Freedom from Anxiety

By Mary Wenzl

My life as a child was fairly normal. I lived with both of my parents, two sisters and a brother. We were a middle class family. My parents were active in a Presbyterian church and made sure that we all attended regularly. My problems as a kid were of the “normal” variety. It was not until I was an adult and got married that I began having problems that seemed insurmountable, which facilitated my seeking for God and a better understanding of the scriptures.

One of my go-to bible phrases I have taken comfort in on numerous occasions is from Psalm 46:10.  “Be still, and know that I am God.” Those words are actually just the beginning of the verse.  The verse continues on to say, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

I have not memorized a lot of bible scripture. I do better at remembering pieces of scripture, but I know this is one of my favorite phrases when I am feeling lost, don’t know what to do next, or am upset. When Kathy Anderson asked us to blog about one of our favorite promises of God from the Bible, I immediately thought of this one. Yet, I had to look it up to see where the verse is in the Bible. I was surprised to find what I was remembering was not even a whole verse, just part of one. I did some research into the context of Psalm 46, and discovered that the Psalm was written during a time of war and strife. It calls the people of God to remember they have a strong and powerful God who is capable of doing anything, even stopping wars.

I recognized verse 1 of this Psalm as one that is taught to the kids in Vacation Bible School. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

I remember helping kids memorize this verse when I was a table leader in VBS, and also when my grandchildren had to memorize it. The two verses complement each other in my mind. One speaks of stopping whatever we are doing in order to remember and acknowledge that we have an all-powerful God, worthy of honor and praise. The other reminds us we can place our trust in God when we are in trouble. He will see us through the storm.

I have had many storms in my life, primarily as an adult. I married a man who was an alcoholic and had anger-control issues. When we divorced, I became a single parent of two very energetic children who seemed to get into all of the stereo-typical problems and troubles you read about kids having in novels. My spiritual life grew by leaps and bounds during this time as I was honed “by fire.”

I still have times when my thoughts are in turmoil, where I get anxious and find it difficult to know what to do. These are the times when this phrase pops into my head. “Be still, and know that I am God.”  It reminds me to stop whatever I am doing and to turn to prayer for help. We all get busy in life, and the pace of this world can be overwhelming. So, it is good to have this reminder that, when I need help, I can stop what I am doing and turn the matter over to God. As I have learned to do this, instead of continuing in unhelpful ruminations, I have often found God giving me an answer almost immediately. 

Recently I was at a doctor’s office and was asked for a co-pay. I did not get paid for another week and thought the office visit would not require a co-pay. I really wanted to have the appointment that day and did not want to reschedule because this particular doctor is very busy. I explained that I could send a check in a week when I got paid, but the receptionist was pretty insistent that “Patient Accounts” would require payment the same day. She agreed to ask them, and initially got a response that I had to pay that day. I remembered to pray to God to request that I be allowed to keep the appointment. He answered positively, as the receptionist called me back up to the desk and indicated that the “Patient Accounts” lady had changed her mind, and that I would be able to keep the appointment that day!

This example is only one of many I could recite about God answering my prayers when I just stop what I am doing and give Him the opportunity to show He is God and capable of solving any problems, even the little ones. Some of my examples might seem silly to others, such as praying to find an object in my house, and opening my eyes and immediately seeing the object which had been eluding me.

I guess what I am trying to say is that practicing “being still” and turning everything that troubles me over to God is an attitude of life that soothes my anxiety. All of my childhood and most of my adult life I have suffered from anxiety and depression. This bible verse has helped me remember I do not have to worry or stew about anything anymore. It is truly a gift from God not to be haunted by anxious thoughts, as long as I remember to “Be still, and know (believe) that I am God.”

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