With the holiday season now upon us, it is an exciting time for many as family and friends come together to share old memories and create new ones. That being said, this very season also brings a heightened level of anxiety and depression. Consider the following: In a survey, some 38% of people said their stress level increased during the holiday season, with the top stressors being lack of time, lack of money, gift-giving and family gatherings. As Christians, we are not immune to these genuine and often debilitating thoughts. Without over-simplifying things, what are some things we can learn from God’s word to help combat such things? Or, as one person shared with me recently, what tool can we put in our tool belt to help us on our way?
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Are you kidding me?! I know, this verse can cause such turmoil in the minds of Christians. What does the word anxious mean? It means to be troubled with cares. It is also used in Luke 10:41 by Jesus. He reasons with Martha saying, “you are worried and troubled about many things.” Those “many things” resulted in her being “distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40). So, anxiousness is an inner thought that causes us to be distracted. Such distractions tend to cause uneasiness, which in turn, rob us of a sense of peace. Prayer provides a means in which we can seek anew His peace, a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:6).
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true…meditate on these things.
With prayer as one tool to use to fight against anxiousness, we consider another which is equally effective, but more than likely seldom used. It may not even be in our tool belt. What is it? Meditation. What is meditation? Well, the KJV uses the words “think on” to try and help us understand. The Greek word means to consider, take account, weigh. Let’s examine the idea of anxiety; that is, it is a state of mind where we find ourselves thinking about a particular concern for a period of time. So, meditation is a redirecting of what we are focusing on; that is, what we are thinking. Paul lists some options that we can use to help refocus and ease our anxiousness: noble things, just things, pure things, lovely things, things of good report, praiseworthy things. When we seek His strength to help change our focus, the “peace of God will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
May our Lord and Savior give you strength this year to grasp the true peace that can be ours through His amazing love for us. If you find yourself troubled in heart today, may His grace comfort you. Maybe these tools can help empower you to fight against the holiday blues. God bless us all this holiday season.