8 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
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.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 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;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 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.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 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.
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3. Psalm 25:1–17 (emphasis added)
In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
2 I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 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?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 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.
5 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!
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Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.