8 Scriptures to Read When You’re Anxious


best scriptures to read when you're anxious

Anybody else struggling with anxious thoughts lately?

When I’m anxious, my mind starts swirling—fast and wild, a tornado of thoughts. If I want to stop the madness, I have to turn to godly friends and godly words. I can’t share my friends with you (sorry), but I can share some of my favorite anxiety-fighting Bible verses. These scriptures speak peace to my paranoia and bring logic to my emotions. They bring God into whatever situation I’m worried about. They remind me that He is aware and I’m not alone. They remind me that however big my problems may feel, my God is much bigger. My God is big enough, wise enough, kind enough. They remind me that God stands outside time and outside what is humanly possible—and with Him, all difficulties are manageable.

Whether you have chronic anxiety or you’re just going through a stressful season of life, if you’re feeling anxious, these scriptures will help. They are also helpful scriptures to read with your kids and teens when they are anxious. No, these passages won’t make your problems go away, but they will help you find a more godly viewpoint for whatever you are worrying about.

8 Scriptures to Read When You’re Anxious

best Bible verses to read when you're anxious

1. Psalm 131

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and forevermore.

I stumbled upon this psalm when I was a stressed-out teenager, and I’ve been reading it ever since! “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me”…how I love that. Sometimes I find myself worrying over things that are God’s concern, not mine. That person who needs to change? Not my job—God’s job. That scary situation in the world that needs fixing? Not my job—God’s job. I can bring the problem before God, then leave it where it belongs—in His capable hands.

“I am like a weaned child with its mother…I am content.” My five-year-old still believes I can do anything and I know everything. (Please, no one tell her differently for a few years!) When I step on the scene, all her problems are about to be fixed. Her little world is safe and secure. That’s how we should feel with God—and the best thing is, He can do anything, and He does know everything!

2. Psalm 37:1–11

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity.

Please oh please meditate on the whole psalm, but for the sake of space I’m just including the first 11 verses. I read this psalm whenever I’m angry or obsessing over something that’s out of my control—conflict with a coworker or friend? Your reputation at risk from gossip or unfairness? Something bad happening in your kid’s life and you can’t fully protect them from it? This is your psalm. It’s a sanity- and righteousness-saver, reminding us that God loves justice even more than we do, and in His time, in His way, He will find a way to set things right…but in the meantime, our anger and anxiety accomplish nothing.


Let’s keep in touch! Sign up for my newsletter here and I’ll send you a free ebook:

How to Find God—and Joy—When Life Is Hard


 

3. Psalm 25:1–17 (emphasis added)

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.

I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good….

14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
    and free me from my anguish.

Again, please look up the whole Psalm. But how comforting is this? Our hope must be in God—in God, not in circumstances. Not in people. Not in our own abilities. And when should it be in Him? All. Day. Long. And aren’t these the very words you long to say to God? “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.” And we all say, “Amen.”

4. Matthew 10:28–31

 “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 hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

We fear the wrong things (and people), don’t we? We worry over temporary, earth-bound problems, but Jesus always encourages us to remember what really matters: pleasing God and making it to heaven. And then He encourages us: We are valuable to God, noticed by God, known by God.

5. 1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

It doesn’t get any simpler—or more encouraging—than this, does it? He cares for you. He wants to carry your worries. Repeat those words 1,000 times—or as many times as it takes until you believe them!

6. Psalm 27:1–5, 13–14 (emphasis added)

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
    to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock….

13I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Be strong. Take heart. The Lord is our stronghold—who then shall we fear? We can have every confidence that we will see the goodness of God—and not just in heaven—now. Here. On earth. We need only wait for Him.

7. Luke 10:38–42

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

“You are worried and upset about many things.” Um, yep. Guilty. Jesus’ kind words to Martha—can’t you hear the friendly affection in the way He says, “Martha, Martha”?—are a powerful reminder that sometimes, like Martha, we are stressed out because we are focused on the wrong things. The here and now, the mundane details of daily life, the way our behavior and performance might be perceived by others…but our walk with God deserves our first and best attention.

8. Philippians 4:6–7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? How often have I prayed these words, claiming them as a promise: “Lord, I give my worries to You. Please give me your powerful peace. Please guard my heart and protect my mind from worry and fear.”

I pray these verses help to give you the peace you need and the faith you seek as you battle anxiety!


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

My new books, When God Says, “Go” and When God Says, “Wait”

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When Mugs Break: Lessons in Fear

When Your Life Feels Wasted

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It’s GO time for When God Says, “Go!”


When God Says Go

Here we go again!

