The world has changed more in the past 30 years than it has in the past 300 years. Before the internet, if something happened on the other side of the world, it took days or even weeks to finally reach us. Now, however, we find out things minutes after they happen. We’re bombarded day in and day out with 24-hour news about tragedies across the globe.
This constant feed of negativity has taken its toll on people. As a result, we are now the most anxious generation of people for as long as we’ve been measuring it. We’re anxious about our financial troubles, our relationships, and the constant barrage of frightening events taking place every day worldwide.
According to the pastor and bestselling author Max Lucado, we can learn to live without this constant anxiety and find calm in our everyday lives. The secret to being anxious for nothing isn’t even really a secret: In fact, there’s a step-by-step guide readily available in the most-read book in the world: The Bible.
It’s worth noting here that while Lucado’s advice is based in Christianity, his message is still useful for non-Christians. Whether you worship the Abrahamic God or not, Anxious for Nothing offers advice that can benefit everyone, though the details may need altering to suit your specific spiritual needs.
Max Lucado bases his book’s philosophy on Philppians 4 of the Bible’s New Testament. This Bible passage has been resonating with people for centuries, but now more than ever people seem to be turning to it; verses 6 and 7 are one of the most-highlighted passages in three different versions of the Bible on Kindle, according to Amazon.
Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus. (New King James Version)
The passage is written by Paul, who was in prison at the time of writing, and in it he documents instructions on how to live a life free of unnecessary worry. Lucado expands on Paul’s ideas in his book Anxious for Nothing, using the acronym CALM to outline Paul’s instructions for finding calm in a chaotic world.
First, take a moment to celebrate God and all He’s created. Yes, there is trouble in the world, but there is also exquisite beauty and goodness all over, though that goodness is sometimes hard to appreciate until it’s taken from us.
Ask God for help
Lucado stresses the importance of being specific in your prayers when asking for help. Force yourself to think about what’s really troubling you. Naming a fear is the first step to defeating it.
Leave concerns with God
It’s normal to be concerned with what’s going on in the world or with people in your life, but asking one person to shoulder all the worries of the world is dangerous, unfair, and foolhardy. No one person can be responsible for all the world’s ills, and there’s no shame in letting them go.
Meditate on good things
Anxiety is an unfortunate (though important!) part of our reality, but it doesn’t have to be our only reality. Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the good things in our lives is one of the easiest and fastest remedies for anxiety. Lucado equates gratitude and anxiety to bad roommates: When one appears, the other can’t help but leave!
Increase faith to decrease fear
We can’t control most of the things in our lives. Nor can we control when we get sick or when others commit acts of cruelty or terror. We can’t control other people’s opinions of us. And, no matter how badly we want to, we can’t control when or how we’ll eventually die.
Our anxiety most often stems from these things we can’t control. It’s for that reason that Lucado stresses the importance of leaving concerns with your higher power. If we worry about everything else that’s happening in the world, we can’t focus on the most important part of our lives: Ourselves.
Think of some anxieties you have in your life right now and write them down. How do you feel? Now come up with two things for which you’re grateful for every anxiety you have. How do you feel now?