank him for his help. (Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.—Philippians 4:6)

6. ► Let go and rest in God’s peace. (And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:7)

Things to Consider

Do you have a habit of worry or a habit of surrender?

Read the entire text of Matthew 6:25-34

Read a complementary version in Luke 12:22-34

Read the entire text of Philippians 4:6-8

*Written for Pierce Point Community Church blog. See original here.

22 thoughts on “6 Steps to Surrendering Anxiety”

  1. I’ve always loved that passage in Philippians 4, Stephanie. And I had to smile when you asked your friend if she had prayed about it. Sometimes prayer and the Lord are the last resort. But since God created us and is in full control, why not start with Him? 😉 Love this point, “Agree with God that your internal/external hashing of the situation is useless.” That sums it up in a nutshell.

    1. Too often it is my last resort! I’m learning every day to turn to him sooner. I’m praying that it will become a reflex instead of a habit.

  2. Trust in God and knowing His love for me has helped me during anxious times. With a medical diagnosis of anxiety and depression, God has sent doctors with wisdom on how to help me. I am thankful for God’s love and mercy.

    1. I think that there can be a stigma within the church when it comes to diagnoses of anxiety and depression. Do you know what really impacted me? When I realized that God sent Luke to travel with Paul. Why? I’m sure there were many reasons but one of them had to be because of all people, Paul would need a medical doctor to help take care of him. Sure, God could have supernaturally healed every ache and pain that Paul’s beatings and sicknesses brought, but obviously he didn’t. God sent Paul a doctor. Thank God for the advances of medicine.

  3. It amazes me how often I forget to turn the little problems that cause me anxiety over to God. I let them overwhelm sometimes to the point of desperation. Then I remember to pray about it and let God handle it. Thanks for the suggestion to do better

    1. Me too, Yvonne. I’m reminding myself. 🙂 A couple hours after I wrote this, I was walking through my bedroom upset about something and I had to stop and laugh at myself, remembering my own blog post.

  4. Thanks for such a great post on an issue that plagues MANY! Anxiety has been part of my life since I can remember. The Lord has been doing a mighty work over the past three years and anxiety no longer controls me. I had a habit of worry for almost four decades, but I’m learning to surrender every single day. Blessings to you!

    1. It does plague so many. And especially within the church it can be taboo to talk about. But, it wasn’t taboo for Jesus or Paul. So thankful they gave us these baby steps to take to walk into freedom. Blessings to you as well!

  5. Thank you so much for this reminder, Stephanie. When we think of it, worry really doesn’t do all that much to fix our situations. Only Jesus can. Blessings to you.

    1. So true. I think I heard a statistic once that only 3% of what we worry about ever actually happens. (Don’t take that stat to the bank:). But, point was, all it does is steal our peace. Blessings to you as well.

    1. Shanique,

      Thank God for these verses! The first time I realized these verses were more of a help to overcome anxiety than a command to not have anxiety, I felt so set free.

  6. You have no idea how much I needed to read this right now. In an hour I have to have a conversation with someone about a conflict she is having with myself and a few other friends, and I have been so anxious for days about it. Thank you for providing this truth and reminding me to set my eyes above this problem and rest in God.

    1. Emily,

      I’m praying that your conversation went as God planned and that both you and your friend are able to hear each other and rest in God. The area of friendship is definitely one I struggle with in giving my anxiety to God.

  7. Sometimes I worry, especially in the area of financial provision. When I catch myself starting to feel anxious, I quickly focus on Jesus and receive my supply from Him. He is our Provider!

    1. Money is a HUGE area of struggle for me. Yes! If we can catch ourselves (or listen when the Holy Spirit catches us) and refocus on Jesus!

  8. So beautiful and so needed Stephanie! I literally burst into tears reading it. I shoulder so many of my problems because I feel like God only needs to concern Himself with the “big” things – that things could be so much worse. Thanks you for releasing a burden I didn’t even know I was carrying.

    1. Brittany,

      I’m humbled to hear that and praying God continues to bring you peace and more freedom. I love that God cares about every little thing I care about, just because he cares for me. What an amazing God we serve.

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