Ever struggled with anxiety? Yeah, me too. It can be pretty crippling, right? Yet the Bible so clearly tells us, "Do not be anxious about anything…" (Philippians 4:6)
I've read this verse so many times. So many. And it makes me want to toss up my hands in frustration. Ever just told yourself, "Ok, let's just...NOT be anxious." How does that work for you?
For me, it makes me feel MORE anxious because I'm not growing LESS anxious.
"Do not be anxious" feels like you telling me, when we're playing golf, "Don't worry about that big lake in front of you...no way you'll hit it in the water...just don't think about it." Because you know what I'll be thinking about as soon as you say it?
Hitting my golf ball in the water.
It's impossible not to think about being anxious, isn't it?
If you've ever struggled with anxiety (I have), you know how debilitating it can be (I do). It can sneak up on you out of nowhere on a Monday morning on your way to work. Or at the gym as you're hovering over the deadlift bar. Or on your long run when you are just trying to get some miles in.
To get more efficient at the Power Clean, my coach walks me through the precise positions I need to hit on the way up. Starting position —> keep the bar close —> shrug my shoulders, explode onto my toes, and pull the bar with elbows high—> catch in a solid, partial squat.
What are we supposed to do when anxiety hits us? Just like the Power Clean, there are key positions we need to hit along the way
Let's keep reading that verse above.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6
Let's break this down. Because to understand what the apostle Paul is talking about, you've got to read the whole verse.
Pray (starting position). The first step towards conquering anxiety is to pray. Communicate with God personally and humbly. Cry out to God as if He is the one with the solution for your life.
Petition (keep the bar close). Speak boldly, clearly, and exhaustively. When you petition down to the smallest detail, you’ll see God answer down to the smallest detail.
Give thanks (shrug and jump). Acknowledge all you have to be thankful for, even as you petition the King of Kings.
What’s the result of all of this? Catch this next verse:
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:7
Enjoy peace (catch the bar). Peace doesn’t mean your circumstances change, but that your heart and mind have shifted their focus and attention. This isn’t a peace that signals the end of all fighting, but a peace that “transcends all understanding,” that finds rest despite the chaos. That finds a quiet amidst the storm. That guards against current and future attacks.
My power clean isn’t perfect. But every day, it gets a little better. I lift a little more weight, complete a few more reps, and hurt a little less each time.
Just like my anxiety.
- Ben Reed