Adios to Angst and Anxiety!
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Angst is a deep feeling of anxiety, dread, insecurity, or apprehension. Angst comes from an Indo-European root word that means “anguish, anxiety, or anger.” Angst differs slightly from true anxiety in that, while anxiety is active, angst is passive. Anxiety is fear about a certain event, but angst is a sense of underlying dissatisfaction without specific cause.
Some seasons of life produce apprehension that, if not dealt with properly, can create angst. Geographical moves, an upcoming job change, or the teenage years are often seasons in which we can develop angst. The decisions of national leaders can stir unrest in the citizenry during war times or economic crises. Rather than allow those events to create angst, the Bible invites us to cast all our care upon the Lord, because He cares for us.1 We are not scolded for our fear but urged to choose a better option than angst. Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The book of Psalms gives us many examples of situations that could produce angst, but the psalmists continued writing until they found a solution. Psalm 42, for example, expresses the fear, apprehension, and anxiety we often feel, but it intersperses those heartfelt cries with hope, such as in verse 5: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
For citizens of heaven, life in this broken world can be overwhelming. We don’t fit in here. We don’t like or agree with much of what the world celebrates, and that feeling that we are “not home yet” can create angst. When we allow ourselves to be emotionally embroiled in ongoing conflict and fruitless debate, we can develop angst without realizing what it is.2
Christians who struggle with feelings of angst should ask God to develop the fruit of the Spirit, joy, in their lives3; find their satisfaction in Christ4; and choose the path of blessedness.5 We are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”6 Jesus promised to give us His peace, saying, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”7,8
We can count on the Lord to provide for our needs, protect us from evil, guide us, and keep our souls secure for eternity. We may not be able to prevent anxious thoughts from entering our minds, but we can practice the right response.9
In 1 Peter 5:7, we are instructed to “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” God does not want us to carry around the weight of problems and burdens. In this verse, God is telling us to give Him all of our worries and concerns. Why does God want to take on our problems? The Bible says it is because He cares for us. God is concerned about everything that happens to us. No worry is too big or too small for His attention.
Of course, for those who do not know the Savior, worry and anxiety will be part of life. But to those who have given their lives to Him, Jesus promised, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”10—From gotquestions.org11
[Jesus] says to everyone who believes in him, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life.”12 Jesus—and all the promises that are now Yes in him13—is the antidote to anxiety. What he accomplishes for us and promises to us is the ultimate triumph over all that terrifies us. He does not promise us escape from misery in this world. He promises that he will redeem every misery,14 and that in him we will overcome the worst the world can do to us.15
In Christ, everything is going to be ultimately, gloriously, eternally, inexpressibly, wonderfully okay. Therefore, Jesus says to you and me, right now, right where we’re at, “Do not be anxious.” He says this knowing our past, our temperament, the seriousness of our current crises, and how intense we fear the possible dread may become reality…
Of course, the command to not be anxious is humanly impossible. But as with nearly every other command for the Christian, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”16
The only way we can fulfill this command is “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,” making our requests known to God, trusting a specific promise. Then his peace, surpassing all our understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ.17 We cast our anxieties on God,18 and cease to be anxious in the strength he supplies.19—Jon Bloom20
Why endure another sleepless night? Why suffer from anxiety when you can give your cares to Me and I can give you peace of mind? Even in the bleakest circumstances, I can give you amazing peace that will relieve the mental and physical stress caused by worry and fear.
My peace comes to your heart when you turn your eyes from your troubles and toward Me. Stop worrying and think about Me. Find one thing to thank Me for—one special thing that I have done for you in the past—and praise Me for that. Or think of the worst thing that’s ever happened to you and the fact that you’re still here, and turn that thought into a prayer of thanksgiving. Even if you didn’t pray at the time, even if you didn’t yet know Me at the time, it was I who brought you through that situation. I’ve been watching over you your whole life, and I have either helped you through or spared you from more troubles than you can imagine—just like I’m going to help you through your present problems.
The more you praise Me, the more My peace will fill your heart.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
Every day there is much to be thankful for. There is also much to keep one feeling anxious and worried. Yet God calls you to live in thanksgiving and in peace. Worry only gives way to fear, and fear will displace your faith, causing anxiety to grow. God tells us to let faith take the upper hand and cover over the fear that tries to slip in and rob you of peace. Let the truth of His Word change your anxious heart and mind and let worry be your call to prayer.
Dear God, fill my heart and mind with the recollection of all that I have to say “thank you” for. Thank You that as I take responsibility for guarding my heart and bringing my fears to You, YOU also guard my heart and mind with Your amazing peace. What a wonderful exchange! Today I turn my worried anxious thoughts over to You and ask You to preside over the details of my life. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.—Gail Rodgers21
Published on Anchor March 2020. Read by Jon Marc. Music by John Listen.
1 1 Peter 5:7.
2 Titus 3:9; 2 Timothy 2:14.
3 Galatians 5:22.
4 Psalm 103:1–5.
5 Matthew 5:3–12.
6 Romans 8:37.
7 John 16:33.
10 Matthew 11:28–30.
12 Luke 12:22.
13 2 Corinthians 1:20.
14 Romans 8:28.
15 John 16:33; Romans 8:35–39.
16 Mark 10:27.
17 Philippians 4:6–7.
18 1 Peter 5:7.
19 1 Peter 4:11.