Sometimes the most profound statements come from the most ordinary circumstances. Years ago, I was helping my daughter, who was in 5th grade at the time, with her Math homework. The assignment was introducing her to the metric system. Suddenly, I had a flash-back. There I was, sitting in my 5th grade classroom, and my Math teacher was telling us that we needed to learn the metric system because within a few years everyone in America would be using it. I shared the thought with my daughter, and added this comment: “Here we are 35 years later, and Americans are still stubbornly refusing to switch to the system that everyone else uses. I wonder why that is?” My eleven-year old looked up from her homework as if the answer was obvious. She distilled 35 years of history into less than 20 words when she said, “People don’t like change, Dad. Well, unless of course they get something out of it for themselves.”
You will never overcome anxiety without making fundamental changes in the way that you think. Some of these changes, you won’t like much at first. They will seem too harsh, too basic, or too difficult. You will be prone to believe that what you really need is a change of circumstances. So, you switch schools, jobs, and marriages, if necessary. But before long, you discover that the same patterns you had earlier with anxiety reoccur in your new surroundings. What you need is a change of mind, not a change of circumstances. This is why the Scripture says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God.” Paul’s letter to the Philippians carried some of the most practical advice for overcoming anxiety you will find anywhere. In Philippians 4:6-8 we discover that we will need to change how we think about worry, how we think about prayer, and what we think about.
Change how you think about worry. God commands us not to worry; when we do, we sin.
…do not be anxious about anything,
Change how you think about prayer. Make it your pattern, not your panic button.
…but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Change what you think about. It’s your mind. You are responsible for controlling your thoughts.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Taken from Safe in the Storm: biblical strategies for overcoming anxiety