|“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…” Matthew 6:25 It can feel like telling somebody not to be anxious can make them feel anxious about their anxiety. Anxiety and fear are powerful forces in our lives and world. Several years back, I went through a period of anxiety. The best way I can describe it was it had a mind of its own. I could be doing just fine, and this wave of irrational fear would sweep over me. My chest would tighten, my heart would pound, fears would fill my mind causing it to race. It often set in at night, right when I was trying to go to sleep. A racing heart and fearful thoughts do not make for restful sleep. Had someone come to me during that time and said, hey, just don’t be anxious, it would not have made a difference. There was nothing I was intentionally doing to be anxious. Trying to not be anxious only made it worse. So, what do we do? Scripture has our answer as always. 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 4:5b-7. The first line is that God is at hand, he’s right there. You are not in this alone, He’s with you. All those fears can be immediately turned into prayer, ask for His help. It says to do it with thanksgiving, taking time to focus on all the gifts and blessings that God has put into your life. This gets our minds and thoughts off all the things we are worried about and focuses it on the good things God has done. The result is that God sends a peace that doesn’t even make sense. The first step in combating anxiety is to take everything to prayer to the God who is right there. Another scripture that was powerful in getting me through anxiety is Psalm 27:1-3. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. This passage focuses on “though.” If the terrible thing we are fearing happens, even though, I’ll be okay. Why? Because God is your light and salvation. He’s the stronghold of your life. Should the worst happen, that doesn’t change that God is still on the throne, He’s still in control, and He’s got you. When we come to death, we go home to Him. We lose nothing. For your prayers today, take all your anxieties to him. Name them, write out the things that you fear, the thoughts that race. Ask for God’s help. Then pray them back to God like the Psalm, “though ___________ should happen, I will not fear”. Giving God the worst of your fears drains their power, and places your trust squarely back on Him, who will come through.