How Jesus Can Help You Overcome Anxiety in This New Year
Carrie Dedrick What topic related to Christianity, faith, and the Bible is trending online and in social media today?
- Updated Jan 06, 2017
Christmas is over; all 12 days have come and gone. Stores have changed their displays to Valentine’s Day cards and candy, and commuters have long since filled the roads by returning to work. The slowdown of the holidays is over and the world seems to have returned to its normal speed.
The multicolored lights are still twinkling at my house, but we’re expecting snow tonight, so even they may need to come down to preserve them for future Christmases.
It’s a time where many of us feel sadness, worry, and anxiety over what will come next.
Bonnie Gray writes for (in)courage that January is a hard month for our hearts. After pushing our worries aside to celebrate Christmas, they rise to the top again when the holidays are over.
“Anxiety happens when we can’t move in the direction of how we feel inspired or prompted by God to live. Anxiety happens when we want to do something or say something — if we have needs — but we aren’t able to speak, take action, or express ourselves honestly with the truth of how we feel,” Gray says.
“There is a disconnect between what is happening inside us and what we are or not able to do or say. Fears or uncertainty overwhelm us.”
But in the midst of this uncertainty, there is good news.
“Anxiety is a doorway through which your loving Savior can enter into the most vulnerable places of your heart, to wrap His arms around you and tenderly say: You have what it takes for the journey ahead. A sunrise for new beginnings, stars to light the night, friends to share the quiet. You are My beloved. You have Me,” Gray writes.
How do we get to that place where we can meet Jesus in our anxiety? Gray suggests three easy steps that will soothe our souls in this new year.
1. Meet with Jesus through a friend sitting across the table from you.
You might not think talking to a friend over coffee will help calm your anxiety, especially if you’d rather stay in bed and wallow in self-pity. But allow someone else to help you. Talk, cry, and pray for one another.
Gray writes, “Notice how you feel better after talking to someone about your troubles — even if the problem hasn’t been fixed?”
“Carry each other’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2)
2. Take a walk outside today and let God touch you.
Walking in God’s creation is another small way to make a big impact on your anxiety. Take in your surroundings that God so lovingly bestowed upon us. Soak in His presence as you feel that precious earth beneath your feet.
“Studies show that just 10 minutes can refresh and help with anxiety — depression in school, work, and everyday life,” Gray says.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to Me. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
3. Write a letter to Jesus. Confide in the One who calls you beloved.
Put pen to paper and express how you’re feeling in words. If writing is not one of your strong points, don’t worry. Try making lists of what is on your mind — your worries, your fears, your hopes, and your praises.
Gray writes, “Research shows just 15 minutes of expressive writing makes a difference, leading to behavioral changes and improving happiness.”
“For the word of God is living and active... It penetrates dividing soul and spirit.” (Hebrews 4:11–12).
This time of year can be a time of soul cleansing, if only you allow Jesus in it.
Gray says, “Anxiety may be your heart’s whisper but Jesus hears you. He understands you. Anxiety is not the end of your story. Jesus steps closer to whisper to you in return —
“I am making all things new — in you. (inspired by Revelation 21:5)”
As with many kinds of new beginnings, the first step to releasing your anxiety is to pray. Crosswalk.com contributor Kelly O’Dell Stanley offers this prayer in her article “6 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues” and I’d like to share it with you now, in hopes that it brings you peace and quiets your anxious soul.
“Dear Lord, I need Your help. There are bigger and more critical needs out there, but in order for me to play the role you’ve given me, I need to be emotionally healthy. Thank You for the people who love me, who make me feel better just by being with me. Help me find time to be with those who make my soul sing, and thank you for the healing and enjoyment that brings. Give me wisdom about what I consume mentally and emotionally, and help me make wise choices for my health. Help me let go of the physical and mental clutter that drags me down, and help me to delight in the little things and find joy in the things that I do. But don’t stop there. Show me where else I can help bring joy—point me towards people whose lives I can improve in any small way. Use me, Lord, because that’s often where I find fulfillment, when I’m living out Your purposes. And through it all, help me to see You, to turn to You, to lean on You, and to give thanks to You. Because You are the giver of life, the hope of eternity, and the author of joy. Amen.”
Carrie Dedrick is an editor of Crosswalk.com. When she is not writing or editing, she can usually be found teaching dance classes, running marathons, or reading with at least one adopted dog on her lap.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 6, 2017