Can Fearing the Lord Reduce my Anxiety? Psalm 34b

Some families pass down an inheritance of precious jewelry while others share treasured recipes written on weathered cards. Other families gift each generation with stocks or bonds. Some families even pass the ownership of a family business to the next generation.

Sadly, my family held on to the tradition of passing down a legacy of anxiety for the last few generations. Fears about finances, betrayal, and mental health were regularly stoked in my family of origin. Each child was guided down a well-worn path of anticipating worst-case scenarios. Criticism and judgment loomed largely at any gathering. In recent years, I have pursued Christian counseling to begin to dismantle the habits of anxiety in my own life.

In the second section of Psalm 34, the Lord offers a lesson on the fear of the LORD through His servant David.  

11 Come, O children, listen to me;  I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
(Psalm 34:11 ESV)

What if cultivating the fear and reverence of the Lord is an antidote for anxiety?

In my mind’s eye, I can see the Lord inviting me to draw near to Him and sit down. He wants to gather His people close and give us a gift if we will only slow down long enough to listen to His counsel. My anxiety dissipates when I choose to fear and revere the Lord and not obsess about my worries and concerns.

12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceitfully.
14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
(Psalm 34:12-14 ESV)

He begins with rhetorical questions in verse 12.

Do you want to live a long life?  

Do you want to see good?

On any given day, everyone would likely answer yes to both questions. Even tucked into the second question is a nugget of precious guidance. Someone who wishes to live long and prosper, what does he or she see? Good

Do I look for the goodness of the Lord daily?  

What if looking for the goodness of God actually allows me to find it? What if failing to do so causes me more significant anxiety?

The second piece of wisdom is found in verse 13. Can I keep my lips from evil and lies? I might very quickly say, yes, of course. I won’t lie. However, on any given day, do I speak negatively about others who are made in His image? My words reflect my heart’s attitude. The ones I speak to others and the ones I speak over myself.

Recently, I was spending time with someone who regularly and fluently speaks about God’s goodness and His people’s goodness. I mentioned a mutual friend, and her immediate response was to say, “I just love her.” Her declaration immediately pointed the conversation in a positive direction leaving no room for criticism or complaint.

Do I speak of the goodness of the Lord and His people on a daily basis?

Verse 14 challenges me to consider where I am giving my attention. The Lord advises me to turn away from evil and do good.

In a 24-hour news-saturated society, turning away from evil becomes increasingly difficult. Stories of the evil deeds of man compete for our attention. At times, the depravity of man has become a competitive sport. News outlets compete to showcase evil on repeat.  This leaves the impression that crime rates are skyrocketing and the world is overrun with violence. Is that accurate?

Within my lifetime, I have observed a tremendous societal change. Now that news services are running at all hours of the night and day, more stories must be created to fill that air time. With increasing global connectivity, we can access reports about crime all over the world that we didn’t have access to just a few decades ago. Is there actually an increase in evil in the world today? Or are we racing to highlight it at every turn?

News headlines shared on social media are cleverly crafted to draw readers in to click on the story and learn more grisly details. I have fallen into this trap myself.

What would it look like if anytime any of us heard about evil, we chose to do something good? What if anytime I listened to a story of evil, I decided to tell a story about God’s people doing good?

Am I listening to stories of the goodness of the Lord and His work through His people, or am I focused on a showcase of evil?

Do I seek peace daily? In The Message version of verse 14, Eugene Peterson chose to use the phrase, “embracing peace.” Imagine for a moment the image of that. What would it look like to become more intimately familiar with peace? To keep company with it regularly? How could I go and spend time in peaceful places regularly? Could I sit outside for five or fifteen minutes and watch the clouds go by? Remembering the Lord is the one who moves the earth and the sky. Knowing He holds it all together ushers peace into my soul.

Do I pursue peace so I can understand the goodness of the Lord?

Spending time in peaceful places is a proven strategy to reduce anxiety. Being outside can help reset our nervous system exhausted by remaining on high alert for so long. If the weather does not permit spending time in nature, seeking out a sacred space such as a chapel would also provide a brief respite. Even a museum filled with glorious art could be a place where we can embrace peace. Sometimes a peaceful physical location is not possible, so taking a 5-minute break listening to music with your eyes closed could be an excellent opportunity to reset.

