Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks: fighting anxiety

I’ve learned to recognize the signs that mean it’s time for me to sleep. When I was a kid, the signal was me running full steam in circles. As a grown up, the signs feel more sinister. Fear about what will happen in the future. Anxiety about what I need to get done. The accompanying sense of failure over what I have gotten done. And just sadness. Because. I’m. So. Tired.

This morning God spoke truth through His word. Tiredness doesn’t have to be accompanied by such a terrible quartet. Fear, anxiety, failure, and sadness are great bullies hiding the joy, comfort, companionship, and love that surround me, even when I’m tired.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭

1. Rejoice

Recite truth. Retell the glad things of God from Scripture. Look outside at the trees and sky and stars and rejoice that he made these and more. Feel your heartbeat and rejoice that he sustains it. Rejoice that he numbers the hair on your head. Seek every opportunity to delight in your Creator and Savior. Recount His strength and power. Rejoice in His gracious, steadfast, never-failing love.

2. Pray

Take your rejoicing to God in prayer. Seek out the companionship of the Holy Spirit who has sealed you for salvation. Then take the cares that trouble your heart and mind to Him. Trust his word that he cares for you and invites you to “cast your cares on him”. Trust that your prayers in faith will not drive him away. And don’t ever stop doing this in hope. Don’t believe the lie that says prayer is “just prayer” or only “good thoughts and wishes”. Prayer is powerful and of utmost importance. It is no small thing that the Creator of the universe and the deepest seas hears and answers the prayers of his people who he made.

3. Give thanks

When the sun comes up, give thanks. Each new day is a gift and he knows what it holds. Give thanks. When the sun sets, thank God for his provision. Each sorrow is an opportunity to better know God’s love. Each mountaintop is a blessing. Give thanks. Fear’s food is discontentment and worry. It cannot thrive in a heart full of thanksgiving.

4. Always. Continually. In All Circumstances.

10 minutes of daily exercise will not make much of a difference, but a lifestyle change will. Likewise, rejoicing, praying, and thanksgiving must be a continual practice of the heart and lips. They are to be thought over and spoken aloud. I have a co-worker that meets me every morning with rejoicing and thanksgiving. The peace of God guards her heart in all circumstances, there is no doubt.

Joy.

Comfort.

Companionship.

Love.

How amazing that we are given all these gifts and more because of the great goodness of our Almighty God!

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