Women At the Well Ministries

A ministry to women who suffer with mental and emotional problems

Anxiety

Lesson 8


What brought the Samaritan woman at the well to the apparent point of no return? In order to have had five husbands she needed to have experienced many relationships with many different men. What was in her past that caused her to be involved with so many men? There is a lot of pain involved in the break-up of one marriage.


We don't know if this woman suffered from emotional or mental illness, but she certainly must have suffered from emotional pain brought on by wrong choices and perhaps trauma caused by others. A childhood involving physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse can cause one to make wrong choices later in life. Regardless of the traumatic things of the past, we are responsible for the choices we make. We sometimes must live with the devastating and destructive consequences of those choices.


These events can bring on depression and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. What do you do with these thoughts that come into your mind?


     1. You are not a good Christian
     2. You are not a good mother, daughter, wife, or sister
     3. You will never amount to anything
     4. You will never please God
     5. Your life is over because you have made too many mistakes and sinned too much

Our Scripture reference Philippians 4:6-7: 

6-Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 

7-and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

First, the Apostle Paul gives us a directive we find impossible to do -- not be anxious! God does not leave us hanging by giving us a command without giving us a way to accomplish it.  Let's look at the many different dictionary definitions of anxiety, anxious and anxiousness:


     1. Worried because something bad might happen
     2. Wanting something, especially when this makes you nervous, excited, or impatient
     3. Concern in regards to something future or uncertain, which disturbs the mind and
         keeps it in a state of painful uneasiness
     4. Felling of worry - worry implies persistent doubt - uneasiness - nervousness or
        agitation (often about something that is going to happen. Fear that produces strong
        mental agitation
     5. Strong wish to do something (especially if the wish is unnecessarily or unhealthily
         strong)
     6. Extreme Apprehension
     7. Strained about some uncertain event or matter
     8. A state of restlessness and agitation - often with general reluctance or
         unwillingness to do something
     9.  Feelings of fear and concern detached from objective sources
     10. Mental oppression of varying degree arising from heavy responsibilities

Anxiousness is a mental tension found in most forms of mental disorders

While concern/care has more to do with:

     1. That which affects the welfare of happiness - interest - moment
     2. Serious thought rather than with emotion (how many times are you led by your
         emotions rather than thinking something through?)

Let's take a look at the spiritual implications of worry and anxiety: The fruit of the Spirit is choked - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)

     1. When fruit is choked it does not ripen
     2. It remains small - growth is stunted
     3. It hardens
     4. It becomes sour
     5. Spiritual unripe fruit is distracting - we lose focus on God

B. Next, we see that verse 6 describes our communion with God. Prayer is not a monologue; it is a dialogue.

That means it is not only me speaking to God, or only God speaking to me, but He and I have a conversation together

     1. Wait for God to speak to my heart
     2. Listen when He speaks, laying my heart out before Him
     3. Worship Him as I wait
     4. Act/do according to what I hear

C. We see prayer and supplication. They are similar, but distinct.

     1. Prayer is a broader word that can mean all of our communication with God.
     2. Supplication directly asks God to do something. Supplication is a humble and sincere
       appeal to God to grant a request. It can include pleading/begging. 

D. We see thanksgiving. This cautions against a whining, complaining spirit before God. We really can be anxious for nothing, pray about everything, and be thankful for anything.

E. Next, we see let your request be made known. Doesn't God already know our requests before we pray them? Of course He does, yet He will often wait for our participation through prayer before granting our request.

The results...

7-and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The Bible describes three great aspects of peace that relate to God:

     1. Peace of God - This is peace beyond our power of thinking. This is the peace spoken
        of in verse 7. See Isaiah 26:3, John 14:27, Romans 15:13, Colossians 3:15. God's peace is
        supernatural, not psychological. His peace stands guard over our feeling and 
        thoughts.
     2. Peace from God - Paul continually used this as an introduction to his letters; it 
        reminds us that our peace comes to us as a gift from God. See Romans 1:7, 
        1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, and Colossians 1:2.
     3. Peace with God - This describes a relationship that we enter into with God through
        the finished work of Jesus Christ. See Romans 5:1.

...guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus is a first-century term for high security, denoting to set a watch, post spies at gates and keep securely locked. 

Through prayer, experience God's peace that surpasses all understanding! This peace is not senseless, but goes beyond our ability to understand and explain - therefore, it must be experienced. This peace doesn't just surpass the understanding of the worldly person, it surpasses all understanding. Even the godly person can't comprehend this peace.

When people seem to "lose heart" or mind, it is often connected to an absence of the peace of God. The peace of God then does not act as a guard for the heart and mind.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27

AT THE WELL

1. Worry and anxiety are miserable companions, but the Lord gives us the method to
   deal with them in Philippians 4. Read it slowly and thoughtfully. How do you usually
   handle worry and anxiety?

2. What does verse 6 and say happens that releases us from anxiety when we pray?

3. In verse 6 the word nothing is literally not even one thing. At times, this seems
   impossible for us to do - be anxious for nothing. Nevertheless, the Lord never
   commands us to do something in which He does not provide enabling power. What does
   Mark 9:23 promise?

4. According to 1 Peter 5:7, what are we doing when we choose to pray instead of being
   full of anxiety (overly concerned about something or someone)?

5. What do these Scriptures say how the Lord cares for us? 
    Psalm 34:4
    Psalm 55:22
    Psalm 116:1-8

6. What should our prayers and requests be accompanied with (Philippians 4:6)?

7. What does thanksgiving reveal about the following? Prayerfully think about your
   answer. 
   a. Trust in God 
   b. Faith in God 
   c. Appreciation

8. Describe the last time you felt an inexpressible joy. Give details. Ask the Lord to bring
   this to your remembrance, if you are having difficulty remembering

9. "...surpasses all understanding" means something that we cannot explain. Have you
   ever experienced that kind of peace, as a result of prayer?

10. In light of the great promise in verse 7, what still hinders you from taking all of your
    anxieties to God in prayer?

 
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