Where do you take time daily to embrace peace?

Finally, it seems that anxiety in our society may be at epidemic levels. I hear about it everywhere I go. How about you? How do you handle anxiety in yourself or others? What is the Lord revealing to you in all of this?

A Prayer for an Anxious Heart and Mind

Lord, we long to see and experience your goodness every single day. Please help us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to cultivate reverence and worship you with our lives. Please help us to keep our tongues from speaking evil. Please help us to tell about your goodness and talk about your people in ways that build up and encourage. Please help us to turn away from evil and constantly seek to see and experience your goodness. Lord, show us how to embrace and pursue Your peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Fight or Flight – Psalm 11

(a bird flying away)


I have always known the stranglehold of anxiety in my life.  This unwelcome guest bullied our family at every event and gathering for as long as I can remember. Looking back, I realize how both my parents struggled with the burden of anxiety. My mother shared her list of worst-case scenarios on repeat, and my father snapped, threatened, and exploded so often that it began to feel normal to me as a child.

Psalm 11 showcases a potential anxiety reaction when the psalmist feels threatened.

1In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain… (Psalm 11:1 ESV) 

The voice in my head shouts, “flee like a bird!”

Anxiety sneaks in like a silent assassin and quietly wreaks havoc within me. Quick, startled, beating wings threaten to carry me off. I long to escape. Tables and chairs may be flipped in the process of exiting. Anxiety does not keep company with graceful moves or grace-filled actions.

The fight or flight response sends my body into action before making good decisions. My mind has perceived a real or imagined threat.

This is the sticking point. Perhaps there is an actual clear and present danger. Or maybe I think there is because I have been triggered by past trauma. The calm decision-making part of my brain is disengaged by the fight or flight response.

2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.  (Psalm 11:2 ESV)

The darkness disorients me.

Dark enough for the wicked to have an advantage but light enough for me to see where the arrows are pointed.

The arrows pointing my way may be from an actual enemy, someone criticizing me, or someone trying to sow seeds of dissent. However, the enemy could also be inside my head. My inner critic could be activated.

3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3 ESV)

Everything becomes unstable and unsteady. How can I regain my equilibrium and re-engage the calm decision-making part of my brain?

What can I do when I find myself being hijacked by anxiety?

Trying to apply logic fails. Typically, anxiety does not dialogue well with reason. Something is needed to bring about a reset.

Author and counselor Aundi Kolber offers a variety of resources for managing stress and anxiety in her new book (see below for more information). Kolber suggests “trying softer” with your attention by using various techniques. One she offers is known as “Pendulate with Beauty.”

Pendulate with Beauty Exercise

  1. Find something in your immediate surroundings that you notice is soothing, calming, or empowering.
  2. Spend a few minutes observing it. What is its shape? Color? Texture? Smell? What do you enjoy about it? As you observe, allow yourself to sink into the soothing connection with this resource. Is there a name you could give the experience you are having you connect with this pleasant object? Spend as much time with your resource as you want, and if you don’t want to move into something uncomfortable, you can return to that challenging piece at another time.
  3. Next, release the pleasant experience you’ve just had. Now begin to notice where emotions or part of your body feels uncomfortable. Remember if at any time this experience feels too overwhelming, you can stop and practice grounding.
  4. In your mind’s eye, do a body scan and notice where you feel sensations or emotions.
  5. As you identify the sensations or emotions from the last step, notice if has a texture, a color, a size. Give yourself a moment to simply a moment to stay with it briefly (thirty seconds or less). Can you give a name to this sensation?
  6. Now return to your resource. Allow yourself to breathe and fully focus on the comforting object. Notice yourself letting go of the uncomfortable emotion/sensation for now.

As Psalm 11 continues, I noticed how the psalmist shifts his attention away from the moment’s anxiety to a detailed description of the LORD that ends with focusing on drawing near to the LORD’s face. Perhaps that was his way of practicing a version of pendulating beauty?

4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD's throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. (Psalm 11:4 ESV)

Despite how I feel right now, the LORD still has authority. He sits on his throne and rules.

5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5 ESV)

Do I feel like I am being tested or tried? Perhaps God is assessing my dependence on Him?

6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. (Psalm 11:6 ESV)

Raining coals? Apocalyptic imagery? Judgment? Fire and brimstone?

