Finding peace in the midst of life’s storms can be challenging, but God has given us at least 5 tools we need to help handle our anxiety. They include turning to God in prayer, reading the Bible, seeking fellowship with others, practicing stewardship, and trusting in God’s plan. Let’s discuss each spiritual discipline in detail.
Turning to God in Prayer
First, turning to God in prayer is crucial to alleviating our anxiety. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who personifies the tough-guy image, is one of the first people to admit how he has found relief from his anxiety through prayer and meditation.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he said, “I meditate every day, and I also pray. I do find a lot of peace in prayer. It helps me to feel grounded and centered.” This quote resonates with Philippians 4:6-7 – “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.”
While Johnson may not be the first person that comes to mind when thinking about prayer and faith, his story is a reminder that anxiety can affect anyone, regardless of their background or profession, and that there are many different tools and techniques for managing anxiety and finding peace.
Turning to God in prayer can be important in alleviating anxiety for several reasons. As we can see from “The Rock” a very strong man, he too needs to surrender control. By turning to God, he is acknowledging his limitations and relying on the Creator’s perfect plan and sovereignty. Psalm 55:22 tells us to “Cast our cares on the Lord and He will sustain us; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Additionally, The Rock said prayer helps him to feel grounded and centered. This allows an individual to find perspective from a Christian vantage point. When we focus on God’s goodness and faithfulness, we can remember that our problems are temporary and that God is with us all the time. He is the solid rock that keeps us grounded. Isaiah 41:10 say, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Finally, prayer is communicating with God. It naturally builds trust and resilence. When we turn to God in prayer during times of anxiety, we are building our trust in Him and developing resilence in the face of adversity. This gives us the confidence to weather any storm or difficulty that arises in our lives. Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us to trust in God completely:”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Reading the Bible
Reading God’s Word is a crucial spiritual discipline we must practice in order to handle the storms of life and defeat anxiety. There are several ways this can happen. First, reading Scripture provides perspective. When we focus on God’s truth, we can remember that our problems are temporary and that God is always with us. God’s word exclaims in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave us or forsake us.
When we study Scripture, it encourages our faith and reminds us of the hope we have in God. There are countless stories in the Bible of people who faced difficult circumstances. For example, Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers but became a powerful leader in Egypt. David overcame many trials to become a successful king. Job endured great suffering but remained faithful to God through it all. These stories from the Bible remind us of God’s power in overcoming great trials, which reduces our anxiety.
One example of a person who focused on God’s truth and found help in real life is Corrie ten Boom. Corrie was a Christian woman who lived in the Netherlands during World War II. She and her family hid Jews in their home to protect them from the Nazis. Eventually, Corrie and her family were caught and sent to a concentration camp.
While in the concentration camp, Corrie continued to hold onto her faith and trust in God’s promises. She focused on verses like Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Despite the terrible conditions of the camp, Corrie found ways to help others and share God’s love. She and her sister, Betsie, led Bible studies and prayer meetings in their barracks, and they even smuggled in a Bible.
After the war, Corrie was released from the concentration camp and returned home. She went on to share her story and her faith with people around the world, writing books and speaking at events. Corrie’s life is a powerful example of how focusing on God’s truth and promises can help us through even the darkest times.
Reading the infallible Word of God offers comfort and contains verses that can give us reassurance in times of anxiety. Here are at least ten Bible verses that can give us reassurance when we are stressed out.
“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.” – Philippians 4:6-7
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” – Psalm 56:3
“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?” – Psalm 27:1
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Psalm 118:6
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
When I first got saved, I evangelized quite a bit in the open square–such as downtown, near bars, restaurants, and big sporting events and rock concerts. Before I would prepare to preach in front of large crowds, I would oftentimes quote Joshua 1:9.
The reason is because many people would discourage me from teaching and even curse me out for telling them about Jesus. I had to constantly remind myself not to be discouraged and to trust that God has a reason for me being there to share God’s love. He affirmed that when a student we ministered to at a local university ended up joining our church and is currently pastoring to this day!
Finally, reading the Bible provides guidance and wisdom for how to live in a way that honors God. One example of how reading the Bible provides guidance and wisdom that honors God is the story of Tim Tebow, a former NFL quarterback and devout Christian.
During his football career, Tebow faced many challenges and criticisms, but he turned to the Bible for guidance and strength. He would often write Bible verses on his eye black and share his faith with fans and teammates.
In 2010, Tebow’s college team, the Florida Gators, was struggling in a game against the University of Georgia. Tebow gathered his teammates on the sidelines and read them a verse from Proverbs 27:17, which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” The team was inspired by the verse and went on to win the game. This shows you how Scripture can provide gudiance and wisdom that honors God.
So far, we have discussed how Christians can find peace in the midst of storms through turning to God in prayer and reading the Bible. In the next section, we will apply seeking fellowship with others as a way to reduce anxiety.
Seeking Fellowship with others
There are many ways that developing relationship with other like-minded believers will help reduce your anxiety. First, it can provide a sense of belonging which can eliminate feelings of isolation and loneliness that often breed anxiety.
Being part of a bible study, life group, or attending church with family and friends is crucial. Each week, I take our family to church, and when we fail to do so, it breeds anxiety and loneliness that is not healthy for the spiritual vitality of our family. The Bible verse that exhorts us to not neglect fellowship is found in Hebrews 10:24-25, which says:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
This verse highlights the importance of fellowship and encourages believers to continue gathering together to support, encourage, and hold one another accountable in their faith journey. By doing so, believers can build strong relationships with one another and deepen their connection with God, which can help alleviate feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety.
