When Anxious Thoughts Tie You in Knots
By: Anne Peterson
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
No matter what the beginning of our year was like, once the pandemic hit, nothing has been the same. We don’t act the same, we don’t feel the same and with partial coverings over our faces, we don’t look the same. We’re not certain about what will happen in the coming months and even in the coming weeks.
So how do we face each day without worry and fear? What is the answer to our anxious thoughts? I don’t want to give you a pat answer here. But I’m going to give you the only one I’ve found helpful. Prayer. And it’s not even my idea, but it was from the Apostle Paul, who often was tempted to feel anxious.
Paul, the one who would sing as he was shackled in prison, tells us how he found peace no matter what situation Paul found himself. We go to God.
In fact, the only one who doesn’t want us to go to God in our anxiety is the enemy of our soul, Satan. He wants us to devour all the news we can till we find ourselves tied up in knots. And there we sit, paralyzed with fear of the unknown, and anxious thoughts that fly around our troubled heads like pesky gnats.
Paul tells us to bring everything before the Lord because Paul knew God’s character. God is sovereign, which means supreme. God isn’t surprised by anything we discover. He’s omniscient which means all knowing. He’s omnipresent, which means always present. He’s omnipotent, which means all-powerful.
Satan wants us to worry and to believe that God has forsaken us. God told us that he would never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). And we know God means what he says. He’s not a man that he should lie (Numbers 23:19).
So, what do we do when we start entertaining some of those lies? How can we get our eyes back on the Lord? We can do this by corralling our thoughts and bringing them into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:5).
I visualize something to make this concept clear to me. I gather up all my thoughts and bring them to Jesus. And he hands back to me only the thoughts he thinks are worth keeping. And I’m not surprised to find the ones Jesus hands me are those that Paul talked about.
God tells us we are to think of things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Those are the things God wants us to dwell on. And isn’t the Lord, all those things? And don’t all those things pertain to God?
When I go for a walk I spend time singing to the Lord and bringing my concerns to him. I know God has given us access to his throne room. It’s open all the time. Like little children, we can go right in and climb on God’s lap, telling him whatever is troubling us. Nothing is too small, not to the one who created butterfly wings.
So the next time your worries tie you in knots, take them to God. Knots are his specialty.
I’m trying to untangle, Lord,
these stubborn knots I see.
But every single time I try
they’re getting worse for me.
And then I see Him smiling
as he takes them in his hands.
And I just watch with wonder
as he loosens every strand.
© Anne Peterson
Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There:Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published books entitled He Whispers: Poetic talks with God. Sign up for anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or you can connect with her on Facebook.
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."