Have you experienced not being able to sleep and so you spend time trying to persuade yourself to sleep, but instead, end up awake all the more? The more you think about going to sleep, the more you won’t be able to sleep.
This principle, in most, but not all situations, is true. Whatever you think more, it’s what you become more, or what you’d be more inclined to or get familiar with.
The same happens when you’re anxious. The more you think about trying to make your anxiousness go away, the more you feel it and the more it comes rushing.
That’s why we don’t really fight against it, but we make it leave by crowding it out with other things.
To crowd out anxiety means to fill your mind with something else other than anything about anxiety.
In the previous blog post (read it here), we talked about the power that we have over our own mind against that of the enemy. And we have the power to control what we should think and do. Using that power, it’s up to us what we feed our minds with, the things we let our thoughts be influenced with.
In the mind control class that I took a few weeks ago, one thing I learned is we can crowd out anxiety by focusing on other things that keep us relaxed and happy. The professor suggested some ideas like watching comedies, play some sports, have fun at your home with karaoke and games.
Those are actually fun, and they’d make you forget anxiety. They’re good in a lot of ways, but they can never sustain. The fun they give that makes you busy is limited, and they can end anytime soon once you’re tired.
As a Christian, there is a better way for us to crowd out anxiety. It’s something lasting and available all the time, and it’s not ‘fun’ that comes out of it, but pure joy and peace. The Bible tells us so in Philippians 4:8.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8 NLT
Whenever you begin to think negative thoughts (you’ll know when you are because you’re starting to feel miserable and ugly), open your Bible and pray Philippians 4:8. Let the Holy Spirit remind you again of the truth about God, His purpose and love for you, His blessings and privileges for His children, His power manifested in your weaknesses, and His goodness and mercy that gives you joy and peace.
This is the truth: God loves you so much.
This is honorable: He gave His son to save you.
This is just: Jesus laid down His life to save you.
This is pure: You have been redeemed by Jesus’ blood and you’re now white as snow.
This is lovely: You are a new creation when you accept Jesus.
This is commendable: You can now live a righteous life by the grace of God.
This is excellence: God enables you to obey His will and live His purpose.
This is worthy of praise: Jesus.
It’s basically all about Jesus. It’s filling your mind with the foundation of your faith—Jesus. It’s remembering the salvation and new life He gave you. And when you give Him the recognition, you will begin to see all other beautiful things that He has favored you with.
It’s when you focus on remembering, realizing, and believing what’s true, honorable, excellent, and worthy of praise that you can totally crowd out anxiety. When your mind is filled with those wonderful, joyful, and truthful things, then there will be no more space for your anxious thoughts to dwell in.
You might be thinking that when you do this, you’re being passive and trying to forget the problems. It’s not. It’s not about forgetting your problems, but instead making both your thoughts and body be calm for you to be decisive and effective in handling your situation.
When you fill your mind with God’s truth, then you’ll realize that the enemy has no power over your thoughts anymore.
This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on Anxiety. The other parts are linked below.
Part 1 is about how self-control an essential gift to overcome our anxiety that the enemy is taking advantage of. You can read it here.
Part 3 talks about how rejoicing in the Lord is healing or an antidote to anxiety, and how do we find that joy in Him. Read post here.