Moreover, seeking fellowship with others cultivates a healthy environment where others can share similiar experiences and struggles. In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, participants with social anxiety disorder attended group therapy sessions and were asked to share their experiences and feelings with the other members of the group. Through this process, participants were able to connect with others who were going through similar struggles and were able to provide each other with emotional support and encouragement.
The study found that group therapy was effective in reducing symptoms of social anxiety disorder and improving overall mental health. Participants reported feeling less alone and isolated in their struggles, and were able to learn new coping skills and strategies from each other (Hope, D. A., Heimberg, R. G., & Turk, C. L. (2010). Managing social anxiety: A cognitive-behavioral therapy approach (Client workbook). New York: Oxford University Press).
Furthermore, having fellowship in the church promotes accountability in areas such as prayer, Bible study, and living out one’s faith in practical ways. Most recently, I spoke with a neighbor who wants to start up a men’s Bible study for our community. This is exciting news and has helped reduce my anxiety because now I know there are other like-minded believers who live nearby and are able to counsel me in the oracles of God.
Finally, being in communion with Christians can provide opportunities for service and outreach. When you are serving other, it can shift your focus away from one’s own anxiety and onto the needs of others. This helps bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
After the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, American actor Sean Penn founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization to provide humanitarian aid and support to the country.
Penn had initially traveled to Haiti to provide aid in the aftermath of the earthquake, but he quickly realized that the need was ongoing and that there was a great opportunity to create a sustainable program that would help rebuild the country and provide hope for its people.
Through his work, Penn found a sense of purpose and meaning that helped to reduce his own anxiety and depression. He has spoken publicly about the impact that his work in Haiti has had on his mental health, saying that “doing something is better than sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself.” This is a prime example of why Jesus told us to love our neighbors and serve others in humility.
To recap, we have been discussing how to find peace in the midst of life’s storms through five spiritual disciplines. The first discipline I wrote about was turning to God in prayer. Then, I elaborated on the importance of reading the Bible. Third, we discussed how to seek fellowship with others. The final two spiritual practices to learn about are practicing stewardship and trusting in God’s plan.
Stewardship is a command that God gave Adam and Eve when they were in the garden. He told them to take care of the animals and to be fruitful and multiply. When we heed to what God says, by responsibly managing what God has entrusted to us, it can help alleviate anxiety and provide a sense of purpose. Additionally, when we practice stewardship well and take care of our family, finances, and health, it allows for a sense of control and empowerment that combats anxiety since that stems from feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness.
There are many examples of stewardship from the Bible. Moses was chosen by God to guide the Israelite people from Egypt to the promised land. Jesus of course taught many lessons on stewardship, such as the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25, in which he encouraged his followers to use their gifts and resources for the glory of God. Furthermore, the apostle Paul was a good example of a missionary who used his talents of teaching and preaching, traveling extensively throughout the world.
There are several reasons why we should be good stewards of our resources. First, as humans created in the image of God, we have the responsibility to take care of the planet. When God told us to name the animals, it wasn’t to take advantage of them, but to care and tend for them. Secondly, good stewardship helps ensure the long term sustainability of our resources. When we invest in others, such as future generations, we are being good stewards. Third, financial stability is vital. Managing our finances wisely can avoid debt, which in return, can avoid anxious thoughts about money. Overall, being a good steward of our resources is about taking responsibility for our actions, making ethical choices, and contributing to a sustainable and just world.
Trusting in God’s Plan
Trusting in God’s plan can help take away anxiety by creating comfort and reassurance that God has everything under control, even when our circumstances seem too grave or difficult to overcome. When we trust God is working out all things together for our God, we are acknowledging He is at work and control of everything. This can reduce our anxiety and bring comfort because it relieves us of the burden of trying to control all aspects of our lives.
Furthermore, trusting God’s plan can provide a sense of purpose and meaning. When we have faith that everything happens for a reason, we can be confident that God is with us every step of the way. Our difficulties do not happen by blind chance, but are orchestrated by God’s divine plan. This can help us feel less anxious about the future because we know God is in control. Lastly, trusting in God’s plan can help us let go of worry because we are not alone. Therefore, trusting in God’s plan can help alleviate anxiety by providing comfort, purpose, and reassurance in the midst of difficulty.
One example of how trusting God’s plan can help alleviate anxiety is illustrated in a study published in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity. The study explored the relationship between religious beliefs and anxiety levels among adults.
The findings showed that individuals who had a strong belief in God’s control over their lives and trusted in His plan had lower levels of anxiety compared to those who did not have such beliefs. The researchers concluded that trusting in God’s plan can be an effective coping strategy for managing anxiety and stress.
For instance, a person who is struggling with a difficult situation, such as a job loss or a health crisis, may feel anxious and overwhelmed by the uncertainty of the future. However, if they have a strong faith and trust in God’s plan, they may find comfort in the belief that God has a purpose and a plan for their life, and that everything will work out according to His will (Szafranski, D. D., & Pargament, K. I. (2011). Religious coping and psychological distress in a religious Jewish community. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 30(4), 301-309).
In conclusion, finding peace in the midst of life’s storms is possible through a variety of means that draw us closer to God. Prayer, reading the Bible, seeking fellowship with others, practicing stewardship, and trusting in God’s plan are all powerful ways to experience God’s presence and find comfort and strength in difficult times. By turning to God and relying on these spiritual practices, we can cultivate a deeper sense of peace and joy that transcends our circumstances and helps us to navigate the challenges of life with grace and resilience.
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