After months spent burning the midnight—er, light bulbs—at Starbucks, downing more caffeine than one small human should consume, and begging God nonstop for wisdom and inspiration and courage, today When God Says, “Go” is going out into the world!

So what’s this book about?

If you are facing a challenge that has you scared to death…I wrote this book for you.

If you are facing change you never saw coming…I wrote this book for you.

If scary things make you want to run hide under the covers…I wrote this book for you.

If hard things make you want to curl up in a ball in a puddle of tears…I wrote this book for you.

If it’s time to find courage that you have never needed before, and never wanted to need… I wrote this book for you.

When God says, “Go,” we face one of life’s greatest decisions.
When God says, “Go,” we must face our fears. . .our excuses. . .and our selves.
When God says, “Go,” it’s time to answer His call wherever it leads.

In this book, we walk alongside people of the Bible who were called by God to fulfill His purposes. . .people like Moses, Esther, Abigail, Jeremiah, Mary, and others. These Bible heroes responded much like we do—with a jumbled-up inner storm of excitement and fear, insecurity and hope. Their stories and struggles can provide a roadmap for our stories, helping us face our own doubts, regrets, and worries.

When God calls, it’s time to go. Maybe somewhere new, someplace you’ve never been. Maybe it’s time to go forward after being stuck with one foot in the past. Maybe it’s time to go deeper—in Bible study or relationships. Time to go higher—in prayer or dreams. Time to go and give—to use talents and opportunities God has given. Or maybe it’s time to go and grow, right where you are. . .to dig into the Word, dive into your heart, and become the person God is calling you to be.

When God Says, “Go” is suitable for study by a coed audience and makes the perfect gift for graduates! You can also download a free small-group discussion guide.

Before we go: I want to send a supersonic, all-caps-because-I’m-so-grateful-and-my-fingers-are-shouting THANK YOU to all the people who have helped this little book enter the world. (You can read all about their wonderfulness in the book’s acknowledgments, but—sending thanks to my family and friends; my writing partner, Emma; my agent, Jessica Kirkland; the outstanding team at Barbour—Kelly! Shalyn! Liesl! Mary! Lauren! Faith! Morgan!—I owe them all more than I can say.) A very big thank you to friends who endorsed this book: Andy LeeEmily LeySpence HackneyCaroline Harries, Sarah PhilpottBekah PogueTracy Steel, Courtney Westlake…I am humbled and honored by the gift of your words.

I also want to send a big shout-out to my launch team members (you know who you are!) for sharing your time, your hearts, and your words in order to help this book find its place.

And thank YOU for being part of my life and writing ministry!

You can purchase When God Says, “Go” at any of these retailers:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

ChristianBook

Google Play

Ready or not, God is calling us all to go somewhere new in our walk with Him. So what are we waiting for? Let’s answer His call. Ready? Set? Here we go!


If you want to help give this book a little push out into the world, here are some easy ways you can do so:

  • Leave a book review on Amazon, B & N, ChristianBook, or Goodreads. (This is a huge help for authors!)
  • You can recommend that your church use the book as a study series. It is packed with scripture and is suitable for study by a coed audience. (You can download the free small-group discussion guide here.)
  • Tell your church that When God Says, “Go” makes the perfect congregational gift for high school and college graduates!
  • Share about the book’s release on social media.


When God Says Wait: Navigating Life's Detours and Delays Without Losing Your Faith, Your Friends, or Your Mind

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When It’s Time for a Do-Over


The other day I was talking to one of my daughters, and I misunderstood something she was asking me to do—midway through our conversation, I realized I had handled the whole thing wrong. She had needed my help on a school project, and I’d been absent and unhelpful. When I realized what she was asking and how unhelpful I had been, I felt awful. So midway through the conversation I stopped her and said, “Hey, I just realized I have been completely misunderstanding what you were asking me to do and why. I’m so sorry—I didn’t say what I should have said. Can you forgive me and can I please have a do-over? I really want to help you on your project, and I’d like to respond a totally different way.” You know what’s amazing about kids? She grinned and forgave me and we started the whole conversation over again. The next time, I got it right. 

We are big fans of do-overs in our house. Mom is impatient? Let’s have a do-over. A kid is whining? Let’s have a do-over. Siblings get too mad too fast? Let’s have a do-over. Husband and wife get snippy with each other? Let’s have a do-over.

If we can learn to offer each other swift grace with no time spent in the dog house, what a happy place our family becomes. Instead of hurt feelings, we enjoy gracious forgiveness; instead of stuffed feelings, we allow quick repentance. We learn to believe the best in each other. We fill our families with the forgiveness, trust, and kindness our heavenly Father so generously exemplifies for us.

