Replace Anxiety & Worry with Joy

A little while ago I was having one of my regular conversations with my grandmother and she said “Lexi, I need you to know that I am a worry wort and so was my mother” and I replied “wow grandma, that just put everything into perspective. I got my worry-wort trait from you” and we both just cracked up laughing on the phone. She proceeded to say “When you are about to go into situations that cause you to worry, just say the Blood of Jesus. It doesn't matter where you are or what you are doing, never forget to say, “the blood of Jesus”. A phrase so simple, yet powerful.

I am a worrier. I worry about finances, my health, my career path, whether I am a good enough mother, wife, friend, or granddaughter. I even worry about things that haven't happened yet. ​Most of the time I choose to bear the burden of worry alone, during these seasons someone telling me to “Just pray about it” is the last thing I want to hear. All I want to do is curl up in front of the television and watch senseless shows and feel sorry for myself. Anxiety begins to cripple my mood, my actions, and my words so much so, the term “Let go and Let God” simply doesn't cut it for me. Escaping reality seems to be the only viable option which I am sure that there is someone who can relate. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we worry so much that we push ourselves into this never-ending cycle of anxiety? Simply put, we lack trust in God and having trust in God would require us to relinquish the sense of control we have tricked ourselves into thinking we have. If you're anything like me, you must be in control of every aspect of life and once life starts to spiral out of YOUR control worry and anxiety begins knocking at the front door. As unfortunate as this is, we don’t have any control. I constantly must remind myself that no matter how much control I think I have in a situation, I am always being controlled by one of two things: my flesh, or the Holy Spirit. Naturally we are inclined to worry about less desirable circumstances because the desire to control overrides our emotions causing anxiety, stress, and most importantly a lack of peace. The more we allow this daunting cycle to continue, the more distant God seems to become, and we are not taking advantage of the peace and joy we have in Christ that surpasses all understanding.

So how do we change this? How can we replace our worry and anxiety with joy?

Well, if you were reading this blog assuming that this will be a quick fix, I hate to break it to you but this blog isn't for you. I’ve recently learned that not worrying and giving in to anxiousness takes work just like any other spiritual discipline. There aren’t any special tricks for this and as insensitive as this may sound, we have to just STOP WORRYING. Let me ask you this, what are you worried about? If God is sovereign what can happen to us that’s outside of his will or outside of his purpose for our lives? God promises joy and peace to those who place their trust in Jesus so, instead of drowning in sorrow and placing ourselves back under the bondage of worry and anxiety that Christ has freed us from, we can trust in the redemptive work of Christ and the promises of our Heavenly Father to never leave nor forsake us.

I have a little homework for you right now, grab a post-it, index card, or just rip a page out of your

closet notebook and write this scripture out:

“6Do not be anxious about anything, 5but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Now post that scripture to your bathroom mirror, computer screen, refrigerator door, anywhere you can see it every day and let it serve as a reminder of what scripture tells us about worry and anxiety. Isn’t it refreshing to know that it’s ok not to be in control? It’s ok to make our requests known unto God, He has promised to provide us with peace that goes beyond our understanding and to guard our hearts and minds. That's great news because God is the only being that has never broken a promise and He never will. Think about that for a moment, now repeat after me: “Thank you Jesus (say that again, but now slower), thank you for carrying my burdens, thank you for removing my worry and anxiety and filling me with peace. I will leave it all to you. Amen”

7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Peter 5:7 ESV

To have the freedom of joy in Christ, we must be willing to relinquish our control. Matthew 6:33-34 states:

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

So, our mission for this season is to seek God first. We don't have the power to manufacture joy on our own but when we decide to cast our worry, anxiety, fears, and heartbreaks on God we can begin fully experiencing the joy He has already given us. Remember, God is greater than any struggle we can encounter. Allow His peace and joy to overflow in your heart even in the middle of the most difficult struggles, for if we focus on Him there will be no room to focus on anything else. Life may not always go our way, but we can have confidence that our heavenly Father is working all things together for our good.

You got this!

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