If ever there was a time to align our thoughts and beliefs with God’s word, it is now. In providing counseling as a clinical psychologist and life coaching services as of late, it has been a time to remind people to trust God and remember Who is in control now and always has been.
In helping people to cope with intense feelings of fear and anxiety, I often remind clients to remember, believe and apply God’s word during these ever changing times of the unknown. Instead of relying on the media, social media, myths, and false theories as an attempt to “know what is going to happen,” it is a wiser choice to believe the truth of God’s word if you want to have “peace beyond all understanding” and battle negative fear based thoughts that cause feelings of anxiety.
Below are 7 thoughts and beliefs that can be overcome, challenged and changed by learning and applying God’s word.
1. “I don’t understand why this is happening.”
Challenge with, “rely not on my own understanding but all things trust God.”
God says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5.
When we have the impulse and desire to know why, that will cause feelings of anxiety and fear when no one here on earth knows that answer. This is an ideal scripture to commit to memory especially for people who have a strong need to understand which leads to not being present and unsettled feelings. Learning to trust God and rely on Him will allow us to have peace in not knowing, however knowing and relying on God who is all knowing.
When we ask why God why, meditate on this scripture. We can learn to be comfortable not knowing and resisting the impulse to act out and seek information that leads to more confusion than clarity. Find peace in this scripture and say it out loud when you are in a worried state of mind, release the questioning thought and choose to trust God.
2. “I am worried and fearful all the time now, so much worse than before the pandemic.”
Challenge with, “worry about nothing, pray about everything.”
God says, “Do not 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.” Philippians 4:6-7.
When we find ourselves ruminating and worrying about negative thoughts, impending doom or evil forebodings, we have to begin to pray about the fears that are feeding the worry cycle. We have to learn to challenge the negative, fear based thoughts and replace them with hope based thoughts.
Worry can be a habit, choose to make prayer a habit instead. Thank God in advance for all the good in your life and protecting you from the worry based stories that we all tell ourselves at one time or another or unfortunately most of the time, for some people.
We have to shift fear based thinking with faith based thinking. Choose to believe good things are going to happen and begin to Thank God in advance. Then wait with hope instead of fear and dread.
3. “I cannot control my negative, fear based, hopeless thoughts that I have about the virus, the economy, the election, the violence, the protests, and the strife in the world today.”
Challenge with, “think on good things.”
God says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.
We cannot control people, places and situations, however we can control our thoughts, behaviors and our voice. Whenever the mind is wandering to dark and anxiety provoking thoughts, change the channel. Think on what is real, honest and lovely in your life. Try it. You will see the direct connection between your thoughts and your feelings. It is the key to cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.
Change the way that you think and you will change the way that you feel. Not easy to learn, however once this skill is learned, many symptoms of anxiety can disappear and you can be anxiety free.
4. “I complain often about everything and I do not like my current situations and circumstances during this pandemic.”
Challenge with, “we have to learn to be content despite our situations and circumstances.”
God says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:15.
The Apostle Paul was imprisoned and falsely accused and also writes in the Bible that he had to learn to be content. We too would be wise to take that advice. Choose to learn to be content and begin to enjoy your journey. Read, study, pray and apply and shift your thinking to learning to be content. There is always something in our life to be content with. I challenge you to find it every day.
5. “I don’t know when and if things are going to get better in my life, everything is taking too long to get better or go back to life as I knew it.”
Challenge with, “rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him, do not fret.”
God says, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.” Psalm 37:7.
Impatience is definitely a weakness that I need to continually be aware of and consciously shift my thoughts to waiting on the Lord as to be sure to not make things happen against God’s will for my life. Patience is a fruit of the spirit, it is within us, however it is like a muscle, the more we use it the more it becomes a strength.
Being patient in these current difficult times, globally, has been one of the biggest challenges for many people as nobody knows when the pandemic will end and when the world can return to more familiar times and freedoms. People need patience upon waiting for jobs to be secured, money for rent, mortgage and food, when their loved ones will be well, when they can be married, when they will have the desires of their heart, etc.
Align your thoughts with this scripture and it will help to battle feelings of anxiety and fears. Sometimes we ask when God when, this scripture will help secure these insecurities.
6. “I am anxious all of the time.”
Challenge with, “be anxious for nothing.”
God says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6.
Anxiety and worry is learned and therefore can be unlearned if you have the desire to change. Worry can be seen as a habit that needs to be reversed. Habit reversal can be done with a consistent persistent effort. Anxiety and worry can be an addiction in which people can take the first step in most 12 step recovery programs, agreeing that life has become unmanageable due to worry, fear and anxiety.
This scripture and many other scriptures indicate that we were not meant to live in anxiety, worry and fear. Take the time to reverse worry habits, be anxious for nothing and be excited to see the good things that God has planned for you. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Do the work, make a conscious effort to be aware of and release anxieties for one month, a worry fast, if you do not like the positive mind, body and spirit results, you can choose to go back to worrying.
7. “I am so afraid for myself and everyone about the uncertainty of the world and about almost everything I read and listen to in the media and online.”
Challenge with, “God you did not give me a spirit of fear but of power and love and sound mind.”
God says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.
Fear keeps us from being all that God intended for us to be and serving His purpose. Fear keeps us from being kind and loving to our full potential. We are the children of the most high God and we have power within us and we can learn to have a sound mind by eliminating the chatter and fear based thinking. A sound mind is the opposite of a mind filled with fear based thoughts. Being mindful and present. Mindfulness meditation is a good technique to use to learn to quiet the mind, be present and not judge anything as good or bad or right or wrong.
We can change and manage our thoughts. Choose to meditate and believe this scripture and many of your fear thoughts can be released and replaced with a sound mind. It is a very powerful, fulfilling and satisfying place to be. Learn to challenge and release all your fear based thoughts. A sound mind will allow you to tap into the power God has placed within each of us.
Choose to believe God’s word and what He says. It will allow you to have peace during the storms of life. Do your best. Stay faithful. Love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul. Trust him to be able to persevere and endure the storms of life. This too shall pass. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Learn to be still. God knows what He is doing. As always and forever He is in control, know, trust and choose to believe His will, will be done.
Nothing that I talk and write about is “easy” to learn and apply, especially when old worry habits are part of your daily life, however, I promise you, believing and applying the principles in these scriptures will be a lot simpler than being in the worry, fear and anxiety cycle which can be tormenting.
Aligning the scriptures with what you choose to believe, learning and applying these skills daily will allow you to be psychologically mature, emotionally intelligent and experience all the best God has planned for you. Turn anxiety into excitement. Say it out loud, “something good is going to happen to me.” Look forward with hope and expectancy, be a prisoner of hope instead of fear.