Do Not Be Anxious about Anything—Even the Good Stuff
by Steph Beth Nickel
In times of heartache and worry, I’ve often quoted Philippians 4:6-7, which says, “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” (ESV).
On September 2, I will be boarding an airplane with my hubby and our daughter. We will be taking our first trip across the Pond to the land of our ancestors. You see, my eldest son is getting married next to Loch Earn in Scotland, which will be followed by three days on the Isle of Skye (pictured) and various day trips.As I write these words, I’m very conscious of my breathing and my heart rate. Am I anxious? I guess I am. Am I afraid to fly? Not at all. (And hey, I’ll have hours and hours to read. Bonus!) Am I worried about meeting new people? (If you’ve known me for say—five minutes or so, you’ll know the answer to that one.)
Do I have issues with my future daughter-in-law? Actually, we get along really well. At Laura’s request, we went shopping for her wedding dress when she and my son were visiting for my hubby’s surprise 60th birthday party in March. And she found the dress in a local store I hunted up online.
Why be anxious?
Having purchased our tickets online (with a lot of back and forth and missed telephone calls, but that’s another story), I have to trust that there will be a place for us on the flight—three places preferably. I also have to trust that we will have all the necessary documents and will clear security—on both sides of the Atlantic—without incident.
Have I done my homework? Yep. Have I made an all-inclusive list of things to pack in our checked luggage and in our carry-on, of things to wear and things to have readily available? I actually started packing over two weeks before the departure date. Have I booked my daughter’s transportation home from the airport? I have. (She has to return after a week for work. Dave and I are staying for another seven days.) Hey, I’ve even watched a YouTube video on bundle packing. (If you are planning a trip, it really is a “must watch.”)
Even as I mentally check off the things I need to do, I’m still a little anxious. Can I flip a switch and experience instant calm? Well, not exactly, but there are certainly things I can do.
What to do when we’re anxious:
I can do what the Lord instructs in the passage I shared earlier. I can pray and thank Him for this amazing opportunity.
I can rest assured that He will fulfill His promise and grant me the peace that passes understanding, a divine peace that guards both my heart and mind. Wow! What a promise!
And a number of weeks ago I made a tremendous discovery. It’s like a game actually, a mind game called “Worst Case Scenario.” Based on the reason for my anxiety, the worst thing I can imagine is that we would get to the airport and not be allowed on the plane because of a mix-up with our tickets. (Yes, I know there are even worse scenarios, but they aren’t the possibilities that are troubling me.)
The question is do I trust God? Do I really trust Him? Do I know that everything that comes into my life is filtered through His love? Do I know that He has all the details worked out, even those that haven’t even crossed my mind?
As I ask myself these questions and come to the conclusion that the answer to each one is a resounding yes, I can take a deep breath and leave it all in His hands.
Beyond that, I think it’s about time I memorized the entire passage, Philippians 4:4-7. Those preceding two verses read like this: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand” (ESV).
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Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.