In my sojourn through the Valley of Anxiety, I struggled through sleepless nights and shaky days, and regrets often surfaced. In late November, I wrote this prayer:
Dear Lord, You are God, the only God. You are the One who has ultimate control. I want to fit into Your plans, for they are good. You have always been faithful to me. Please forgive me for the times I’ve turned away and looked longingly at what I thought might have been or what used to be. Too often I’ve run after what looked good from a human perspective instead of trusting Your goodness. Please forgive and cleanse as you have promised (1 John 1:9).
2015 National Park in California
Lord Jesus, I remember Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”* And I feel so ashamed of the many times I’ve missed opportunities to do the good works prepared ahead of time for me to do. Lord God, please work in me according to Your promise in Philippians 2:13—“For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose.”* Then I can take advantage of the opportunities which You give me today instead of missing them and tomorrow wallowing in regret. Amen.
*Holman Christian Standard Bible
Reblogged August 14, 2019
God gave me “stepping stones” amid the muck of physical symptoms, doubts, and fears in Anxiety Valley. They didn’t make me feel any less anxious, but they helped me get through the days of struggle. Here are a few I wrote down:
- Psalm 116:1, 5, 7 (New Living Translation): “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.” “5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!” “7 Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.”
I will believe God’s love. Then my soul can rest because in believing I remember God’s goodness and His presence with me. I choose to believe Him instead of listening to the lying anxiety feelings.
Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).
- I love God. I want to love Him more. I want to grow in knowledge and discernment and depth of insight so I can know what is best and what really matters. (Philippians 1:9-10 “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return” New Living Translation.)
- Father, You have sent help. Praise music and Your Word offer comfort. You said that You will never fail or forsake me (Joshua 1:5 and Hebrews 13:5). You have promised, and You are faithful (Hebrews 10:23). You sent the pastor and the counselor. You even provided a calmative medicine to help me get through this. You gave me friends and family and church family who love and support me. And the devotional readings! Some seem especially appropriate on the particular days they show up in my e-mail.
Thank You, Lord, for all these expressions of Your love and grace. Amen.
From the beginning of this particular struggle with anxiety, God sent me comfort in Scripture verses. For example:
Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Psalm 116:5 and 7 “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Romans 8:39 “[Nothing] in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (All New International Version or NIV) I often went back to Isaiah 41:10 in the Amplified Bible: “Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”
I wrote these and many others in my journal, but I also wrote:
“The feelings of anxiety are so strong that my mind can’t seem to grasp this comfort. In anxiety mode, I feel unable to believe or trust. I feel like I can’t hold onto truth.”
Maybe I couldn’t hold onto truth, but God held onto me. When I believed in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and committed my life to Him, God made me His child. (John 1:12-13 says that whoever wants Jesus and believes He is who He claimed to be—that person can become God’s child. God becomes their Father.) At that time, God took me in His hands and has never let me go. He has promised that He never will, and He keeps all His promises. Hebrews 13:5—“…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Jesus said, “No one can snatch [My sheep] out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (from John 10:28-29). (Both verses NIV.)
My feelings can’t change the truth of God’s Word. Neither can my self-doubts, sweaty palms, trembling body or overwhelming panic change the truth of God’s secure hold on me. Because I had trouble believing that in my journey through Anxiety Valley, I’m thankful for our pastor who reminded me of the truth when I needed to hear it. And since I’m feeling better now, I offer it as hope to those who are feeling the way I did.
In the book of Hosea, God tells the prophet to marry a prostitute, so he married Gomer (Hosea 1:1, 3). In Hosea 3:1, God tells Hosea to love his wife again, even though she had apparently returned to prostitution. Hosea 3:2 says, “So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine” (NLT).
The book of Hosea shows us God’s faithful love for Israel in spite of her unfaithfulness to Him.
Hosea also has truth for us today: God paid a redemption price for us. It wasn’t silver or wine or barley, but rather the life-blood of His Son Jesus.
And God wants to redeem every person and make each one His own. He’s already paid the price, but He gives each one the choice to accept or reject the love and life He offers.
Thank You, Lord, for paying the price to redeem me from sin and darkness. Thank You for Your offer of forgiveness through Jesus. I love You because You made me one of Your beloved children in Christ. Amen.
One of my favorite Bible quotes: “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12-13 NLT)
A couple of winters ago, I went through a 4-month long battle with anxiety. Most of the time, the anxiety had the upper hand, but God, using various means both “sacred” and “secular,” faithfully helped me through the struggle. During that time, I felt humbled as God exposed pockets of unbelief and pride in my soul.
All my life I had tried to perform to perfection (unbelief pocket). I constantly compared myself with others, looking down on some and looking up to others, thinking I ought to be like them and feeling ashamed that I wasn’t (pride pockets).
My prayer: Lord, I need help! How can I break free from these ugly traps? I need to trust Your grace instead of thinking I have to be perfect for acceptance. You hate pride. I don’t want to continue in it. In Your Word, You tell me to keep my eyes on Jesus and to set my mind on things above (heavenly things) where Christ is. Holy Spirit, please help me put these Scriptures into practice in my daily life. Amen.
With my eyes on Jesus, and my mind set on heavenly realities, I can get away from self-focus, dump the ungodly stuff out of my pockets, and fill up on the life God gives.
From Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….”
Colossians 3:1-2 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Psalm 16:8 “ I have set the Lord always before me [One version says ‘I keep my eyes always on the Lord’]; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.”
(All Scriptures NKJV.)
“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34)
Yes, Lord, You are so good! You are good and do only good (Psalm 119:68 NLT). I praise You for Your total goodness. I also thank You for Your goodness to me.
Thank you for your unending mercy and loving-kindness! How I need Your mercy! If I continued to look at how often I’ve failed to show love or have gone my own way, surely I would faint from discouragement. But Your mercy is fresh every morning (Lamentations 3:23), and it endures forever! Thank You!
In the New Living Translation, “loving-kindness” is translated “faithful love.”Thank You, Lord, for Your faithful love! Your love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).
“Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever! Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord? Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?” (Psalm 106:1-2)
“All the praise that is due God”—indeed, Lord, You are worthy of unending praise. No matter how many praises I sing or say, You are worthy of more.
“Bless (Affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!” (Psalm 103:1)
O my soul, when you are tempted to feel sad or discouraged, remember God’s goodness and mercy and faithful love. Put into words some of His mighty deeds. Then affectionately and gratefully praise your Lord and bless His holy Name. And remember that His mercy and faithful love (even for you) ENDURE FOREVER!
(Scripture quotes are from the Amplified Bible.)
In Deuteronomy 4:26-28, God warns Israel (through Moses) that if they break His covenant with them, He will scatter them among the nations, and only a few of them will survive. But then Moses tells them in verses 29 and 31 of that chapter, “But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. …For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.”
What a wonderful promise from You, O merciful Father. Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:23) Faithful Father, You won’t abandon me either (Hebrews 13:5). And You won’t forget the promises You have made to us who are in Christ Jesus. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Amen.
Isaiah 56:4 “For this is what the Lord says: I will bless those …who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me.”
Psalm 62:8 “O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”
(Scripture verses are from the New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.