It seems the last few years have been filled with end times warnings.

My soul grows weary of constant alert.

Can I choose not to be surprised or panicked by what I see around me?

I can stay calm amid the chaos by focusing on God’s presence.

7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face. (Psalm 11:7 ESV)

Finally, can I choose to focus my attention on drawing near to the Lord and coming face to face with His presence?

I’m not sure if you ever struggle with anxiety or feel overwhelmed with fear. If you do, consider trying to refocus your attention on the beauty of something outside your current circumstances. Take a moment to recalibrate, and perhaps the vicious cycle of anxiety can be broken.

What do you do to break out of the hold of anxiety? I would love to hear about your experiences.  

Exercise Source:

p. 137 -138 in Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move us out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode- and into a Life of Connection and Joy by Aundi Kolber, MA LPC

I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I listened to it on audio and then purchased it for future reference. It is indeed full of tools to try.

Can I Be Rescued from the Quicksand of Anxiety? Psalm 40:11-17

Quicksand appeared in more than one television show when I was a child in the 60s and 70s. It served as a frequent plot twist. Many a heroic figure found him or herself sinking deeper and deeper. Or sometimes, the hero would discover someone else descending into danger. Whichever scenario unfolded, there were often guidelines given.  

  • Do not struggle. Less you will sink further down and perish.  
  • Save your energy.  
  • Just relax. 

An entire generation of my peers trained in thinking through a plan of action to handle quicksand. However, decades later, when I fall into the quicksand of anxiety, all those plans go awry.  

Anxiety lays in wait 

Anxiety is stealthy and sneaky. I am moseying down the path of life when suddenly, a trigger opens up a pit of quicksand. I HAVE FALLEN before I know it, and I can’t get out. Time slows and speeds up in cycles as I try to escape. The “miry bog” (Psalm 40:2 ESV) encloses me, and I am overwhelmed.  

A well-meaning friend or family member stands on the firm ground calling out helpful tips and questions.

  • “Keep your head up, now. It’s not that bad.” 
  • “Don’t struggle. You will only make it worse.”  
  • “Why did you go this way? Why weren’t you looking out for the pit?” 
  • “Your life is so awesome. How could you struggle?”  

Anxiety puts the nervous system into fight or flight mode. As the heart rate increases, the mind becomes scrambled and unfocused. Panic descends. The next step beyond this point might be a place of becoming despondent and losing all hope – a pit perspective.  

Psalm 40  

In the second half of Psalm 40, the psalmist seems to cycle back into a desperate need for God’s mercy in the bottom of a pit. (See this link for the first half of Psalm 40 post.

11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!  
Psalm 40:11 ESV

The psalmist speaks truth over his dire situation. He loudly declares the truth about God’s mercy, steadfast love, and faithfulness. Speaking truth over my times in the pit of anxiety can help me regain a healthier perspective. However, sometimes the cycle is tough to break.  

12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see;  
they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.  
Psalm 40:12 ESV

Like me, no sooner did the psalmist get a foothold than he falls back down into the despair of feeling surrounded by external evil and his failings. He says, and I have often felt, “I cannot see…” But unfortunately, the view from the bottom of the pit of anxiety is minimal. The quicksand has sucked me down, and there appears to be no way out.  

A “try harder response,” something I relied on for years, fails amid the quicksand of anxiety. But struggling against it does suck me down further and further.  

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!  
Psalm 40:13 ESV

Like the psalmist, I cry out to God at my lowest points. I beg for deliverance and demand it be on my timeline. Panic drives desperation to the point of frenzy. The idea of telling the Lord of the universe to rescue me and be quick about it seems absurd in the cold light of day. But in the pit of anxiety, I can’t see any way I can survive even a few more minutes. Desperation washes over me in a cold sweat.  

14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!  

15 Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, "Aha, Aha!"  

Just when it cannot seem to get any worse, it might. The well-meaning passerby suggests I need to try some essential oils or a great new supplement. While, unlike the psalmist, I may not be looking for revenge, I do wish those helpful suggester types would be willing to sit with suffering sometimes. Could you just take a beat oh helpful one?  

Here’s the awkward truth. How often have I been the one standing on the firm ground calling out to a quicksand victim? “Have you tried focusing on the positive? How about a little song?”  

