Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life. NLT
I wish I would remember to pray this prayer that David prayed, every time I began feeling anxious. It is so complete in its scope. If I break it down into its parts it gives me a plan to deal with my stress.
Search me, O God, and know my heart – David is well aware that God already knows all things, including his thoughts and motives. I believe he is basically saying, “Okay, God, let’s map this out. Let’s get real. Don’t let me get into my excuses, because you know when I’m lying and when I’m trying to hide things. And you know what freaks me out, and how my past experiences affect me.”
Test me and know my anxious thoughts – “So now that I’m thinking about what the problem is and we can look at the whole picture, let’s get specific and talk about the anxiety I’m feeling and make sure I’m examining these thoughts , too.”
Point out anything in me that offends you – “So here I am, I know these feelings are trying to tell me something, I’m just not sure what it is. Would you clarify this for me, I just can’t see past these anxious thoughts.”
Lead me along the path of everlasting life. – “Don’t leave me here in this anxious place. Help me focus on the bigger picture, help me move in the right direction. I know you have a better plan and these anxious thoughts have no place in my life if I am trusting you.”
And that’s it! My anxiety often comes when I take on too much of the burden or the responsibility. When I remember to trust God, when I remember he is active in my life shaping me and teaching me, that’s when I can let go of the anxiety and allow his peace to flow into me. Sometimes it is just this simple. Sometimes I am the one making it hard on myself and all I need to do is refocus. This is a good place to start, but I’m not naive, sometimes God will expect me to “do” something and not just passively “refocus” my thinking.
Next time you are feeling anxious, would you try praying this scripture? Maybe you have another verse that speaks to you, would you be willing to share it here in the comments? Let’s help each other learn new ways to lessen our anxiety in this stress filled world.