Before my first manic episode and diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I was still working as an occupational therapist. I began having mood swings which I attributed to PMS. The mood swing worsened and I became anxious because I had no answers. I began having panic attacks at work which affected my work. I finally had to take a leave of absence. Without the occupational therapy, I felt worthless. The anxiety still creeped into my everyday life. A couple of weeks after I took a leave of absence, I had my first manic episode. I felt like I had lost all control. It took a few years for the bipolar disorder to get under control due to medication. I found out that I learned many lessons from the bipolar disorder. I felt strengthened and the anxiety was replaced with His peace that passes all understanding. I praised God for His peace and His presence in my life.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).
WHAT’S IN A WORD?
Anxiety is “a state of being uneasy, apprehensive, or worried about what may happen” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). It is “painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). It is “to draw in different directions, distract…that which causes this, a care, especially an anxious care” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).
Peace is “an undisturbed state of mind; absence of mental conflict; serenity” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). It is “a state of tranquility or quiet” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). It is “the sense of rest and contentment” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).
Anxiety is prevalent in today’s society. “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up” (Proverbs 12:25, NIV). It indeed weighs a person down. Anxiety fills us with unrest and discomfort.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22, NIV).
Read Psalm 55:22. What are we to cast on the Lord?
What will God do in response?
What will God never let happen.
We all need the sustaining force that God offers. When we cast our cares on the Lord, He will indeed sustain us. We can then praise God for helping us through every trial we face.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1, NIV).
Read John 14:1. What are we not to let our hearts be?
What did Jesus desire for us to do?
When we believe in God, we can believe in Christ. God has the best in mind for us. However, anxiety can weigh our hearts and trouble us. Anxiety interferes with the peace that God offers.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3, NIV).
Read Isaiah 26:3. How is peace described?
What must our minds be to keep in perfect peace?
What do they do in God?
Trust brings peace. We must have steadfast minds to obtain perfect peace. When peace comes, we can draw near to God for help.
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14, NIV).
Read Psalm 34:14. What are we to turn from?
What are we to do?
What are we to seek and pursue?
When we seek peace and pursue it, our relationship with God is strengthened. Anxiety is not present in peace. We can then praise God for being close to us to help us do His will.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV).
Read John 14:27. What did Jesus leave with His followers?
What did Jesus not give as?
What should we not let our hearts be?
What did Jesus say for us not to be?
What a marvelous gift of peace that Jesus left for us. We do not have to let our hearts be troubled or afraid as we seek God in all we do. We do not look at what the world gives because the world is filled with empty promises.
YOUR HEART’S DESIRE
We all experience anxiety from time to time. The good news is that we can turn to God for help in the midst of our trials. This will bring us His peace that passes all understanding.
Name a time when you felt anxious.
What trial was you facing?
How did you cry out to God?
What Scripture spoke to you during this time?
How did God bring you peace?
What marvelous peace we can have. We can praise God in the midst of our trials and obtain peace. We can then find the strength to face whatever comes our way.
Dear Heavenly Father, I surrender my anxious cares to You this day. Fill me with Your peace that passes understanding. I praise and worship You for this peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
NUGGETS OF WISDOM
Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. Author unknown
Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength. C.H. Spurgeon
No God, no peace. Know God, know peace. Author unknown
Peace is the tranquility of order. Augustine of Hippo
There is never any peace for those who resist God. Francois Fenelon