"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." -Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Wow, it feels good to read that verse. What a relief to hear that we don't have to worry and aren't bound to a life of anxiety arousing in our minds, our stomachs and even sometimes causing shortness of breath.
Yet, a few moments after reading those words of divine wisdom, we are struck with the reality of the statement.
There are REAL issues in our world today, both at large and in our very personal lives. Human nature is constantly knocking at our door, asking to come in (and sometimes intruding after we give a feeble no). "Do not be anxious about anything," what an extreme statement for Paul to make!!
How can we possibly NOT be anxious about anything? Maybe we confuse anxiousness with the admitting of problems and concerns. Or perhaps we are too quick in our processing of events and reactions to issues, that we skip the step of releasing our concerns to God and trusting in Him.
Now there is a big word - Trust. I once heard it said that when we choose to worry, we are telling God that we do not trust Him. Do we think that our worry will actually change the situation? That's a funny thought, because usually our worry freezes or paralyzes us instead of thrusting us into action.
Perhaps Paul was trying to help us with a solution to anxiety and worry, which I am sure he was also tempted with. "In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
1. In every situation: Admit what is before us, challenges and all
2. by prayer and petition: quickly turn back to God and communicate with Him instead of our own fleshly thoughts
3. with thanksgiving: there's no better way to cast out fear than remembering God's blessings
4. present your requests to God: stop thinking we have power to change the situation through anxiety and present the situation, challenges and our request to God.
5. When the worry returns, repeat steps 1-4
Lord, help us practice immediately releasing potentially worrisome situations to you instead of letting fear take root in our hearts!