Surrendering Anxiety in Exchange for Peace

I don’t know about you, but anxiety is a nemesis I repeatedly battle. At any given moment, there’s a plethora of worries waiting to consume me. For example, at this very moment I’m worried about certain happenings in our beloved country, my children’s future, my current responsibility as a homeschool mom, my husband’s upcoming trip, and the fact that our dog just learned how to jump the fence. (Aye, aye, aye!)

Then there are the little things: the clean laundry loitering in my family room, the errands I need to run, the pressure to find time to exercise, the persistent burden of financial pressures, the upkeep of relationships, the constant fear of failure—all contributing to the sense of uneasiness invading my belly. 

And yet, the Lord tells us not to be anxious. 

Do not be anxious about anything, 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. (Phil. 4:6–7)

To be sure, I have no trouble listing my requests for God. Most of the time, I can even do it with thanksgiving. What’s hard is surrendering my anxiety in exchange for peace. Can you relate? How in the world are we supposed to accomplish that part?

I’m glad you asked. 

The truth is that when I go to the Lord in prayer yet spend the entire time complaining and panicking—begging for my will over God’s—I didn’t really go to the Lord. I just stirred myself up in the name of Jesus. And let me tell you: panicky prayer times never offer peace. 

Instead, when I remember, surrender, and worship the Lord, peace is mine for the taking.

Remember the Lord Your God

The first step in exchanging my anxiety for peace is remembering who I’m praying to. The Lord repeatedly told Israel to remember Him, and for good reason! Viewing any situation through the lens of who God is, what He has done, and His promises invariably shrinks my problem. God is bigger than my circumstances. 

In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat did this well. Faced with the threat of a massive invasion from Israel’s enemies, Jehoshaphat went to the Lord in prayer. “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you” (v. 6).

And then Jehoshaphat goes on to recount God’s wondrous works for Israel, as well as the promises God had made to them. He clung to God in a time of uncertainty by reminding himself and the people (through prayer) of God’s character, God’s works, and God’s words. 

When we remember who our God is and all that He’s done, we fortify our hearts and minds against even the most anxious thoughts. Yes, I can relax and trust in His perfect will because this is who my God is, and this is what He’s done, and this is what He’s promised. And the Lord, my God, is faithful. 

But Jehoshaphat did more than just remembering the Lord. With great faith in God, he moved forward to surrender, stating at the end of his prayer, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chron. 20:12). In other words, we have no idea how this is going to work out, but we surrender the outcome to you, O Lord God Almighty. 

Surrender to the Lord Your God

Nine times out of ten, my distress over a particular situation is due to control (or, rather, my lack of it). I’m suddenly afraid something isn’t going to turn out the way I want, and so I’m anxious and fearful and ready to retaliate against the next person who screams “Mom!” (Just keepin’ it real.) But the reality is this: whatever plan I had in mind may not be God’s plan. And it’s my job as a disciple of Christ is to follow God wherever He leads. 

There is no one better to surrender a situation to than God. Our God is good and loving and kind and trustworthy. But here’s the problem: it’s tough to surrender if you don’t first remember. Many times we’re so clouded with anxiety we aren’t willing to stop and remember, so we never actually surrender. 

Our goal with every unknown outcome should be to echo Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). And here’s the reason: surrender ignites peace, while control builds anxiety.

So how do I experience the peace of God? I rest in His will. But we can’t stop at surrender either. To truly experience peace over anxiety, it’s necessary to follow surrender with worship. 

Worship the Lord Your God

Worshiping God amid uncertainty is the visible manifestation of trust. Raising a hallelujah (even when we don’t know how life will turn out) because God is good is how we walk forward in faith. Friends, worship is our rescue. Not only is it the evident outpouring of a heart fixed on God, but something changes inside of us when we choose worship over worry. 

Raising hands of praise to the Lord in seasons of uncertainty silences the enemy and ushers in victory. Aligning our heart with what’s real and right, worship keeps us focused on the sovereign and holy God who will never forsake us and always does what’s best for us.

To experience the magnitude of God’s strengthening worship is non-negotiable. If you want to make a statement that truly makes a difference—if you’re going to squash fear and put a stop to anxiety—then worship the Lord with all your heart while you wait for His deliverance. 

Remember, surrender, and worship—that’s what we do to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. Do you remember in elementary school how they taught us to stop, drop, and roll if we ever caught on fire? I see “remember, surrender, and worship” as the spiritual equivalent to stop, drop, and roll. 

There’s no doubt we need to be ready, or trials and tribulations will catch us off guard. But if we can train ourselves to remember, surrender, and worship at the first sign of unmet expectations or overwhelming circumstances, or hard-to-swallow difficulties, we’ll be better prepared. 

For “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). 

We are not alone in our struggles. We can cling to the Lord just as we have done to this day by remembering in whom we have believed, surrendering to His far better and perfect will, and worshiping Him while we wait. 

Dear beloved of God—remember, surrender, and worship the King, and the peace that surpasses understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus no matter where you go. 

About the Author

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery is a farmer’s wife and mother of four—or as she likes to say, “President of Home Operations.” Stacey loves teaching women the Bible and along with her family makes her home in the cornfields of Indiana. For more, … read more …

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