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Thankfulness, a Weapon Against Anxiety

For several reasons, anxiety is rampant in our country. According to statistics, 20% of adults have anxiety. When we searched our blog website, the entries on anxiety are at the top for foot traffic.

Many people have anxiety. The question is, what can we do about it? What if I told you that during a season of thankfulness, thankfulness itself may be one weapon against anxiety?

The apostle Paul links thankfulness as one tool for defeating anxiety in the book of Philippians. You may be thinking, “What does Paul have to worry about? He was an apostle. He had great faith.”

We can look at where Paul was writing this letter and get a clue. The apostle Paul was placed in prison by the Romans at the time he wrote the book of Philippians. He is literally writing this book from jail. If you know anything about the first-century Romans, prison probably didn’t have cable TV, a gym to work out in, or softball leagues.

Paul was there because he was hated. Yet he says, “do not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6).” How can Paul say such a thing? How does one avoid anxiety? He gives us the answer here. “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.”

According to statistics, 20% (over 40 million) of adults have anxiety.

There is a lot to unpack here but I want to talk about being thankful. How can thankfulness help anxiousness? Anxiousness or anxiety is worry or nervousness. It’s a feeling of being uncertain or pessimistic about the outcome of something.

In a way, thankfulness is the opposite of that. Thankfulness is appreciation. Here the apostle Paul is calling us to be appreciative to God. Thankful for what he has given us. So how can a heart and spirit of thankfulness to God help with our anxiety?

If we are thankful for what we have, we can realize that God is the great provider. Even if the next situation doesn’t go well, in our eyes, we have been given so much by Him. Since He has provided in the past, He will provide again. While we have no idea what the future holds we are thankful we know God, who does hold the future. That God knows best what we need, and He will give it to us because He is a good father.

If you're wrestling with anxiety, please don't struggle in isolation. Contact Foundations to get started on the path to healing and freedom today!

- Tim Madden, MDiv


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