Anxiety is described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. All people in some way deal with anxiety. For some, it is more severe than others. At the root of anxiety is the fear of the uncertainty and the unknown. Inside of the concept of uncertainty is the lack of control on behalf of the person dealing with anxiousness.
Paul writes on anxiety in Philippians 4:6-9 saying:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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.
I believe that in dealing with anxiety and stress, there are a few ideas that hold direct relation to the stress in our lives.
1. The thing you find the most joy in is often what you are most devoted to.
Meaning that what you are passionate about and what you care about will be what you spend the most time on. Our time and devotion will go towards school, jobs, family, relationships and etc. While these things are not bad, they often can be the things that we are most devoted to. Why do we devote time to these things? Because they directly affect US.
2. What you are most devoted to will be what you worry about.
How often have the things that you become involved with create stress in your life? I know for myself that I had had plenty of times when all my devotion and time was invested in numerous things that I had become stressed out and anxious about the outcomes of numerous things. Often what we are most devoted to will be the fuel to our stress and anxiety.
The reason I mention Joy and Devotion in relation to anxiety is that as we read these verses in Philippians 4:6-9 the first thing that Paul says is “Rejoice in the Lord, Again I say Rejoice.” So the question I raise is: If what we find the most joy in is usually what we are most devoted to what will our lives and our anxiety look like if our joy is shifted from ourselves to the Lord? I believe that we get to this place by using the instructions that Paul gives in being in prayer, in thanks, and thinking of the goodness and the mercy of Christ. I encourage you to read these verses in Philippians and take the time to think about the things that you are most devoted to and how they may be sources of stress in your life. When you begin to struggle with the need to satisfy your devotions remember these verses and this statement that I find helpful “Less Devotion to me is Greater Devotion to He.” Christ is worth your devotion. God saw loved you to send a Savior to you He deserves your full attention and full devotion. Look to finding full devotion and satisfaction in rejoicing in the Lord as a source of aid and healing to the stresses and anxieties of your life.