Anxiety vs. Hope

Let’s talk anxiety. Again.

Anxiety is one of those ongoing, “work in progress” areas for me. In case you missed it, I wrote this post all about anxiety—my thoughts, experience, and how I’m daily giving it to God.

Daily is the key word there. For me, it’s not one of those things that will just go away one day and never come back. Rather, it’s something that keeps me tethered to God and know my need of Him to combat my anxious thoughts.

And God knew anxiety was and would continue to be an issue—otherwise, He wouldn’t have addressed it so often in the Bible.

Bible verses about anxiety

I’m paraphrasing, but here are a few verses that speak directly to anxiety. The full verses are linked (NIV).

I could go on, but you get the idea—and I encourage you to use a Bible concordance or topical search if you’d like to dive deeper into the Word on this or any other topic.

Hope: The opposite of anxiety

While giving God my anxieties recently, I had a heart check moment.

For years, I’ve shared a lot about hope—hope in eating disorder recovery, hope in restoration from divorce, hope in God’s unconditional love when we run from Him—and I realized the other day that all my belief in hope doesn’t fit well with my anxiety.

How can the two co-exist?

Think about it. Anxiety is essentially believing that the worst-case scenario could happen, right? And hope is believing that the best-case scenario could happen. How can you believe both?

You can’t. Not at the same time, anyway.

Hope: How to overcome anxiety

The more I think about it, the more I see hope as an antidote for anxiety. Hope offers peace in all circumstances. The Bible says so.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 (NIV)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 (NIV)

“I have overcome the world.” That’s the ultimate power statement against anxiety right there. Jesus died and rose to overcome all the sin and worries of this world for us. No matter what worries me, it’s not outside of what Jesus overcame. He conquered that, too. And, no matter how important things may seem here on earth, they are always only temporary.

Hope is expecting and desiring that best-case scenario, remember? For Christians, that expectation rests in our salvation and our desire is eternity with God. I have hope that because Jesus saved me, there is more to this life than the things that make me anxious—or even the things that don’t! Hope in God is then the basis for having peace in all circumstances.

The takeaway

Let’s go back to anxiety, and also Luke 12:25, which asks the question, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (NIV).

You can’t. It won’t.

Anxiety doesn’t add. It subtracts from your life.

But guess what does add? HOPE.

So, here’s what I’d like you to remember—and something I’m telling myself over and over:

Hope ADDS. Anxiety SUBTRACTS.

Enough said.

P.S. If you’d like more encouragement on these topics (hope, anxiety, ed recovery, God’s grace) — I have a separate Instagram account @hopeandthegirl for that very purpose. I’d love to connect with you there, too!

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