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Praying for Peace Over Anxiety

Anxiety is fear, worry and apprehension all rolled into one. It is an overwhelming belief that the worst is coming and that you absolutely are not prepared to handle it. Anxiety produces panic and dread.

The feelings of doom and disaster are so real, it can prompt you to run toward destructive behaviors as the lesser of two evils. In this case, the excessity functions not so much to produce pleasure as to throw up a buffer against those feelings of anxiety. As such, the excessity is given carte blanche; it is ceded a great deal of latitude and power because of the desperation and fear of the anxiety.

When you experience anxiety, God does not want you running to an excessity; He wants you running to Him. The verse that started this chapter says that you and I are not to be anxious about anything but that in everything, by prayer and petition, we are to tell God what we need to deal with our anxiety. This verse is amazing in its all-encompassing nature with its use of the words anything and everything.

God knows that only He is able to counter the power that anxiety can exert over our lives.

If you are anxious, you are to give it over to God completely, totally, without reserve. You are also to adjust your thinking from being anxious to being grateful, which is quite a shift! Being grateful, however, is a very useful tool because it forces you to concentrate on the good things instead of the bad.

Anxiety scoops up any possible bad thing, with the cyclonic power of an emotional whirlwind, and sends you spinning wildly out of control. Gratitude, however, is an anchor, tethering you to God through a remembrance and acknowledgement of the good things. Gratitude also redirects your thinking away from all the thing you can’t control, toward all of the things God can.

Anxiety, in my experience, is like a runaway train. The longer it goes uncontrolled, the more speed it picks up…until it is screaming down the track of your thoughts, pushing anything and everything else out of its way. Only God, through the divine communion found in prayer, through His Spirit, is able to slow that train down and put your thoughts back on proper track.

Prayer allows your mind to rest, to surrender over to God instead of surrendering to the panic. When you do this, God promises that He will give you His peace. Peace and panic cannot exist in the same space. They are mutually exclusive.

Peace is the true antidote for anxiety, not a cover-it-over, just make-it-all-go-away Gotta Have It! excessity.

Source: Chapter 4, “Our Need for Reassurance” in Gotta Have It! by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc
If you would like to receive a free copy of Gotta Have It!, share your thoughts about this book excerpt in the comments section of this blog post. Or share your thoughts on Dr. Jantz’s Facebook page or in a Twitter update mentioning @gregoryjantzphd.

1 Comment

  1. I have never seen my anxiety described so clearly as in this blog. I also see what Dr Jantz means by having to choose from running from anxiety to running toward God. I also thought the sentence about peace and panic can’t exit in the same space. It was not until now that I could conprehend a way to deal with my anexity in an effective way. Thank you Dr. Jantz


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