How does God call me to sit with suffering when my loved ones strugggle?

Perhaps, I should be quicker to pray and slower to offer advice? Perhaps be willing to practice being fully present and allowing someone in her time of crisis to feel seen and heard?  

16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the Lord!"   
Psalm 40:16 ESV

Rejoicing while visiting the pit is not my usual reaction. I prefer a lament. I believe there is time for that too. (Follow this link to learn more about the spiritual discipline of lament.

The psalmist suggests an offering of rejoicing. Somehow this rejoicing could be even more potent if done corporately. Sometimes I need someone else to begin the chorus of rejoicing before I can.  

Rejoice in God’s Greatness  

Who can rejoice? Those who have all the answers? Those who feel like it? Those who aren’t caught up in the quicksand of anxiety? The psalmist in verse 16 reminds me how those who seek God rejoice and be glad. Not because of where they are you are or what they have, but because of who we belong to. Because of the salvation the Lord has provided, I can rejoice. He is excellent, even when I fail, even when I fall, even when I can’t see it.  

17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!  (Psalm 40:17 ESV)

Finally, Verse 17 reminds me that while I am poor and needy, I am also thought of by God. The God of the entire universe thinks of me. He also thinks of you. He is even willing to help and deliver us. Like the psalmist, I love asking the Lord to hurry up and not delay. Waiting does not come naturally to me. People, we have a schedule to maintain.  

God’s Rescue  

However, God’s timing is perfect. His rescue will be right on time. Perhaps He never intended for me to pull myself out of the pit? While our culture calls us to consider such techniques, departing from the pit cannot be done alone. If only I could wait for the Lord to place my feet on the rock. He will make my steps so much more secure than I could with all of my efforts (Psalm 40:2 &3). His loving-kindness and mercy will indeed cause me to sing a new song.  


Dear Lord, 

When I am in the pit of anxiety let me cry out to you. You are never bothered by me, but You delight in hearing from your daughter. Thank you for thinking of me and rescuing me in your perfect timing. While I wait, I will trust Your timing. I will give thanks in advance for the future solid rock location I will occupy soon. I will choose to rejoice. I will deeply breathe in the truth I find in your word. I will exhale the doubts and the frustrations. In Jesus’ name. Amen 

Have You Been in Awe Lately? Psalm 118:19-29

(Toddler on the beach.)

The tempo of her tiny feet steadily grew as we got closer and closer to the beach. Once she leaped off the wooden bridge, she collapsed onto her hands and knees and began to dig into the sand. The look on her face and her absolute joyful abandon cascaded over me. It is effortless to be ambushed by awe with my granddaughter. A three-year-old sees the world through a lens of wonder, and I love to share the view.  

Awe and wonder boost well-being.  

“Awe is awfully beneficial… Now they believe awe offers a range of benefits when practiced regularly, calming our nervous systems and relieving stress.” 

Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR News. 

Calming my nervous system is a beautiful remedy for anxiety plaguing so many of us over the last few years. What would it look like to nourish awe daily?  

It begins with curiosity and taking time to notice what is before me.

  • walking barefoot in the sand or on a freshly mowed lawn  
  • watching the waves crash onto a beach
  • forest bathing– walking in the woods 
  • observing the height and width of the trees, mountains, rock formations, waterfalls
  • listening to creation- turn off any electronics so you can hear the bird’s song, the insect’s buzz, and the wind blowing

In the second half of Psalm 118 (see my previous post to learn all about the first half ), the psalmist points to opportunities to cultivate awe in my everyday life. God places wonder before me every single day.  

How often do I miss it?  

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 
20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 
21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 
 Psalm 118:19-21 ESV

Jesus is my key card access into God’s presence. He paid the debt I owed, so I have the freedom to come close to God. May I never grow weary of giving thanks for this! 

22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 
23 This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 
Psalm 118:22-23 ESV

Jesus is my foundation. He stands by me and gives me strength in all situations. When was the last time I marveled at Jesus’ provision for me? He is not only the one who provides me with all I need. But, he does it marvelously, in an extraordinary manner.  

24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

25 Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! 

