Chapter OneCOPING WITH ANXIETY
Garrison Keillor, author of Lake Wobegon Days, writes
that his greatest fear as a child was of getting his tongue
stuck on a frozen pump handle. The older boys told him
that if he touched his tongue to a pump handle, the only
way to get him loose would be to rip his tongue right
out of his mouth or else put a tent over him until spring.
We all suffer from fears and anxieties of various sorts.
Yet if we fail to deal with our anxieties, they can cripple
and immobilize us. In Philippians 4, Paul gives us a prescription
for inner peace.
1. What sorts of things make you feel anxious?
2. Read Philippians 4:4-9. Paul begins by telling us repeatedly to
"rejoice in the Lord always" (v. 4). What does it mean to rejoice in
Why is this kind of rejoicing possible in any circumstances?
3. Why is prayer (v. 6) our first and best defense against anxiety?
4. Why is it important to be thankful in the midst of our requests?
5. Paul compares the peace of God to a sentry guarding our hearts
and minds from anxiety (v. 7). Why do you think Paul adds that
God's peace "transcends all understanding"?
6. Anxious people can become obsessed with negative thinking. How
can focusing on the good things in verse 8 free us from the grip of
7. Give specific examples of the kinds of good things you might think
about to combat anxiety.
8. According to verse 9, what is our third defense against anxiety?
9. How can observing the godly example of others and putting into
practice what we see bring greater peace to our lives?