For when you feel stressed and anxious about your financial future20 Oct, 2020
If you followed the recent Unpack Poverty series, you would have read a number of stories of CAP clients who felt overwhelmed in their situations.
Questions such as ‘is there something wrong with me?’ and ‘I have no power, life is too all too hard’ were some of the thoughts than ran through these clients minds on their hardest days.
The stories these clients bravely shared were filled with enormous amounts of stress, shame, sacrifice, burden and loss of security. It’s enough to bring anxiety on anyone. But we all experience stress and anxiety during our lives, and especially this year, we could use some tools to help us through.
Tim is the Head of Evangelism at CAP, and spends a lot of time with CAP debt coaches and money coaches about how to bring the truth of Jesus into tough and stressful situations. He has put together some great scriptural wisdom on how to deal with stressful times in our lives:
Managing stress, anxiety and worry
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.Philippians 4:6-7
How can I manage stress, worry, and anxiety? The opening phrase of these verses is confronting, “do not be anxious about anything”!
The Apostle Paul is writing this letter from prison. How can a person in prison write a letter encouraging others not to be anxious about anything? The answer lies within the verses – pray! Prayer is the antidote to worry.
In every situation we are to present our requests to God. Why?
Contained within this direction from Paul’s is his knowledge of God’s love and good intentions toward those he is writing to. That said, there is a part we need to play in this too — “with thanksgiving”.
No matter how grim our situation, there are always things we can be thankful for. Choosing to focus on and express our gratitude to God lifts us up and out of ourselves, putting our problems into perspective.
In verse 7, Paul expresses an extraordinary promise for those who pray with thanksgiving about the “peace of God”. What is the peace of God? The secure confidence that God loves you without conditions, and that he is in control!
God’s peace is greater than our circumstances, it’s timeless, unlimited. This peace that “transcends all understanding” is beyond our ability to fully comprehend but is something we can experience. Peace within the storms of life — extraordinary.
This peace will guard our hearts (our emotions) and minds (our thoughts) in Christ Jesus. Because, through his physical death on the cross and actual resurrection from the dead, we can be in a relationship with Christ Jesus.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7
A word on shame
As the scripture says in Romans, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame’.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right had of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:2b
Crucifixion was a gruesome, tortuous death, that included public humiliation and shame. Jesus willingly submitted himself to this shame so that you don’t have to. After he endured the cross, he “sat down” indicating his work of rescuing sinners from shame and death was finished. Through his death on the cross we can be set free and brought into a living, loving relationship with God.
Access external help when you need it
The scripture here is immensely helpful. But sometimes, depression or anxiety require professional help. If this is you, please reach out to Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.