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. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Anxiety is a paralyzing emotion believed to be experienced by about forty million Americans, and women are twice as likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder than men are! That is not a Happy-I'm-A-Girl statistic! What in the world has us so worked up, ladies?
Part of the problem is that many who suffer anxiety don't even know what it is. They are like my friend Lori's four-year-old daughter. For years the family has been perplexed by Ella's clumsiness. But Ella has never complained or asked to see a doctor even though...unknown to all of them...she could not see well out of her left eye. Now, if you or I wake up tomorrow and cannot see out of left eye, we are going to make some noise! I am going to cancel my entire day's scheduled and get to the doctor. Right? But limited vision has been Ella's measure of normalcy from the start. She doesn't know any different.
How would a girl who has suffered from anxiety since birth (yes, babies can be anxious) know she feels differently from other people? Anxiety is easily misdiagnosed. It masquerades as racing heartbeats, frequent headaches, loss of sleep, fear of what others think of us, or just an unidentifiable feeling of dread. To be honest, anxiety is one of the most "normal" emotions a human being can encounter.
Will a Christian experience anxiety? This is a highly probable yes, but Paul gives us an answer to the racing heart, the fear, and the feelings of dread. "Pray about everything." You see, our all-powerful, generous-in-love God isn't far from each one of us. Our response to trails and fears ends up being a measure of our belief, or our trust, in God's ability and willingness to do for us exactly what he promised. Entertaining anxiety leads to sin in no time because it distracts us from trusting and being obedient to God.
Memorize Isaiah 26:3 to battle anxiety: "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" Use it in prayer.