Part Five- Remove: Let Go Of The Things That Make Anxiety Worse
Part Five marks the end of this mini devotional series. I hope over this last month leading up to Easter that you have found strategies in this series that help you lessen your anxiety. I hope that you’ve found rest in the promises of God that we’ve talked about here. For Part Five we begin with Phillipians 4:8, which says:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Have you ever stopped to consider that what you’re consuming might be adding to your anxiety? The things that we take in during the day can affect our spirits. Much of the media and news that we absorb is not pure, lovely, admirable, or praiseworthy. I’ve noticed that if I watch a scary movie right before bed, I will have nightmares. If I read a disturbing news story during the day, I have disturbing dreams. Maybe you won’t have bad dreams because of them, but does reading terrible or disheartening news stories set you on edge the rest of the day? Does it make you more anxious or agitated? You might not even notice the connection until you do an experiment and take a break from media for awhile and see how you feel as a result.
I’m not saying that we need to “stick our heads in the sand” and avoid hearing about everything that’s going on in the world. But, if reading terrible news stories that we can’t do anything about is affecting our spirits and causing anxiety, we might want to consider NOT clicking on a headline. We can still pray for the victims involved in the incident. If the people and pages we follow on social media post stories that repeatedly cause anxiety or sadness, we might want to consider unfollowing them and filling our newsfeeds with more edifying content.
Try mixing up your evening routine. Instead of browsing social media and seeing the news stories that make our friends angry and outraged, try reading a lighthearted book before bed. If certain dramas on television are too intense, try finding a new comedy series to watch instead.
We have to think about what goes in our bodies as well. You may think that because caffeine doesn’t keep you wired, it’s fine to drink. But caffeine can affect us in more subtle ways. It can cause a more rapid heartbeat, which can make us feel more anxious than we actually are. It can keep our mind alert at night, mulling things over, even though we don’t feel “wired.” Try cutting down on caffeine or swapping your coffee out for tea for awhile and see if you feel less anxious.
In what ways can you add more pure, lovely, admirable, or praiseworthy things into your life? What is one thing you can change about your evening routine to make it more relaxing? What things in your life do not fit the Phillipians 4:8 standard?
Closing thoughts as you finish Part Five:
As this series comes to a close just before Easter, remember that Easter gives us a great reason to rejoice in the midst of our worries. Easter reminds us that Jesus conquered death. He promises that His followers will too someday. Philippians 3:20-21 says:
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
There is no anxiety, worry, or fear in heaven. If you are a believer, you will be in the midst of His peace and joy, for eternity! Rest in this promise today. May His truth give peace to your anxious heart.
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All verses from the New International Version of the Bible (NIV), accessed from http://www.biblegateway.com