My Favorite Verse
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me- everything you heard from me and saw me doing.
Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:6-9 has been my absolute favorite verse over the years. It has gotten me through so many hard times, and I pray that it can help someone else out there, too.
Life Without God.
I’m a worrier. I always have been. My stomach would get tied in knots over just about anything and I stressed out over what could possibly happen. My anxiety would then cause me more trouble and distress. Brene Brown describes anxiety as an escalating sense of loss of control, worst-case scenario thinking, and total uncertainty and describes worry as a chain of negative thoughts about bad things that might happen. This was me in a nutshell.
I lived with inner turmoil, struggle, self-doubt, and angst for years. If it sounds dramatic and exhausting, it was. I lived with twisted, distorted thoughts, thinking I would feel better when I had what I wanted and could do it my own way.
People would frustrate me and not live up to my standards and expectations. When I felt wronged, anger would spew out of me. It hijacked all of me, my thoughts, actions, feelings, and body. I didn’t even live up to my own expectations. When I would come up short, the guilt and embarrassment felt too much to bear.
Even when things were good and going my way, I felt a sense of doom looming over me and wondered when the next shoe would drop.
Growing My Relationship with God.
I’ve always had a Bible. I sometimes went to church. I called myself a Christian. But I certainly didn’t have a relationship with God.
I didn’t understand “Christianity.” I didn’t know how to read the Bible. I didn’t know how to have a relationship with God or how to talk to Him. He wasn’t approachable or present in my daily life. He was conflicting and confusing and He was easy to push to the side in order to concentrate on what I wanted in life.
But I was curious. I’d sense something from time to time and wonder if it was God. I would feel signs from Him and a little encouragement from Him. I would meet others who had a relationship with God and I was drawn to them.
The more I sought Him, the clearer He became. The more I read my Bible, prayed, found spiritual mentors, and learned about who He was and what He wanted for me, the more sense it became. The more sense it became, the more I could feel Him and hear Him.
My heart softened. My anger lifted.
My confidence shifted. My anxiety melted.
My peace surfaced. My lies became clear.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”
Paul’s advice to us is to turn our worries into prayers. Take our struggles, our desires, our wishes, our anxious thoughts to Him and surrender it all and trust that He works for our good in His timing.
If you want to worry less, then you should pray more! For me, it instantly lightens my burdens, the weight on my shoulders, and diminishes all the “I should” statements rattling my brain. Praying clears my head, gives me hope and encouragement, and brings peace to my anxious heart.
Once you pray, let it go. Trust that it is in God’s hands.
“His peace will guard your hearts and minds.”
I’m a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. I believe our minds have infinite power and what we think about, manifests in our lives. I also believe what and how we think effects our feelings and actions, and those actions decide the state of our connections with ourselves and others.
But, true peace isn’t found solely in our positive thinking, our good feelings, or our relationships with ourselves or others. It comes from God and knowing that He is in control. It is that kind of peace that guards my heart and protects my mind. And can do the same for you.
In my experience, only God can give me the peace and protection my heart and mind need.
“Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me.”
Paul makes sure to point out the fact that it’s not enough to hear or read or know about God (aka just go to church on Sundays). You have to live it.
You have to put His teachings into practice. Model your thoughts and actions like Jesus. Be obedient to what He calls you to do. Live out God’s word. It isn’t always easy or automatic. It wasn’t back then when Paul was writing this and it isn’t now.
But we must if we want to live the life that He intended for us.
How These Verses Have Affected Me Personally
Memorizing these specific verses has helped me in several different areas.
Shifts My Worried Mind
It’s my go-to statement when I start to worry. When my mind goes down that slippery slope of what-ifs, omg’s, and when I feel anxious and overwhelmed, I immediately stop and tell myself Philippians 4:6.
Memorizing scripture, reading God’s word, praying and talking to Him, asking Him for help, filling my mind with His truth, and seeking Him out in my life has brought me more peace, comfort, and protection than anyone or anything ever has or ever will.
Reminds me to Pray
Which then reminds me to pray. Because I’ll be honest, I forget. My immediate reactions to stress, anxiety, and worry have usually been to:
tell someone else,
stew about it,
react without calming down, and
then have to deal with the consequences.
But this doesn’t happen when I pray this verse. It tells me to stop and calm down. Just that act alone completely alters my immediate, gut instincts.
Gives Me Strength
I can’t understand it and I certainly can’t explain it, but the peace, strength, hope, and clarity this verse brings to me is supernatural. It’s something only God is capable of. It’s certainly outside anything I’ve ever seen a human (or medication) pull off. It helps me to feel like I can handle whatever it is that’s coming my way because God is with me and for me. When my negative, pessimistic brain reads these verses, my mindset shifts into a more positive, optimistic one where I see potential and promise.
Reminds me to Speak the truth
This verse instructs me to call out my lies, my doubts, my misconceptions, and my fears. And instead, think and speak God’s wisdom and truth. To remind myself that I am a child of God, loved, worthy, and capable. It’s my job to believe and live His truth.
Reciting Philippians 4:6-9 reminds me of what’s true and real. It reminds me to pause and pray. To shift my perspective and remember that I’m not in control, but that God is going to help protect me and help me with what comes my way in life. It gives me the strength to put one foot in front of the other and keep pushing forward. And it reminds me to take hold of my thoughts, throw out the lies, and replace them with His truth.
And that is why this verse is my favorite.
Kristi Schwegman is a psychotherapist specializing in helping couples develop healthy relationships, whether dating, engaged, or married. She also draws from her Christian-based approach to lead individuals in becoming aware of the limiting beliefs that can get them stuck.
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