God's Answer To Dealing With Anxiety



By the summer of 2005 I was done.  It was time to retire from full-time ministry. So, Anne agreed to support me and move to Florida where we would start over.  We sold our beautiful and new house in Indiana, Anne got a new teaching job, I accepted an offer to be a partner in a new start-up business in Florida. I finished my last night in ministry to teens, said my final goodbyes to my staff and volunteer team, cried some final tears over my time there and I drove 20 hours straight… all night to Stuart, Florida. The next day I started my job - I didn’t even take a day off.  I headed out to sell hurricane-upgraded structures due to the rash of hurricanes that had wiped out the now unsafe version of old-school designs in South Florida.  I had a degree in BuildingConstruction and Contracting from Purdue and I was ready to put it towork.  


By the end of that first day of work, I was a mess, a complete basket case and I knew I was in trouble!  Anxiety and fear overwhelmed me.  Was this really what I was supposed to do with my life?  Did I just make a big mistake?  I hated the doubts that were filling my thoughts and I panicked.  I made the rash decision to quit my new job.  Now I didn’t have income or a plan and we were getting ready to close on the new house!!!  My family was mad at me, the man who took a chance on me was disappointed, I was a mess and I didn’t have a clue what to do!!!  Anxiety flooded and overwhelmed my mind!


Thankfully, God led me to deal with the challenge and walked us through our circumstances.  God has a plan to calm our anxious and fearful hearts and minds!


Do you know that in the United States, close to 20% of adults have an anxiety disorder?  According to the U.S. Census Bureau HouseholdPulse Survey, nearly one third of adults reported anxiety and depression symptoms in 2023.  The Journal of the American Medical Association cited a study that indicates an exponential increase in depression.  Citizens in other countries ironically enjoy more mental peace. Some studies show they experience one-fifth the anxiety levels of Americans, despite having fewer of the basic life necessities. When these less-anxious developing-world citizens immigrate to the United States, they tend to get just as anxious as Americans.  With the aftermath of Covid, our young people are a mess, college students are a mess, and adults are a mess.  We are in a healthcare crisis!


With all this background information, God’s answer to dealing with our mess is a life-changer.  I am calling His plan:  ALWAYS, ANYTHING/EVERYTHING, WHATEVER.  


It is taken from Philippians 4: 4-8.  I have broken down those five verses into 3 Sections:



Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice in the Lord Always!

Let Your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.


Paulis saying “feel and show great joy and delight in the Lord Jesus.”  

This is the first step in dealing with anxiety! It could be as simple as stating this:


Jesus, I thank you that you opened my eyes to me and called me to be your child and your servant!  I am so grateful to you for that.  I would be lost without you!  Thank you.

Jesus, thank you that you have given me a future with you and have given me hope for eternity.  Jesus, thank you for your willingness to come from heaven to earth to die for me, take my sin and give me your righteousness by your death on the cross. Jesus, thank you for filling me with your Holy Spirit.  Jesus thank you that you have not left me alone and abandoned, but that you are with me and interceding for me.  I am so grateful to you!  



Do not be anxious about anything

…but in every situation (everything) by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

…and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus


When Paul wrote concerning anxiety,  the way that he constructed his Greek verb there is, "do not allow yourself to be continually anxious."  We all feel anxiety, but Paul shows that God doesn’t want us to camp out there in perpetuity!  


Look at the promise that Paul lays out if we pray about everything in the way he lays out:  the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and minds!  That is miraculous when you are overrun with fear and anxiety!!



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.


That’s a lot of whatevers!  Excellent and praiseworthy whatevers! It is Godly whatever! You can’t choose where you are born or to what family you are born to.  You can’t control the daily weather, but you can choose what you think about and churn over in your mind.  Healing from anxiety is tied to healthy thinking!  Things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy - those are the things Pauls tells us to think about!  


Do you know what is crazy?  Paul who wrote this plan for a church in Philippi and ultimately for us today was chained to a Roman guard in prison when he wrote it. He didn’t know if he for sure would ever be released.  Yet, in the midst of great opportunity for anxiety he wrote this section we have been talking about.  Paul practiced how he told them to deal with anxiety and fear.  He lived it and knew what God’s peace in the midst of high-anxiety opportunities looked like.  


Remember the story I told in my opening?  Let me fill in some gaps.  

●      The successful man who I was to go work for in Florida gave me a job until I figured things out.

●      I committed to get up an hour earlier every morning just to spend time with the Lord reading my bible and prayer walking until God opened the next doors for us during our time in Florida - I chose to get as close to Jesus as I could…

●      As angry as Anne was at me for asking her to sell everything and to leave our friends in Indiana to move to Florida, she would say that our time there was one of our richest family times.

●      God took care of us and we never missed paying a bill.  

●      God eventually gave me a second chance in ministry and we had an amazing 15-year run where we saw many young men and women come to know Jesus.




May you walk in his Peace!



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