(Editor's Note: We are pleased to have C. Michael Patton join our blog again today in two articles to discuss the issues we face as Christians when anxiety rears its ugly head (and it most definitely will).
Reprinted with permission: In the journey of faith, we may often wonder why stress and worry persist despite our belief in Christ. This is me nearly every day. Not only that, but the guilt of having been a Christian for so long and often times feeling more anxious than I ever was before adds to the overwhelming sense of failure.
It is important to realize that being a believer does not automatically erase these emotions from our lives. However, our faith grants us something invaluable: a real source of strength and guidance. While those without God must bear their stress and worry alone, we have the privilege of taking our burdens to Someone who loves us unconditionally and is in command. Let us explore how our faith empowers us to cast our anxieties upon Him and find encouragement in His Word.
1. Embracing the Reality of Stress and Worry:
As believers, it is essential to recognize that stress and worry are natural human responses to the challenges of life. Our faith does not exempt us from these emotions, but it provides us with a perspective that enables us to face them with hope. By acknowledging their presence, we can seek healthy ways to address and manage them.
2. Surrendering to God's Loving Care:
One of the greatest blessings of faith is the opportunity to surrender our anxieties to a higher power. We can find solace in the knowledge that God cares deeply for us and desires to bear our burdens. When we cast our worries upon Him, we acknowledge His sovereignty and trust in His unfailing love. This act of surrender allows us to experience a sense of relief and freedom, knowing that we are not alone in our struggles.
3. Finding Strength in God's Promises:
Throughout the Bible, we discover numerous promises from God that assure us of His presence and provision in times of stress and worry. Scriptures such as 1 Peter 5:7 remind us to "cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." These promises serve as a beacon of hope, reminding us that God is actively involved in our lives and has the power to carry us through every difficulty. By meditating on these promises, we can find strength and courage to face our worries with confidence.
4. Seeking Support and Encouragement:
While our faith journey is personal, we are not meant to navigate stress and worry alone. God has designed us for community, and our fellow believers can provide invaluable support and encouragement. Engaging in open and honest conversations, joining prayer groups, and seeking counsel from trusted mentors can help us find solace and guidance. Together, we can remind one another of God's faithfulness and provide a listening ear during challenging times.
5. Cultivating a Life of Prayer and Trust:
To effectively manage stress and worry, we must cultivate a lifestyle of prayer and trust. Regular communication with God through prayer allows us to pour out our concerns, fears, and anxieties before Him. Through prayer, we invite His wisdom, peace, and guidance into our lives. Additionally, as we deepen our trust in God's character and His promises, we can release our worries into His capable hands, knowing that He is working all things for our ultimate good.
Being a believer does not exempt us from stress and worry, but it empowers us to face them with hope and confidence. Our faith provides us with a safe haven where we can cast our anxieties upon a loving and sovereign God. As we embrace the reality of stress and surrender our worries to Him, we find strength in His promises and support within our faith communities. Let us continue to cultivate a life of prayer, trust, and reliance on God, knowing that He cares for us deeply and is always ready to bear our burdens.
I no longer want to live in fear of the day. Why do I experience such anxiety in the morning, dreading my problems, hating myself, and burdened with guilt for feeling anxious, only to gain confidence later in the day?
Anxiety seems to control my life, dictating my actions and emotions.
God doesn't miraculously take this anxiety away from me. Despite being a Christian for over 40 years, my natural state has only worsened with increasing responsibilities, expectations, liabilities, failures, and debts. He doesn't automatically remove the emotions or solve the problems that trigger them.
However, He does provide me with a place to unload and leave them behind. As I've grown older, I've had to learn how to surrender them at His feet. In my younger years, I used to look down upon people who struggled with such fits, thinking I was a better Christian. But now, I'm undergoing a new learning experience that isn't easy. Typically, I set my worries down only to pick them up again and again, sometimes 10 or 20 times, before finally being forced to let them go.
Every morning, I have to remind myself of this lesson, but at least I have a refuge to turn to and promises that, when I'm at my best (although I'm not always there), I truly believe in.
Psalm 55:22 (NIV): "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken."
Notice: it is only when you “cast”/throw/release/delegate/yield/abandon your cares at his feet that you will not be shaken. Otherwise, we are all just scared little sheep, observing the hillside looking for all the wolves.
Michael Patton, Contributor
C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere.
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