Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything we 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 4:4-7 ESV
How is your anxiety impacting your marriage? Are your anxious thoughts consuming your conversations? Are they impacting the way you respond to your spouse? Anxiety is such a destructive emotion—physically, mentally, and spiritually. It has the ability to destroy the peace, unity, and love in our relationship if we give it power. That’s why God tells us in this verse to stop. Do not be anxious about anything. Does that really work?
God knows our hearts so well, that He knows telling some of us not to be anxious can be hard to hear. If we’re the anxious type, we’re most likely do-ers and our thoughts tend to race, so we need to replace those anxious thoughts with something. For some, even reading “Do not be anxious about anything” can cause anxiety because we don’t know how to stop—we want to obey the command, but we don’t have any idea how to do that, so we end up with anxiety about our anxiety. If you’ve struggled at all with anxiety in your life, then you know being told to just stop being anxious is not helpful, nor does it work. God knows all that about us, so His Word includes what we are to do instead of being anxious. It’s all in the “but”. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. We are to lay down every one of our fears in prayer before the Lord. When the anxious thoughts come, get on your knees and pray until they’re gone. Rather than feeding the fear, we are to tell God what we think we need and ask Him for it.
We are promised in these verses that if we want to enjoy a life protected from anxiety by God’s peace, then we need to be in prayer. If we want victory over the worry that consumes our thoughts, then we need to be in prayer. If we want to defeat the paralyzing fears, or we want freedom from the havoc that anxiety has brought into our lives—addiction, health issues, relationship strife—then we need to be in prayer. In everything. We are told to pray about everything. Don’t just go to God in prayer over the big things—take everything to Him. That means we should be in a mindset of prayer, or in a conversation with Him all day long.
Paul says in everything, by prayer and supplication. Prayer is a broad term that includes all of our prayers—our adoration, our confession, our thanksgiving, and our requests. Supplication is the specific kind of prayer referring to our requests, it actually means “to plead humbly.” This is the part of our prayer where we ask for help. In everything, we are to humbly go before the Lord and ask Him for what we need. Not demanding, not expecting, but with an attitude of humility, and trusting His love for us is deep and wide. If we truly trust the previous verse—that the Lord is at hand, then we know He is working to answer our prayers. Don’t be mistaken—God is not our genie in a bottle. He is not about granting our every wish, but we know if we are asking for prayer about something in accordance with His will, then we can trust He is working to make that happen. If we’re not sure if it’s in His will, then we are to leave the request at His feet and trust that His plan is ultimately for our good.
I remember being taught there are only two times we should be picking up our anxious thoughts—when we’re in the company of fellow believers, or when we’re in prayer. That’s it. If you’re picking up an anxious thought and you’re not in one of those two situations, put it down. You have no business hanging on to it. Recognize you are in a spiritual battle, and the enemy is given a foothold when we are alone with our anxious thoughts. A foot hold is a place to where someone can securely plant their foot, or a position from where progress can be made. If the anxious thoughts comes, get on your knees in prayer or get with a friend.
There are days when I am in constant communication with God because the anxious thoughts are so loud, my prayers are non-stop some days. But I will not pick them up alone anymore—I just don’t do it. I know how to find the peace that surpasses all understanding because He has taught this to me over and over. I lay down my requests to Him and I trust Him completely with my life—that’s how His peace replaces all those anxious thoughts. When peace is restored in your mind and your heart, it will be restored in your marriage.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