What relieves anxiety? We've talked about how it is not logic.
When we attempt to calm ourselves with logic alone, we get on to a merry-go-round of "what if." We don't end up feeling any better we just get dizzy until we're flung off. What we're looking for is perfect love. Perfect love is what casts out fear.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."
1 John 4:18
Perfect love is from God. Paul says that God's love is high, deep, wide, and long - meaning it's perfect.
It's high: It's with you when you're celebrating.
It's deep: It's with you in the depths of despair.
It's wide: It covers every aspect of your existence.
It's long: It will last forever.
This perfect love is something we are all longing to feel, for feeling this love will help replace our feelings of fear. So how do we go beyond simply acknowledging God's perfect love and actually experience it over and over again?
First, we seek it until we find it. Then, we go back to wherever we felt it last.
For me, there are a few key tools that I use to experience and re-experience the perfect love of God.
Most of the poetry we take in these days is through song. Find a song that puts emotion behind the fact of God's love.
Here's one of the songs that's on my list:
Find a passage that stands out to you. One where you really click with the text. For me, this has and always will be Psalm 34. I've read that thing during so many difficult and uncertain times I've memorized it though I wasn't even trying to.
Find a place of beauty that puts you in awe of God. I find this in the ocean. When I walk up to it and take it in, I feel that the love of God is vast and that its waves are never ceasing. I sit on the beach dive into the scriptures, journal, walk, and pray.
Find a person whose godly love settles you. For me, obviously, this is my wife. Her unconditional love is something I not only understand, but something I feel. When I feel her unconditional love, I'm reminded that God gave her to me as an extension of his unconditional love.
Find a painting that depicts the love of God. Perhaps one of our Lord on the cross, bearing the guilt of mankind, freeing us from shame, and paying for our sin. Or one of him healing the blind, or welcoming the children, or rising from death. If you find one you really love, save a screenshot on your phone to go back to time and time again.
Find what transfers the the love of God from your head to your heart. Stick those things in your toolbox to go back to over and over again when you're anxious. Perfect love casts out fear.