Lord, Help My Anxious Heart - Encouragement for Today - August 21, 2019

Jessica Thompson

August 21, 2019

Lord, Help My Anxious Heart

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“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

My oldest son has played sports since he was 10 years old.

He excelled in many different positions on the football field, but when he entered college, he was asked to play a new position — one he has never been in before. To say he was anxious is a huge understatement. He made many major mistakes — the type that cost his team wins. The more he tried to correct what he was doing, the worse the situation got. He kept trying different techniques, but the pressure was just too much for him.

He finally found solace when another player gave him some advice that had very little to do with the game. His friend told him his identity was not in how he performed, but his identity was in Christ alone. He told my son he didn’t have to be afraid of failing because God was with him and loved him during every single play of the game — whether good or bad.

The anxiety my son felt trying to perform on the field is the same anxiety my daughter often feels when she’s about to take a test or enter a brand-new social situation.

What my son’s friend told him echoes the words I tell every single one of my kids: You have a resting place, you have help, you have someone to uphold you, and you don’t have to be afraid.

Often when we see our kids struggling, we just want to slap a verse with some commands onto the situation to somehow make it better. We say something like, “Don’t be afraid! You have nothing to be anxious about. Things will be fine.” And while there may be a time and a place for that, it’s better to remind them of all the reasons why they don’t have to be afraid.

God says it so clearly in Isaiah 41:10“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Too often we tend to focus on what our children should be doing — instead of what God has already done and what He promised to continue to do for them. Maybe it’s time to give our anxious kids some good news instead of more commands to stop being fearful. That was exactly the help my son needed. He needed to hear the good news of the gospel. I think we all do.

As believers, we’re promised in Philippians 1:6 that the One who started the work in us will complete it, as the strength to endure comes from Him. We are never left alone to deal with our anxiety. God promises to help us and our kids. He will be my help as I help them.

We each need someone in our life to remind us of these truths and other beneficial ways to support good mental health. In some instances, we need to seek out help from a trusted professional if the anxiety is overwhelming. There is no shame in asking for help.

The truth is, God is holding fast to you and your children, and nothing will ever change that. Pray the Holy Spirit reminds you that you and your kids are held, you are His, He is with you, He promises strength, and He will keep you safe in His care.

Gracious Father, You are trustworthy, and yet I forget that. Too often I try to work out every situation in my own thoughts without once acknowledging You. Give me the right words to help my child. Give me a heart of love and patience. Use me to remind them that You are with them, You will be their God, You will strengthen them. Remind me You will uphold them, You will be their help. Please be my help today. Be my strength today. Remind me that You have promised to love me and my children eternally — and that You will never leave us. Please let me rest and trust in You, and help me teach my kids the same. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (ESV)

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (ESV)

If your son or daughter is suffering from anxiety, you probably have more questions than answers: What is causing the anxiety? Is this normal teenage angst or something more serious? What can I do to help? Jessica Thompson’s How to Help Your Anxious Teen: Discovering the Surprising Sources of Their Worries and Fears will help you understand the issues surrounding teenage anxiety and how you and your teen can experience greater freedom and peace.

For more from Jessica, connect with her on Instagram and Twitter at @thejesslou.

Enter to WIN a copy of How to Help Your Anxious Teen by Jessica Thompson. In celebration of this book, Harvest House Publishers is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, August 26.}

What are some ways you can help your children remember who God is in the middle of their anxiety?

© 2019 by Jessica Thompson. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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Originally published Wednesday, 21 August 2019.