Let’s stay in touch! Sign up for my newsletter here and I’ll send you a free ebook:

How to Find God—and Joy—When Life Is Hard.


If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

My new book, When God Says, “Go”—now available for preorder! 

13 Scriptures to Help Siblings Get Along

On Pinkeye, Lice, and Love

When Life Poops on Your Party

13 Scriptures to Read with Your Daughter


tips for helping siblings get along

 

 

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Book Birthday and Giveaway!


How has it been one year already? After fourteen years and ten million prayers, on March 1, 2017, my first traditionally published book, When God Says, “Wait,” made its way into the world!

By the grace of God, through the hard work of the amazing team at Barbour Publishing, and with the help of wonderful friends and family and fellow book-loving believers, WGSW has sold 12,000 books in its first year! (If this were a text message, here’s the part where we would add in Praise Hands and that shocked-looking emoji with the google eyes.) I can’t tell you how grateful I am to all who have helped this little book along its way. Thank you for the prayers, the reviews, the kind words, and all the ways you have shared this book with your friends and family. It all means more than you will ever know.

On May 1, WGSW will become a “big sister” to a follow-up book, When God Says, “Go.” These two little book babies, like my first two children, will be born 14 months apart! (Time for more Praise Hands and google-eyes!) When God Says, “Go” is already available for preorder, and audiobooks are in the works for both titles.

 

To celebrate WGSW’s one-year book birthday, this week I’m hosting a book giveaway until March 7! Enter below (scroll all the way down), and the winner receives two books of your choice: Choose from When God Says, “Wait,” When God Says, “Go” (yep, I’ll send you an advanced reader copy, whaaaaat?!), The Tender Years: Parenting Preschoolers, or my middle grade novel, The Thirteenth Summer. 

 

Would you like to help me celebrate WGSW’s book birthday? If so, here are a few ways to party with me:

 

1. Share the image above on social media, perhaps including a few lines about how WGSW has ministered to you. (Or you could simply share this post!)

2. Invite friends and family to buy WGSW. You can point them to AmazonBarnes & NobleChristian Book, and Lifeway.

3. If you’re super-duper motivated, you could also share that WGSW is about to be a “big sister” to a follow-up book, When God Says, “Go”—now available for preorder! Preorders are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ChristianBook.com. (Links are below if you need them.)

I am forever and for-always thankful for your prayers, support, and friendship.

xoxo

Elizabeth

Purchase links for When God Says, “Wait”

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

Lifeway

Purchase links for When God Says, “Go” 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

 

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My crazy brother, David–love him!Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome, and the four Thompson Crazies 

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When Life Stinks


how to change your attitude using the Bible

“There you go—all clean!” He picks his daughter up off the changing table and gives her a snuggle. She pats his face, giggling as his mustache tickles her fingers.

He flies her, Superbaby-style, into the kitchen. She squeals with delight; he finally dares to breathe through his nose. “Wow, that was an impressive diaper,” he tells her, wrinkling his nose and chuckling. “You even polluted the air in the kitchen! Who knew someone so sweet could make something so gross?”

He straps her into the high chair. “How about some banana?”

As he peels and slices the fruit, he grimaces. “You know what? It still smells funky in here. I’m going to get some air freshener.”

Handing his daughter the banana, he heads to the bathroom for a can of air freshener. As he sprays it in the kitchen, he whispers, “Don’t tell your mother. She’ll say I’m contaminating the food.”

The baby grins. “Gah.”

Twenty minutes later, they sit together on the couch, pointing to pictures in a board book. As his daughter’s chubby fingers pat the pictures, his nose sends out panicked alerts. “Again?” he asks the back of his daughter’s head. “No more black beans for you, my friend.”

Bible verses to help your attitude

With a sigh, he takes her back to the changing table. But when he opens her diaper, he blinks. “Pump fake! You’re totally clean!”

She giggles agreement. “Bah!”

He puts her down for a nap and sits at his desk, trying to catch up on emails. He takes a deep breath and gags. “Sheesh, that child has contaminated this entire house!” He grabs the air freshener and squares his shoulders. He marches room to room, spraying—a firefighter dousing a blaze.

When he is done, a fake-flower-scented mist hangs heavy in the air. Eyes watering, he sits back down at his desk and tries to concentrate.

