It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that anxiety was part of the daily fabric of my life. Growing up in chaos, anxiety had been my normal. It was how I survived.
I’ve come a long way in learning to trust Jesus with my worries. I’ve also talked with many who deal with the same daily anxiety levels, whether they realize it or not.
Most of the things I’ve learned to say (and what not to say) have either come from others or my own mouth. Turns out, the most helpful words to say to your anxious friend come straight out of God’s Word.
If you have a friend who struggles with anxious thoughts, either chronically or occasionally, here’s a list of three ways to comfort her.
1) Give encouragement and affirmation.
Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
We don’t have to fix the problem or convince our friend not to be anxious. We only have to share an encouraging word. Is she struggling with being a good mom? Point out the ways she’s doing a great job with her kids. Does she feel inferior? Remind her that the world needs her and the unique gifts and talents only she can bring.
2) Pray for clarity of mind and the ability to take her worries to God.
Quoting 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” isn’t necessarily a bad idea. But sometimes, the worry monster takes over the ability to think or pray rationally. If she’s willing, pray with her and share her troubles with God on her behalf. If not, pray for her silently.
3) Remind her that God our Father is a God of comfort.
Trust me, no one wants to be anxious. Sometimes past trauma causes anxiety they haven’t learned to control. If she grew up in a chaotic or abusive home, she likely doesn’t even recognize that she lives by low-level anxiety most of the time anyway.
Rather than thump her over the head with Matthew 6:33, (especially if she already knows it and thumps herself too much already), try this one:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Basically, the message our anxious friends need is this: 1) you are a beautiful creation, made in the image of God, 2) I’ll pray with you, and 3) God our Father longs to comfort you.
Has God given you or someone you love exceptional comfort lately? What are your favorite comfort verses?