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      Did you know that our word “worry” comes from the Old English word “wyrgan”? Wyrgan basically means “to strangle.” That sounds about right, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it often feel like our worries and anxieties have us in a stranglehold?

      So what can we do when anxiety has us in its grips?

      First, turn to God.
      “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, ESV)
      “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16, ESV)
      “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, ESV)
      “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, ESV)

      Second, turn to your brethren.
      “That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26, ESV)
      “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, ESV)
      “For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 24:6)

      Third, develop an effective self-care plan.
      This means be deliberate and diligent in taking care of your soul, mind, and body. We must recognize and care for all of the aspects of humanity God has created within us – the intellectual/emotional, the physical, the spiritual, and the social. (See the description of Jesus’ growth in Luke 2:52).
      Years of experience and medical research points to the great holistic benefits of some of the most basic self-care tools – eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising our body and mind, and finding wholesome means of relaxation. (For example, King Saul found music to be a source of refreshment in the face of his tormenting spirit – 1 Samuel 16:23.)
      This self-care plan may include counseling and/or medication. Modern therapeutics have the potential to be incredibly helpful for many, even and especially for those with severe anxiety. For all of its helpfulness, though, it is important we understand that these therapies and the ones developing and prescribing them are often steeped in the wisdom of this world rather than the wisdom of God. So while we might make good use of them as tools in our recovery, we should remain on guard against any attempts to interfere with our relationship with God (Colossians 2:8).

      Finally, look for ways to help others as you have been helped.
      “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, ESV)

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