How Not to Be Anxious
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
“Don’t be anxious?!?!?” I think we could talk about fighting anxiety every single Sunday and draw huge crowds. Anxiety is the epidemic of our age.
The apostle Paul offers us the antidote: prayer, petition, with thanksgiving.
At one point in a seminary class on pastoral counseling I had a professor who talked about a study that found that it was impossible to be anxious and thankful at the same time.
So today, it’s simple: fight anxiety with thanksgiving. All day. At every turn. Practice thanksgiving today in every situation but especially whenever you feel anxious about anything: your health, the kids, your job, whatever today’s headline is, that conversation you’re dreading.
Thanksgiving doesn’t require that you ignore genuine threats or concerns. But what thanksgiving does is remind us that the entirety of our lives are not summed up by threats or concerns. There are larger realities in play that help to frame challenges in context, thereby giving us much needed perspective.
So right now: what can you be thankful for? List at least a dozen things. Watch anxiety start to melt away, even just a little bit. And practice, practice, practice being thankful in every situation, so that you might not be over-run by anxiety.