This article is for a very close friend – a gift.
Like most of us now, she is in the midst of anxiety or panic attacks. She failed an exam sometime last year where she actually did her best, and this failure represents the lowest point so far in the progression of her life. This is not an ordinary exam because it will unlock the door to her dreams to work outside the country. She also feels like everyone is getting ahead of her, and that’s how anxiety and panic hit her hard. She knows she can do so much more, but with the people’s judgments enveloping her, she doesn’t know how and where to begin again. I can’t measure the weight she carries at the moment, bearing all these pressures up to this day, that leads her coming to me for an advice. I see this as a way of God’s lifting another soul. Of course, no one has more power to fix the problems because it can only be done by the same person who is experiencing the anxiety. But, the perfect weapon to overcome panic or anxiety is emotional stability – an inner peace which is only attained if we allow God to enter our hearts.
Stress is a part of our daily life. All of us deal with it at some point. Sometimes, it hits us hard when we are sick, tired, depressed or outside of our comfort zones. It also hits us when we take in too many responsibilities or when the circumstances are already out of control. When it strikes, we feel anxious and threatened. As Christians, we believe that God is faithful in His promises, and we believe that He is in control and the ultimate provider of the things we need. But, when stresses start to dominate our lives, we lose our ability to trust God somewhere along the way. Precisely, this is what’s happening.
HOW TO FIGHT THE BATTLE
ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROBLEM
Recognizing the problem will require us humble confession and self-evaluation. In this case, my friend is suffering from fear of judgments of people around her. The fear of failing again makes her worry about people’s criticism and disappointments. Thus, this fear immobilizes her and stops her forward progress in life.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK AND ASK FOR HELP.
We are all humans, and we live in a world where problems inevitably come and go. We don’t have supernatural powers to shield ourselves from the damage of worldly pains. But, we only need to turn to God and other people to help us. Since my friend has already identified her problems, she can now take steps to get the appropriate help. Her problem is rooted in her fear of failure. She must start to let go of the need of approval from other people. I believe in her potential to be where God wants her to be. So, for her to start thriving, I told her to give up the need of approval because it is killing her freedom. The desire of pleasing others will not get her anyway further, but it only hinders her major decisions in life. The need of approval also created immense anxiety about the value she is giving to herself and to her dreams that it got to the point where she is finding it hard to get over herself.
Focus your energy on getting in touch with what really matters. Start to listen to what you want in your life and pair this desire with concrete actions to make it happen. Even if you fail, learn that failure is part of the process. It is only an indication of how much you really want to get something.
TURN INTO PRAYER.
According to John 14:27, the inner peace from Jesus is not the same peace provided by this world. So, how do we find peace in the midst of all the stresses we face? The answer is PRAYER. Many of us think that prayer is a small thing because it is so easy to do. If you want to start experiencing the inner peace, make prayer a part of your life. The only resource required is your time.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
According to this verse, when anything bothers or burdens our spirits, we need to ease our minds through prayers. Let us not also ask supplies of good, but with thanksgiving enjoined in our prayers, we should take hold of the receipts of mercy we receive. God already knows all the desires of our hearts. He knows them better than we tell him. But, let us still make all these requests known to him because offering all of these in prayer is a sign of our dependence on Him.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
What a beautiful message this verse is delivering to us. Jesus is telling us that by enjoying him, we might have the best enjoyment of ourselves. The peace being referred here never comes from the outside source which worldly wisdom provides. True and inner peace will never ignore the source of it – Jesus Christ. According to Paul’s notes on Philippians 4:7, the peace of God will surpass all understanding, far from human’s capacity to understand. This inner peace will help us keep calm and sedate when we are sinking under our own troubles with inward satisfaction.
MEDITATE ON GOD’S WORDS.
Unless you meditate on the scriptures, you can never really apply God’s words to your daily life. What meditation means is to deeply think about what God is telling us through the Bible. The word of God inspires our prayers. Meditation aids us in focusing, understanding, remembering and applying God’s words.
For now, meditation seems impossible when our focus is affected by the world’s circumstances, and the word of God is still obscure. Ask for God’s help through prayer, and realize it is never too late to begin if you never have meditated before today. God is our great help, and He is holding our hope that we are never really alone if only we seek God through prayer and meditation. God never leaves any prayer unanswered.
Perfect inner peace in the midst of severe pains in this world is beyond our comprehension. It is only a gift from God.
Prayer for Inner Peace and Strength
Please give me the strength to face the day and to see many blessing that it contains. Give me the courage to walk on, no matter how long the path or how many turns the road holds. Guide my thoughts so that I walk in love and peace, and with gratitude stamped on my heart.
littlemisadvencha is a Filipino Civil Engineer, M.S. student in Structural Engineering and a fur mom of four-legged babies. She writes about her experiences to inspire and educate.