I’ve been a high stress person for basically all of my life. I’ve learned to channel my stress to healthy activities most of the time. But it’s a journey. I’ve battled anxiety off and on over the last couple of years. My anxiety/panic attacks started right after law school. Apparently, the doctors said that because I was now “only” working a 40 hour a week job, my body didn’t know what to do when it didn’t have anything to worry about. So it felt there must be SOMETHING wrong. Let’s worry about all of the things! While that kind of anxiety is mostly under control now, I still get panic attacks in certain situations. My biggest current battle is flying. I’m determined to get over my newly present fear of flying, so I’ve resolved to take 10 flights this year. This resolution has shown me how invaluable memorization and meditating on the Word really is.
If you get anxiety too, know that you’re not alone. Also know that there’s no shame in getting help. I see a counselor on a consistent basis, and I have a prescription for generic Xanax that I now take before boarding a plane (I take it with me everywhere, but that’s the only place I’ve panicked in a long time). There are useful medical resources to help with your anxiety, depression or other condition as well. For now, I wanted to share with you the 7 verses (and one bonus verse!) that I call on when I’m feeling anxious.
1. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 – I tell myself, especially when flying, “I am strong and courageous.”
2. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28
3. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 – You’ve probably heard verse 7 a lot, but I like the full context because it brings me back to thankfulness. Giving thanks in times of anxiety helps to ground me and take my mind off of the worry.
4. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 – Trust is my word for 2017. When I find myself in a moment of fear, anxiety or panic, I remind myself who I am trusting. I trust God to have the best in mind for me. I trust myself to be strong. I trust [insert appropriate situation here, lately it has been, “I trust this pilot to take us where we are supposed to go, and that my job is to read this book/watch this movie].
5. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalms 34:4
6. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34
This is a long one, but it’s worth meditating on or even trying to memorize. I find this verse most comforting when I’m wondering about the future or stressed about a change, versus some of the others that I call to mind while flying or in a situation of fear or sudden panic.
7. And lastly, when my brain won’t stop cycling through fears, stressors, worry or the symptoms of panic that I’m experiencing, this reminds me of other things to think about. – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
And one bonus verse that I’d never noticed before writing this post: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
Are there any particular verses that come to mind for you in your time of need?
PS. You may also be interested in this free (no e-mail required!) prayer list printable.