A very simple strategy for beginning to deal with anxiety is simply to take a page and begin to list things for which to be grateful, followed by ways in which God has provided and protected in times past. The simple exercise of “looking back” at God’s prior faithfulness emboldens us to face todays trials and troubles.
Paul commands the Philippian believers to “Be careful (anxious) for nothing (Phi 4:6).” Jesus taught, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on (Mat 6:25).” In both instances the word for careful/thought is merimnaō. Very simply it means one’s cares or worries. Biblically, anxiety is caring about something to the point of distraction. Anxiety and fear tend to go together. When you are anxious over something it can very easily lead to a whole host of largely irrational fears. When we begin to carry a worry to the point where it consumes almost our entire attention we have grown anxious.
Anxiety can cripple a person to the point of almost entire inaction. Fear can breed more fears, which breeds fear of fears. Anxiety can lead to severe health issues, and fear can lead to severe relational issues. The stress of anxiety can cause heart attacks, high blood pressure, whereas fear can result in being unable to function normally in our relationships. Headaches, sleeplessness, and difficulty concentrating on one’s responsibilities are often the result of merimnaō taking over someone’s life.
We all have responsibilities and “weights” to carry.