An hour later, he hears his wife’s keys in the front door. He meets her at the door and holds out the baby—her fat little legs kick happily in the air between them. “This child,” he says, his voice sounding a little more manic than he wants it to, “has serious gastrointestinal issues. I am telling you, this is not normal. I had college roommates who smelled better than her! We have to take her to the doctor—she will never make a single friend if she smells like this.”

Laughing, his wife takes the baby and raises her toward her face.

“Don’t do it!” the husband warns. “Your nose will never recover!”

The wife rolls her eyes and presses her nose against the baby’s padded bottom. The husband waits for her gag reflex to kick in.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about—she smells amazing! Baby fresh!” Cuddling the baby to her cheek, the wife steps inside. “The house, on the other hand…did a can of air freshener explode in here?”

Her husband gapes at her. “What–what–how can you not smell her? I’ve been dying a slow death by methane poisoning all morning!”

Laughing, his wife takes a step toward him, placing a hand on his cheek. “Darling, I can promise you that no one has ever died from—” She narrows her eyes and leans in close. Sniffs. Recoils for a moment, then leans back in, squinting hard at his face.

“What?” he says, stepping back from her scrutiny. “You’re freaking me out!”

His wife raises a finger and points. A smile tugs at one side of her mouth. “Mystery solved. You’ve got baby poop in your mustache.”

A friend once told me this story—a true story that happened to one of his friends (the overall situation is real; the dialogue I invented). I gag—and laugh—every time I remember it. Call me weird (I prefer the term “quirky”), but I’ve found some profound life lessons in this story. (I know what you’re thinking: Why do all of Elizabeth’s life lessons seem to revolve around disgusting things like poop and lice? I’ve got five words for you: four kids and a dog.)

So hold your nose and bear with me while we hash this out: Have you ever had a day—or a season of days—where everything just….stinks? Everywhere you go, life seems dark, people seem mean. Misfortune and misunderstanding haunt you, malicious shadows.

In times like that, when life seems darker than usual, I find it helpful to ask myself, “Is life really as awful as it seems…or do I just have poop on my upper lip?” In other words, am I carrying around a stinky attitude that is polluting the way I experience the world? Am I walking into beautiful, fresh-scented rooms, but carrying my own negative aroma with me—an air freshener in reverse?


Let’s keep in touch! Sign up for my newsletter here and I’ll send you a free ebook: 


Sometimes our experience of the world changes, not because the world has changed, but because we have.

Maybe someone has hurt our feelings, and the unresolved hurt we are hanging onto makes us view all other relationships with mistrust. We begin to see people through a filter of skepticism; every relationship becomes a potential source of pain.

Maybe we feel disappointed by God, let down by a promise yet unanswered, and we find ourselves becoming cynical, sarcastic, jaded. Angry with God, expecting the worst, determined to take care of ourselves if God won’t do the job.

Maybe we’ve lost something or someone, and the loss casts a shadow of sadness and fear over our should-be-happy moments.

Jeremiah 17, the famous passage about depending on God, contains a fascinating turn of phrase:

The man who trusts in mankind,

who makes human flesh his strength

and turns his heart from the Lord is cursed.

He will be like a juniper in the Arabah;

he cannot see when good comes

but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness.

                        Jeremiah 17:5–6 HCSB, emphasis added

            Take a look at those emphasized verses: he cannot see good when it comes. Sometimes God is blessing us—life is good, people are kind, blessings abound—but our own perspective has clouded our view, tainted our experience, of the world. We’ve taken our eyes off God and His power and goodness. We’ve become self-focused and tunnel-visioned, our senses warped by pain and disappointment, so we cannot see—or smell!—the good when it comes.

The next time your life feels like a series of misfortunes, or God seems distant, or friends seem scarce, try taking a look in the mirror. Maybe you really are going through a miserable time; maybe you really are facing more than your fair share of difficulty; maybe people truly are being cruel and selfish…or maybe, just maybe, you’ve got poop on your upper lip.

 

Need some biblical air freshener to help change your perspective?

Try studying these scriptures—they are about forgiveness, joy, and trusting God:

Habakkuk 3:16–19

Psalm 37

Psalm 147:1–7

Matthew 6:5–15

Matthew 18:21–35

Philippians 4:4–9

Philippians 4:11–13

Here’s to breathing fresh air, my friends!


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

My new book, When God Says, “Wait”

When God Says Wait: Navigating Life's Detours and Delays Without Losing Your Faith, Your Friends, or Your Mind

On Pinkeye, Lice, and Love

13 Reasons Moms Never Get Haircuts

When Being a Grown-up Means You’re Still Growing Up

When Your Life Feels Wasted

Don’t forget to claim your free ebook here!     

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