Anxiety is a type of fear. Future possibilities of undesirable circumstances cause emotional and physiological responses. Anxiety producing events can be news of health challenges, possible housing changes, narrowing economic opportunities when debt arises or jobs fail, increasing relational distress among family, friends or colleagues. Racing thoughts. “What if”s.
I know what it feels like to be anxious – ex. heart rate goes up and I talk too much or too soon. I know what it feels like to have God’s peace – ex. heart rate goes down, I listen patiently and speak wisely. I prefer the later, but I learn the hard way. I know how to worry myself sick. I experienced ‘panic attacks’ in the past. I know more now about how to practice the peace of God. I have have had ‘waves of peace’ in the past and present.
Here are some principles and passages that make a difference for me, if or when I practice them in my faith life. I hope they help you and yours to secure a state of God’s peace next time anxiety flares up. Here is some perspective.
6 Leadership Lessons on securing God’s peace during my anxious moods:
1. Working definition of “God’s Peace” is a state of wholeness and rest resulting from an active trust in the character of the Triune God revealed in the Bible.
2 Turning my “problem list” into a “prayer list” helps.
3. Working on God’s priorities for today always beats worrying about my problems with tomorrow.
4. God’s Peace is the presence of the Lord, not simply the absence of distress. ex – Loving Enemies.
5. If anxiety is a fruit of fear, then peace is a fruit of faith.
6. Personal preparation is the key to performance in the moment.
*Read the points underneath the passages for additional detailed.
Here are 4 Bible passages that have helped me experience the secure Peace of God in place of anxious, fearful and low-faith times.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Next time you get anxious, I hope you experience God’s peace. Try these ideas for practicing faith in Jesus:
1. Praying your problems to your Provider of Peace (Phil 4:7-8 & Matt 6). Make a list of your worries and petition God for help!
2. Practice the Father God’s Kingdom principles in the present (Phil 4:6 & Matt 6:33-34). Do what he asks today!
3. Ponder the pleasant and positive things of God (Phil 4:8, Matthew 6:26-32b). Mediate on special/Biblical and general/natural revelation!
4. Pick “Peace of God” people to imitate (Phil 4:9). Interview or read biographies of peace who show peace with God!
Here is a special resource for Pastors like me:
“Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What” by Peter L. Steinke