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. 
Psalm 118:24-26 ESV

The Lord makes my days, and each one is a personalized gift. Why would I take a single minute for granted? And yet I do. Does it mean that every single day I live will be perfect? Nope, they will each have moments of pain and celebration. How often am I entirely too focused on the disappointments and not the joyful surprises? 

God’s mercies are new every morning and announced with spectacular sunrises. At the end of the day, a sunset displays God’s majesty. I have 365 days every year to rejoice in.  

The Lord provides any success in my life. I could work hard all the days of my life and end up with nothing that lasts without the Lord.  

God blesses me in more ways than I can count. How can I possibly bless the Lord (vs 26)? We are to bless the Lord with our thanksgiving and praise. In moments of praise and worship, I often find awe and wonder. Blessing God blesses us.  

27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, 
    up to the horns of the altar! 

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. 

29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 
Psalm 118:27-29 ESV

In the darkest times of uncertainty, Jesus lights my way. God illuminates the way He wants me to go. Darkness, chaos, and confusion signal the work of the enemy of our souls. In those moments in the dark, I need to look up and seek Him.  

The Lord encourages us to feast and celebrate because it is good for us and honors Him. Times of joyful remembrance, events showcasing God’s gifts, and covenantal ceremonies give me an opportunity for awe and wonder. Wow, look what God has done!  

The next time you are at a wedding and witness the covenant before you, take a moment to be in awe. God is starting a new family to live for His glory. As a wedding guest, you are there on day one of this new adventure.  

Finally, going back to the beach scene with my granddaughter, seeing the world from a toddler’s perspective, teaches me about awe and wonder again. She notices so much I can miss. Her eyes and heart are wide open to see and feel the wonders of God’s creation. I may have quite a bit to learn from her.  


Lord, thank you for making all my days. Today is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it because it is good for me and honors you. Please open my eyes to see the awe and wonder You display on all of my days.  

In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Befriending Fear or Faith? Psalm 37:1-5

A circa 1970 pic of my sister and I with atrocious bangs. (I’m the one on the left.)

Was she asleep?

My four-year-old brain struggled to process what had occurred. We were sitting outside the Tutbury* Police station when my mother slumped backward at an awkward angle while her sunflower yellow dress threatened to capsize over her head. I tried smoothing it down and calling to her as people rushed past us.

Earlier that day, she had lost her gold watch. A potent blend of fear of my father’s rage and regret over the loss overwhelmed her, causing the fainting spell. Eventually, a policeman came to our aid with smelling salts.
Fear and fretfulness were part of my daily life growing up.

What do I do when I feel fearful?

Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself 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 act.
Psalm 37:1-5 ESV

As an adult, I have a tendency to fret. If there was a fretters’ anonymous group, I might be a member. But, instead, fretting is anxiously anticipating my own inabilities.

  • What if I make a mistake?
  • What if I don’t have enough time?
  • What if I forget?
  • What if I fail in some way that cannot be redeemed?

Fretting is to worry, and it can also mean to wear away at something by rubbing or gnawing. Obsessively fretting can certainly wear a groove in my mind that is all too easy to find and get back to over and over.

Reviewing a past event on repeat leads to a cycle of unending questions.

  • Did I say the right thing? What if I offended her?
  • Did he misunderstand me?
  • Do I need to go back and explain?
  • Often fretting is self-focused, but sometimes it lends itself to comparison.

Fretting about other people’s actions that I simply can’t control is a sign of a lack of boundaries on my part. How often have I worried about other people’s feelings that I could do nothing to fix? (Can you tell I’m reading the bestseller Boundaries?)

In Psalm 37, the psalmist offers an antidote for fretting.

Dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Psalm 37:3 ESV


This word means to remain, stay, linger, and be still. When fear takes the upper hand in my life and triggers a cycle of fretfulness, dwelling in God’s presence brings a needed pause.

Befriending faithfulness

How do I make friends with faithfulness? Spending time focused on my faith and, in so doing, building it up like a muscle. For me, that might mean making a list of blessings. It is all too easy for me to see the glass of my life as half full when it is, in fact, overflowing in ways that I might overlook right away. Reading and reviewing God’s word and seeking his promises can also change my perspective. The next few verses of Psalm 37 are rich with promises of how God will champion me as I choose to focus on faith and let go of fretfulness.

