KICK START QUESTION: Let Go And Give It To God?
Question: People say to give your worries and burdens to God. Just let go and give it to God!? I have anxiety and I constantly worry. I pray for God to take my worries, but I can’t fully let go! How do I do this?
Thank you for posting your question. Anxiety can be very tough to cope with and can often be paralyzing. I hate that you are experiencing it and as I write this I am saying a prayer that God will give you some relief.
While I understand the sentiment of statements like “just Let Go and Let God,” they are often frustrating, unhelpful and leave us thinking… “Ok, well how in the world do I do that?”
While I would never suggest that God could not in a moment simply take your anxiety away, the spiritual path (I say spiritual because there are other helpful approaches too, like therapy or medication—and they do not have to operate in isolation) seems to be a long journey of faith that over time can reveal a great deal about yourself, God, and healing.
In a message a few months back, Pastor Matt made a suggested adjustment to the phrase “Let Go and Let God” and I think it is a helpful starting point. Instead, he said we should approach it as “Let Go and Trust God.” This is helpful because as we learn to trust God more, our faith increases and our anxiety can decrease. We can do this by building regular rhythms into our life that can help us cope with and combat anxiety. I will quickly mention 3 such rhythms.
Daily Reflection on Scripture– When you open your Bible; you are opening thousands of years of history of God’s faithfulness. Throughout the Old Testament, every time the story seems lost for the nation of Israel, God ends up making a way. In the New Testament, we see Jesus modeling for us what it looks like to walk through life in a peaceful, non-anxious presence. While there are so many places to start, I love pointing people to the book of John…one of the four biographies of Jesus in the New Testament. As you read, pay close attention to the rhythm in which Jesus walks through life.
Life in Christian Community– You are not alone. There are many other believers that are dealing with anxiety just like yours and it could be argued that we all live somewhere along a spectrum of anxiety. When it comes to anxiety, I do know one thing for certain that does not help…keeping your worries and fears bottled up and trying to deal with them alone. Being a part of a Christian community lets you share with others, support one another, and learn together. At One Life we say, “We do life in groups and teams…because Jesus did.” This is not just an attempt at a clever phrase but a total endorsement of living in community. You can check out our groups here.
Prayer Journaling– In full disclosure, journaling is hard for me. Some people love it and are naturally drawn to it, but for me, it is more of a self-enforced commitment during certain seasons of my life. If you are struggling with anxiety, this may be the right season of life for you to try writing out your prayers to God. Give it a shot a couple of times a week for a few months, then, you can look back and see where God has been faithful. The argument is that the more often we see and acknowledge that God has been faithful when we were anxious or afraid, the more we will learn to trust him.
Anxiety is obviously a very complex issue. By no means am I saying, “do these three things and you won’t ever be anxious every again.” However, I do believe that the more we learn to trust God, the more we are able to walk through life with a non-anxious presence. These three practices can move us in the right direction.