Anxiety, Prayer and ThanksgivingAnxiety is a pernicious enemy. It wages a war of attrition on our hearts and souls. It starts out as a niggle, becomes like the nagging pain of a splinter in our finger, then we become like a dog with a bone - we gnaw at it endlessly and if we do bury it, we just dig it up again. Eventually anxiety relentlessly occupies our mind, slowly releasing the fight/flight chemicals in our bodies - not enough to make us fight or flight - but enough to jangle our nervous systems, disturb our sleep and wear us down. Left unchecked, anxiety can make us sick in body and in soul.
Paul urges us to fight against this kind of anxiety. His solution is to encourage us to live a life of prayerfulness - that we bring everything to God. This doesn't mean hours on our knees (although some time on our knees is good for all of us) but rather that we are in a constant conversation with God, bringing Him our day's events and their impact on us to Him. It's about a constant reliance on God, learning to "do life" with Him instead of trying to do it on our own.
A vital component of this prayer-full life is thanksgiving. When we learn to treat God, not only as a fire-extinguisher and problem-solver, but as a partner with Whom we share our joys and sorrows then we grow in the security and comfort of knowing that we are not alone. Thanks-giving reminds us of God's goodness and our status as the beloved ones on whom He pours out blessings.
One of anxiety's main strategies is to isolate and alienate us. Anxiety wants us to believe that "No-one knows what I'm going through, no-one understands, no-one can help me." When we walk through our lives consciously acknowledging God's presence and love, then we affirm that we are not alone and that there are blessings in spite of our troubles.
And then peace that transcends understanding will trounce the power of anxiety in us.
|Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians4:6-7)|