4 Delight yourself 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 act.
Psalm 37: 4-5 ESV


Lord, will you help me to delight in you and commit to your ways of doing life? Give me the ability to trust more and be fretless. Rewire my default setting. May I be found to be befriending faithfulness at every opportunity you kindly lay before me? Amen.

How about you, how do you friend faithfulness in the face of fear?

Can I Break Free from the Grip of Anxiety? Psalm 13

The armor of God

The Oxford dictionary defines anxiety as: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”

My childhood was steeped in a tradition of ominous concern for all outcomes. My mother is particularly gifted in creating worst-case scenarios. She was an apocalyptic prepper long before it became trendy.
Honestly, my inheritance of anxiety has been nourished and watered by me for many years. It’s a hard habit to break. My default setting is to worry first and pray later. I must intentionally surrender my fears and anxieties to God.

Does anxiety have a paralyzing grip on me?

Anxiety leaves me feeling small and weak and quite focused on myself.

Psalm 13 is a psalm of lament. The author feels desperate and without hope. I believe psalms of lament provide a liturgy for processing through feelings of deep sadness and fear. As I read the first two verses of Psalm 13, I notice the author feels overwhelmed with a state of lack and longing. Telling God exactly how I feel is never a problem. Crying out to him provides a chance to process my feelings, and that is the only healthy way to process them.

1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Psalm 13:1-2 ESV

In these opening verses, the psalmist expresses frustration with delay. “How long?” is a question focused on what I don’t have. I want a right now solution. The psalmist focuses on what he believes has not been considered or attended to by God. Have I questioned God’s timing on solving a problem I have prayed about? Choosing to believe that I am not getting what I deserve, and God is neglecting me, may cause me to become spiritually vulnerable to the enemy’s deceptions. I can choose to stop feeding the anxiety beast and stop focusing on what I don’t have.
How long? The real answer to that question is when it’s the best time according to God. The ideal timing of God’s provision for anything I ask for is based on things I don’t even know that I don’t know. Releasing my urgent need to know, brings freedom and peace.

The question in verse 2 feels like it was taken directly from my own life. “How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?”

Have I taken counsel or advice only from myself at times? Yes.

I believe that God designed us to thrive in community. Isolation can lead to seeking advice based solely on my own experience. Sometimes I need a fresh perspective from a godly friend or mentor. All too often, isolation can lead to sorrow or even depression. I can feel isolated in a room full of people. One lie that I have believed at times is that I am the only one to have experienced something. Or I am the only one to have made such a terrible mistake. There is very little new under the sun. If I am willing to be vulnerable with a trusted friend or family member, I might find someone else who can help me carry the burden, because he or she has traveled this road as well.
The second part of verse 2 asked about my enemy. Who is my enemy? The person who cut me off in traffic. The family member who betrayed my trust. The church leader who failed me when I needed her help the most. In the pain of the moment, any human may play a role.

Who is our real enemy?

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesian 6:12 ESV
My true enemy is Satan, and he utilizes spiritual forces that trespass into heavenly places. The good news is that God has provided the ultimate victory for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In Ephesians chapter 6, Paul goes on to challenge us to put on our spiritual armor.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…Ephesians 6:13-18 ESV

When do I need to put on my armor?

We are called to suit up daily with the armor of God. Pray through each piece of armor and ask God to provide this for you and those you love. Carefully pray each verse and imagine you are putting each piece on.

  • Fasten on the belt of truth
  • Put on the breastplate of righteousness,
  • Put on the shoes for your feet, the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
  • Take up the shield of faith
  • Put on the helmet of salvation,
  • Carry the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

What are the benefits of using the armor of God?

Suiting up with God’s armor will break the grip anxiety has on our minds and hearts. Putting on the armor will also free us up to accomplish some important kingdom-building work.

  • Praying at all times – continually praying throughout the day and night
  • Praying in the Holy Spirit – letting God guide our prayer agendas • Keeping alert –avoiding distractions
  • Persevering— keep going• Receiving a renewed opportunity to pray for other Christians


Thank you, Lord, for your provision in times of fear and uncertainty. It is far too easy for me to allow anxiety to overwhelm and isolate me. Help me to cry out to you first and foremost. Help me to seek God’s counsel from friends and family. Remind me daily to put on the spiritual armor you have so generously provided. Help me to walk daily in greater freedom by surrendering every fear to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.