Click here for the audio version: Avoiding the Anxiety Trap
There is a lot happening all at once in my life right now. We are packing to move to another state while choreographing the delicate dance of turning off utilities at one location and turning them on in another without being caught in between as we schedule moving vehicles for what is sure to be an exciting 7 hour drive with our dog, “sir barksalot” not to mention, although I am mentioning it, closing on the sale of our home and preparing for the beginning of a new chapter in our story with some details yet to be revealed to us. Sounds like a recipe for anxiety to me. However, it has been “relatively” stress free. Don’t get me wrong, there have been moments of stress bordering on panic, but they were just that – moments. We have not become trapped in the place of worry and anxiety. The anxiety trap is a place many of us know all too well. Some of us are more prone to anxiety than others, but we are all guilty of it. Stress and worry are common to us all, but we can avoid being caught in the trap of fretful living. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”(NLT) This echoes Jesus in Matthew 6 where He tells His disciples that worry cannot change their circumstances, but seeking God first can and will.
So, how do we avoid the “Anxiety Trap”? First, before you panic – pray. This is the honest pouring out of your heart to Him regarding your understanding of your needs. Take your worries and upload them in His presence. The key is to not keep them on the hard drive of our minds. Recalling all He has done, rehearsing His faithfulness in the past and expressing gratefulness to Him in the present will enable us to leave our worries where they belong – with Him. Second, when you pray – receive. This is where we trust God’s heart for us and actually receive or allow Him to download peace in the place of worry. His peace exceeds and does not depend on our ability to understand it with our minds. It can literally bypass our understanding and guard our hearts and minds from the damage of living in the “Anxiety Trap”. Learning to upload worry and download peace is life changing! It frees us from the trap of anxious living and it brings back the joy of knowing that we are not alone on the journey. He knows our needs and He cares for us.