The Peace Of God In The Midst Of Anxiety
And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In Philippians 4, the apostle Paul gives exhortations to the church. He encourages them to stand fast and to have peace and joy in all circumstances, an exhortation that remains relevant for us as believers today.
But what about when we are faced with very real and, sometimes, debilitating anxiety? How do we stand fast to God’s peace and continue to rejoice when an anxiety attack urges us to take flight? These are two questions I’ve asked myself and am still pursuing day-to-day.
An Invitation to Surrender
A few years ago, I moved to England to work with a Christian ministry. I had the next three to five years planned out and told God I was “all in.” Just a few months after moving, I started to realize that my five year plan wasn’t what God had planned for me. It was a huge blow to my ego. After that, the twists and turns of my mental health journey started playing a more prominent role in my life. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and moderate depression. It was a double whammy to my already “just fix it, just be better” mentality.
Anyone else a recovering perfectionist? Or as Dr. Brene Brown says it best, “I’m a recovering perfectionist and an aspiring ‘good enoughist.’”
Praise my Heavenly Father that he wouldn’t allow these two new labels to become my sole identity. Labels are for jars, not people. Instead, the Lord invited me on a journey of surrender. A journey that brings us back to what Paul was writing to the Philippians.
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.
There’s so much goodness in this short passage. Here’s a few key takeaways that immediately caught my eye:
Paul calls the Church to rejoice in the Lord always. If anyone knew hardships throughout their life, Paul was definitely one of them (2 Corinthians 1:8-9); yet, he lived a life of continuous surrender to the Lord which led him to be content no matter the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12).
I wish I had a solution that I could tell you to make all the anxiety go away for good. What I can tell you is that you’re not alone. Just like me—and no matter what your journey with anxiety looks like—God offers an invitation for us to surrender, to let go and lean in to Him. Let’s continue to encourage each other the way Paul encourages the Church and hold fast to our Abba Father’s promises.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Have you surrendered your anxiety and worry to the Lord?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley’s passion is helping women stand firm in their faith. As a type 4w5 on the Enneagram, she enjoys writing as a way to dig deeper into God’s Word and encourage others through all seasons of life. Ashley currently lives in Charlotte, NC - the Queen City! She works as the marketing director for a law firm and side hustles as a class manager for SkillPop.