By itself, anxiety is just an emotion like any other. There is nothing bad or sinful about it. God gave us emotions to help us relate to other people and the world around us. Anxiety is meant to be a helpful tool, not a burden. When it starts to creep in, we should try to figure out how we are in danger or what is bothering us.
Just as hunger indicates a need for food, anxiety at its core shows a need for security and peace. However, in our fallen world, emotions can be warped which can cause us to act in ways that harm ourselves and others. Thus anxiety can lead to not trusting God.
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus states that we should trust in Him instead of allowing anxiety to control us: \”Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. \” (New American Standard Bible)
As someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD, I find trusting in God very difficult. My mental illness is not a sin, but when I willfully choose not to try turning to God, then I am disobeying His word. In doing so, I not only hurt myself and those around me but also my relationship with Him.
Thankfully, there are many Bible verses about managing anxiety and turning to God instead of despair. Numerous saints also left us with words of wisdom regarding this difficult subject. When in a stressful place, remembering the words of others can be extremely comforting. Thus, here are some of the Scriptures and quotes from saints regarding anxiety that touched me.
Scriptures (NASB) on anxiety
- \”In peace I will both lie down and sleep,/For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.\” – Psalm 4:8
- \”He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me,/ For they are many who strive with me.\” – Psalm 55:18
- \”Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,/ But a good word makes it glad.\”- Proverbs 12:25
- \”Yet those who wait for the Lord/ Will gain new strength;/They will mount up with wings like eagles,/ They will run and not get tired,/ They will walk and not become weary.\” – Isaiah 40:31
- \”Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.\” – Matthew 6:34
- \”And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. Sodo not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.\” - Matthew 10:28-31
- \”The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” – Luke 10:41-42
- \”Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.\” – 1 Peter 5:7
Saint quotes on anxiety
- \”If we have any natural defect, either in mind or body, let us not grieve and feel sorry for ourselves. Who can tell whether, if we had been given a larger share of ability or stronger health, or greater wealth, we would have possessed them to the destruction of our soul!\” - St. Alphonsus Liquori
- \”Watch, O Lord, with those who wake or watch or weep tonight, and give your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest your weary ones. Bless your dying ones. Soothe your suffering ones. Pity your afflicted ones, shield your joyous ones. And all for love\’s sake.\” - St. Augustine of Hippo
- \”And of what should we be afraid? Our captain on this battlefield is Christ Jesus. We have discovered what we have to do. Christ has bound our enemies for us and weakened them that they cannot overcome us unless we so choose to let them. So we must fight courageously and mark ourselves with the sign of the most Holy Cross.\” - St. Catherine of Sienna
- \”Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.\” - St. Clare of Assisi
- \”Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?\” – St. Gerard Majella
- “Do not have any anxiety about the future. Leave everything in God’s hands for he will take care of you.” – St. John the Baptist de La Salle
- \”If certain thoughts bother you, it is devil who causes you to worry, and not God, Who, being the spirit of peace, grants you tranquility.\” - St. Padre Pio
There are many more words of peace and comfort in the Bible and from saints. If you have others to add, please leave them in a comment. I hope that these ones will be calming and reassuring when you struggle with anxiety.