You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever; the Lord God is an everlasting rock.Isaiah 26:3-4
Perfect peace would be so incredible – but for the many plagued with worry, anxiety, and fear, it is just a dreamy thought or concept. A goal to be reached someday, but for now, nowhere in sight. Instead, fear invades so many areas of your life. Worry and anxious fear can be enormously limiting, preventing us from flying on airplanes or taking a cruise with our family. Anxiety and panic are the root causes of eating disorders, hoarding, OCD, and other obsessive behaviors. It may drive one to shop obsessively while forcing another at home. Anxiety also modifies our decision-making process, our responses to people, and everyday life activities, thereby making us prisoners in our own minds. Yet, the crazy thing about anxiety is that the things we worry about, when examined closely, don’t really make much sense, and the thought process of worry does absolutely nothing to change the outcome. For many, it is a vicious merry-go-round that you would love to jump off!
Isaiah speaks of the need for peace because he understands and knows that we will need peace and comfort. There is no mistaking it that we live in a fearful world. Fear is about danger or sensing threat of some kind. It is a God-given mechanism – a defense against any possible danger we might face. My most fearful event of recent had to do with driving very near a rain wrapped tornado. I was terrified! In moments like this, we recognize our inability to rescue ourselves or bring about change, so trusting God seems the natural and most productive means of dealing with our fears. Believe me I was praying and seeking God’s rescue.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.Psalm 56:3
However, while fear is an understandable part of life, why do we find ourselves sensing danger in everyday situations and everyday life? Is fear itself the problem? A virus that has attached itself to us? Or is there something deeper inside our own hearts and mind?
Isaiah offers perfect peace, not as a result of several hours of psychotherapy but as a gift from the Great Counselor Himself; God is the source of perfect peace. This peace is for the taking of those “whose mind is stayed on you .”Worry and anxiety are strong emotions. They are both controlling and progressive in nature. They want to take charge and tell us how our world really is. Anxiety doesn’t care about what is logical; it only imagines danger. Anxiety is impatient and demanding; it takes on a life of its own and escalates. Therefore, it makes sense that Isaiah’s instruction has to do with having a mind stayed on God.
Where is your mind today? How has it already wandered into worry and anxiety? Having a mind stayed upon the Lord considers the many wonderful and beautiful things to be known about God. It has pleasant thoughts about Him – His love, demonstrated through Jesus’ death and resurrection. His Greatness seen in His marvelous creation. His Goodness experienced each time you eat a meal or enjoy time with friends and family. You see where I’m going? Yes, you guessed it – keep your mind stayed upon the Lord. Replace thoughts of worry, anxiety, and fear with thoughts of God, your Everlasting Rock.
I speak of fear from a heart and mind that knows about its torturous grip on life. For many years I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. It controlled my thought processes most days. It stole away my love and trust in God and replaced it with a dread of life and a fear of the future. I suffered with thoughts of dying and the idea that God would find pleasure in my early death. Sleep was often interrupted and followed by hours of mental struggle. It was finally through a renewed understanding of God, His Sovereignty, and His goodness that I found lasting peace. It was this knowledge that God used to bring healing to my soul. I now can say that God healed me of panic attacks and anxiety. I testify to Isaiah’s words; it is truly a gift from the Almighty. Whether you suffer as I did or worry about typical life issues, please know that God wants to free you and bring you peace.
Memorize passages that call your mind back from anxiety to trust in God.
Use a thought journal so you may identify the internal dialogue which pulls you away from trust toward anxiety.
Pray. Weakness is an opportunity to seek our God for strength and the ability to obey His written Word. Ask for His help in having your mind stay upon Him the whole day.