Do you ever lay awake at night wondering what tomorrow will bring? Or maybe what the next day, or the day after that will have in store for you?
The future can be a source of great anxiety that you might not even have the tools to deal with because, it’s the future and it’s unknown! So how can you get through the anxiety of the unknown future.
Allyssa Graves, when speaking on this topic at Engage Newark recently, quoted a passage from the Bible, Philippians 4:4-7, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 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.”
She talked about how this passage gives her peace when thinking of the future, “I think of this scripture often, I remember it because of the context of this passage. Paul is writing this letter while he is sitting in prison. He’s been persecuted, he will never see his friends who live in Philippi (these Philippians) again, he is on his way to Rome where he will be executed! He most likely knows his fate, he knows he is being held up with these charges, but he’s still saying – in the midst of all that – to rejoice! To give thanks in every circumstance, and that God will give us peace.
Not that we’ve already been made perfect.
Not that we’ve already overcome all of our anxiety.
Not that we will never worry again about the future.
But that God will guard our hearts and our minds.
We can know peace even in the midst of our anxiety.
We can know peace even when we know that the future is uncertain.”
So what do we do with our anxiety about the future? How can we be a part of turning anxiety into “peace that passes understanding?”
1. Think it Through
Think through the things that are giving you anxiety, the things that are causing you to lose sleep. The same passage in the Bible quoted above follows up with things to think about. It says, “whatever is true, pure, noble, lovely and good, think on these things.” Too often we let our minds run away with anxiety and we never pause to think through: “is this thing that I’m anxious about even true?”
We base too much of our anxiety on lies, untruths, half-truths and so those are the things we think on. Think it through…is this thing I am anxious about true? Is it noble? Is it lovely or good? Is it even worthy of my attention?
2. Write it Down
It might be helpful to keep a journal of the things that are causing you anxiety and how things are going as think it through. Also, record what is working for you and what isn’t working for you in terms of reducing your levels of anxiety. In time, you can look back in your journal to see in what ways you are finding progress.
3. Talk it Out
Find a trusted friend, relative, loved one or seek out professional counseling to help you. There is no shame in using all the tools in your toolbox. Everyone experiences anxious feelings so there is no reason to go through this alone. It’s possible that you may also need medication to help you combat the scourge of anxiety, you will only know if you can try to talk it out with someone and in that case, a medical professional.
4. Build It Up
Build something good with your anxieties. Funnel your anxious thoughts into something positive. If you are anxious for some particular reason that you have identified, what action can you take that will make a difference for you? What action can you take that will make a difference for someone else? Maybe there is a project you can start or an organization you can join or donate to. Look into ways that you can make a difference for yourself and others.
There is no magic remedy to stop all anxiety, especially in the face of uncertain future, but there are ways to help reduce anxiety and begin to give yourself a sense of peace and rest. We believe that ultimate peace can be found with God and others through Jesus and if you would like to hear more about that peace, click here to see Allyssa’s full message and skip to about minute 24. There is a peace that passes understanding and you can experience it today!