According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million Americans above the age of 18 every single year. This is about 18% of the total population, making anxiety a significant issue.
Unfortunately, anxiety disorders are not often taken seriously. Rather than recognize the serious impact anxiety can have on a person’s life and health, many will choose to tough it out.
Toughing it out is a mentality perpetuated by a culture unwilling to recognize and accept its own weakness. Accepting anxiety as a legitimate thing is a sign of weakness, and something to be avoided in our culture.
The culture of toughing it out is perpetuated in the Christian community as well, but with spiritual undertones. Instead of refusing to acknowledge the impact of anxiety because of a desire to hide weakness, Christians will often choose to hide behind the joy of the Lord, relying heavily on passages promising deliverance from anxiety.
Have you ever considered turning to Scripture for anxiety relief? While Scripture does promise an ultimate deliverance from fear and anxiety, it also covers topics of wrestling with anxiety, sitting in pain, and God meeting his followers in times of anxiety.
Below is a list of Bible verses about not worrying, covering the multifaceted teaching of the Bible on anxiety.
What Does the Bible Say about Anxiety?
An Invitation to Freedom
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.’” – Luke 12:22
This passage comes from one of Jesus’ most famous teachings, His Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon, Jesus lays out some of his most fundamental concepts about Christian living. Nestled in the foundational teachings of Jesus is a clear reference to anxiety in the Bible. He says that as Christians, we are not to worry about things in life like food, clothing, or health.
On the surface, this teaching sounds extreme. Is Jesus saying we really shouldn’t be concerned with things like food and clothing? However, in context, it makes more sense. Jesus is explaining the values of the kingdom. He elevates the standard of what it means to live a fulfilled life. He does this for a lot of topics covered in the Old Testament and does the same with anxiety.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is revealing the principles of His kingdom, and His kingdom is not one ruled by anxiety.
Jesus is declaring a promise of provision for His people. In this passage, He invites people to live from a place of trust and faith in Him, rather than from a place of anxiety consumed with the worldly circumstances.
As a result, this passage is both an invitation and a warning. It is an invitation into a life of faith free from anxiety, and a warning that, as Christians, we will be tempted to live in fear surrounding our circumstances.
Bring It to Him
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalm 34:4
The Psalms have more to say about anxiety than any other book in the Bible. While the teaching may not come in the straight forward, logical style of the New Testament, it is teaching nonetheless. The Psalms show us rather than tell us.
In the verse quoted above, we can hear the cry of the psalmist, reaching out to God in the midst of seemingly unmanageable circumstances. Note that the psalmist doesn’t try to deal with things himself or clean himself up before God.
Instead, it is in the midst of his panic and anxiety that he comes to God. This passage shows us that we don’t need to hide fear or anxiety from God but can bring it to Him, where He promises to meet us in our time of need.
Lay It All Down
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Is carrying your anxiety and fear is exhausting? Do you keep trying to be joyful and worship, but nothing seems to rid you from the overwhelming stress? Did you know that Jesus invites you to lay your burden downs?
You don’t have to fix your stuff but are invited to come and leave it at the feet of Jesus. He promises to meet you and lighten your load. Acknowledging your anxiety and fear and laying it down at the feet of Jesus is one of the first steps toward freedom.
Feel It and Let It Go
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” – Psalm 55:22
This is another passage exemplifying the psalmist in weakness depending on God. He isn’t trying to figure things out or put on a brave face. Instead, he is learning to “cast your cares on the Lord.” This requires the psalmist to acknowledge his cares, feel them, and hand them over.
The process for us will involve feeling the emotions, processing them with trusted confidants, and eventually handing them over to the One who will “never let the righteous be shaken.” You don’t have to hide your anxiety and fear from God. He can handle your anxiety, but He also doesn’t expect you to live carrying these burdens alone.
Choose How to Respond
“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.” – Philippians 4:6-7
This passage more fully explains the process of trusting in God in the face of anxiety. When we experience difficult situations that produce anxiety, we have a choice. Will we rely on earthly hopes, producing anxiety and fear, or rely on God, the one who ultimately can provide for us?
In this passage, the Apostle Paul spells out a specific response of trusting God, coming before Him in prayer and petition, with a Spirit of thankfulness as we request for Him to work and act. Another response is to let anxiety take control and operate from a place of fear.
One will lead you down a road of compromise and destruction, while the other will ultimately lead you to a deep place of confidence and peace. It’s easy at first glance to think this passage is just telling you not to be anxious, but Paul is actually outlining a way for you to respond with trust when you feel anxious.
Christian Counseling for Anxiety
It seems there is a lot in the Bible about anxiety. And it’s more than just a command to be joyful because God is good. It teaches a complex, emotionally vulnerable message about bringing our real concerns to God, so you can cast your cares on the Lord.
While you might be pointed toward Bible verses about not worrying, the teachings of Scripture for anxiety are much deeper and more meaningful than toughing it out. Jesus’ heart breaks for His children, and He wants to meet you in the places of pain and anxiety so you can ultimately be freed from them.
If you’re looking for additional help overcoming anxiety, contact one of the anxiety counselors in our counselor directory to schedule an appointment.