Worry and I have developed quite the friendship over the years. In 2019, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a condition I had felt since middle school (when it developed), but never could name.
Since that time, I’ve been hearing more often that people my age and younger are suffering from anxiety. There’s an onslaught of worrisome thoughts, fears, that barrage the minds of young people with seemingly no end.
To make matters worse, the older generation can’t relate to the influx of anxiety. They don’t understand the idea of FOMO as that relates to social media, or how young people struggle to communicate in-person in an era dependent on technology.
What each of us do have in common is that we have all felt our share of worry. Whether we completely struggle with the feeling, or have a decent handle on the problem, the Bible grants us all great advice for dealing with an issue that has always existed within humanity.
Today you can kick the worry habit with these 5 powerful scriptures.
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1. Realize the Lord Is Your Shepherd (Psalm 23)
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
There’s something refreshing about knowing that God is with us during our lows and our highs throughout life. God blesses us with seasons of green pastures and quiet waters. And when the rough patches come, those dark valleys, God is with us then, too.
Worry can make a good season appear bad, and can make a bad season worse. What we believe in our minds will definitely shape our reality.
Thankfully, God promises to renew our lives. When overcome with worry, I count on God renewing my perspective to give me a stronger and healthier mind.
Whenever worry threatens to overtake your mind, know that you can lean on God always.
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2. Anticipate His Plans for You (Jeremiah 29:11-12)
‘For I know the plans I have for you’—this is the Lord’s declaration—'plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.’ – Jeremiah 29:11-12
God doesn’t just promise a future, he promises a hope. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word future coupled with hope, I get the impression that God wants to do great feats with my life.
When our minds yield to worry, we forget how to hope. Worry doesn’t encourage hope, worry creates despair.
And despair is a lack of hope.
So, let’s hold on to hope. Be encouraged knowing that God hears those who come to him in prayer. When you convert your worrisome thoughts into prayers, you can be confident that God hears you. He listens.
3. Don’t Worry About Anything (Phil. 4:6)
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
Don’t worry about what? Anything? How can we not worry about our finances, jobs, friendships, partners, family members, pets, cars, clothing, food, homes...and the list goes on and on.
The Word says anything.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but through God anything is possible (Matthew 19:26).
This verse is a constant reminder to me that if I am worried about something, then bring that something to God. And as I pray, I should supplement my prayer with healthy actions and plenty of gratitude. God will help in our battle with worry, but we have to do some of the work, too!
And we should thank him for all he does on our behalf.
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4. Realize God Has Not Given You a Spirit of Fear (2 Timothy 1:7)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – 2 Timothy 1:7
What a great reminder that God does not want us to be stuck in worry. Those nagging thoughts are not God’s gift to us.
The more we feel connected to God, the more we will feel power, love, and sound judgment. The further away we are, the higher our anxieties.
We have to choose continually whether we want to hold on to God...or on to our worries. We will always have to choose. But thank God, this choice is fairly easy to make (although hard and worthwhile work to uphold).
5. Consider the Birds (Matthew 6:26)
Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? – Matthew 6:26
This is by far my favorite verse in scripture. A friend of mine (who doesn’t suffer from anxiety) mentioned that animals live on instinct. They don’t worry about where they will find food and shelter, they just act.
Think about this, animals hunt daily for their next meal. Daily. Animals are always on the lookout for predators, but they are living by instinct, not worry.
Knowing that God takes care of every animal, from the eagle to the roach, makes me think that God is looking out for all of his creations, including you and me, and all the loved ones and others we tend to worry about.
When life gets rough, and it will, I know that God is still in control, the same way he is for the animals. And he cares about each of us much more.
This applies to you and whatever ordeal you are facing now or later. God knows. God cares. If he is taking care of that bird that lives in the tree outside your home, every single day, why would he not take care of you?
Maybe he doesn’t act when we want, or how, but act he will.
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Can I Live without Worry?
That’s a question I came to ask myself regarding my disorder. Can I live without certain fears in my life? I don’t have an exact answer for you. Jesus foretold that we would have trouble in the world (John 16:33).
Each of Scriptures in this article have aided me in my journey to recovery. Whether you have a disorder or just worries that happen here and there, please rely on the Lord to take care of you. Remember, Jesus asked: who could add a cubit to his stature by worrying? (Matthew 6:27)
You will find something to worry about eventually, but you don’t have to sit with your worrisome thoughts. Give those fears to God in prayer. Act against your fears.
I’ve never gained anything good from my anxiety. Chances are you won’t, either. And most often (99% of the time) those anxious thoughts are not true.
Once you give the fears to God, watch your life improve as you stop dwelling on what if, and start living in what is.
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