In times of uncertainty, fear and anxiety can set in. Illness, job loss, financial pressure—these real-life stressors can leave a person feeling deflated and anxious. As individuals wrestle with these thoughts, how should Christians respond to the stress, anxiety, and fear they are facing?
At Abilene Christian University, our passion is helping our students approach life from a spiritual viewpoint, no matter the circumstance. Approaching difficulties with the Lord in view is important in order to protect your emotional, spiritual, and relational well-being. Focusing on these elements will help you thrive, even in the midst of challenging moments.
Focus on Spiritual Well-Being
First, in order to get through challenges, you must be able to grow your spiritual well-being. To do that, you must first recognize the sovereignty of God. Then, you need to rest in that assurance and live by faith.
Recognize the Sovereignty of God
The primary means to turn to faith over fear is recognizing that God has power over everything. He is in control, no matter what is happening in the world. This means that He will provide a means of protection or escape and has a purpose for it all. When you are able to accept and embrace this truth, and even dwell on it, it will help settle your anxious thoughts.
No matter the trial you face, you know that God is at the helm. You can rely on God’s strength even in moments of doubt or fear. Remember the words of Psalm 135:6 (ESV) “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.” For those who trust that He is working all things for good, that realization brings tremendous comfort during troublesome circumstances.
Rest in and Live by Faith
As a Christian, you must walk by faith. Faith creates trust in God and also implies how to act among challenging circumstances. Trusting in God brings astounding peace in the midst of a storm.
Remember, the Lord has a plan, and sometimes difficulties are part of that plan. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Accepting that, and moving forward with confidence will help you make it through, no matter the outcome.
Focus on Emotional Well-Being
Once you find comfort in God, it is time to focus on the emotions you feel. Acknowledging and addressing these emotions will help you promote positivity and health in your life. Here is how you can do so, even when life is not easy.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
One of the worst things you can do when dealing with a difficult time is to ignore your feelings. These feelings are valid and may be overwhelming. While you shouldn’t allow them to control you and rob you of your joy in the Lord, you do need to acknowledge them.
Learning to state what you feel in a matter-of-fact way, then turning those feelings over to God, is one of the first steps in helping you obtain joy during challenging times. Developing emotional self-awareness will help you address the way you feel in a positive way.
Redirect Fear Into Action
As you address your emotions, you will likely discover that some things about your current situation have frightened you. Fear is a natural response to uncertainty. It’s not “wrong” or “bad,” but it can be debilitating. Living in a constant state of fretting and worrying does not set one up for success in either your physical or your spiritual life.
When fear takes over, seek God. If your focus is on God’s promises more than the temporary physical circumstances, your faith will increase while your fear decreases.
Focus on Relational Well-Being
Finally, you must learn to build and grow your relationships with other people while dealing with your own struggles. Continuing to connect with others is important when trying to get through trying times.
Walk in Love with Others
When going through a trial, many people get caught up in thinking about their own needs and concerns. This is natural, but tough times are when we need the people we love the most. As you seek to balance the emotions you are feeling, make sure you seek opportunities to walk in love with those around you. By being in tune with the needs of others, you will be able to identify opportunities to serve those around you.
How can you do this? Spend time with those in your life. Quantity and quality time are both critical, and it will improve your relationships significantly. Be willing to be available to those around you, and don’t fear being vulnerable with them. You just might find that doing so helps you build a network of support that you can tap into during personal challenges.
Remember, you aren’t the only one going through something hard. Others are also struggling, and they need help, too. Paying attention to those around you will help get your mind off your problems.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Helping other peoples and investing in them is healthy, but you also must learn to set boundaries. When going through a troublesome time, you may not have the emotional reserve to give and give to others. Some relationships may prove to be dangerous or damaging. Learn to set healthy boundaries even as you grow your external relationships.
As you face difficulties, take time to focus on spiritual, emotional, and relational well-being. Prioritizing these areas can help you sustain your motivation and optimism in daily life. At Abilene Christian University, we have created an atmosphere that encourages human flourishing. We want to help you grow, both spiritually and intellectually. Learn more about our online degree programs, and see how you can fit them into your life.