London, UK

Bible in light

 PICTURE: Timothy Eberly/Unsplash

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13

This exact verse is written on a flashcard that I’ve stuck on my wall in the corner of my room, where I typically do my morning prayer time.

However, despite having this verse about peace and joy on display, earlier this month I found myself waking up every day with a panging sense of anxiety.

 "Going over the verse, I remembered it is not God’s will for me feel anxious. He is the source of hope, and His desire is to fill me with joy and peace."

I don’t experience such feelings often, but for some reason, that particular week I felt physically upset and uneasy at the start of each day, and once, I cried the entire way through my morning prayer time with God, without feeling able to string any words together. 

I didn’t feel in control of my own emotions at all. Even though I wanted to have faith that there was nothing to be worried about, and Jesus would help me with any difficulties I had to face that day, I was filled with fear and doubt. 

The next time I sat down to pray, I suddenly remembered this verse, and God revealed to me how it is a written guide to taking a stand against anxious thoughts. 

The verse clearly tells us that the power to come against anxiety does not come from us, but from the Holy Spirit, who lives in us.

Going over the verse, I remembered it is not God’s will for me feel anxious. He is the source of hope, and His desire is to fill me with joy and peace. 

I desperately wanted to receive those things, and I felt prompted to pray about it, not with hopeless tears, but with confidence in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit lives in me. If God, in Spirit form, lives inside me, and God is a God of hope, then fear and anxiety simply has no place in me, I realised. 

In my prayer, I spoke directly to anxiety, and said, "you have no hold over me, because the Holy Spirit lives in me, so I command you to flee from me now. And in the place of anxiety, I receive the joy and peace of God".

It was just a single prayer, but it changed everything on the inside of me. I noticed the anxiety went away, and the very next morning, I woke up with a sense of joy and confidence. The rest of the month went smoothly, and I watched as God made it easy for me to hit my goals at work and get through each day. 

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Of course, for those of us who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, or who have experienced anxious feelings for longer periods of time, it might potentially take more than one prayer. Church-based counselling, therapy, and mental health resources are also methods through which God can heal us by His Spirit. 

The verse also tells us that when we receive healing from the Spirit, we will overflow with confident hope. I think this is so beautiful because it means we can be a blessing to other people. Not only are we free from anxious feelings, but we can walk into a room full of stressed out and worried people, and overflow with the peace of the Holy Spirit. We can play such a powerful role in shifting the atmosphere in those kinds of rooms. 

However, if our eyes aren’t opened to the fact that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling us, we won’t be able to help others, and we ourselves will continue to live in fear. 

So, if you know that God is a God of hope, and His Spirit lives in you, then I would encourage you to act accordingly. The power of the Holy Spirit is our fool-proof, deadly weapon against those anxious thoughts that overwhelm us in sudden waves. 

Just as our Saviour stilled the sea with one word, one touch from Him can fill us with joy and peace until we’re overflowing.