Written by: Jazmine Cooper

Many students come to college carrying fear with them. Fear they will not pass, fear they will not make friends, or even fear that they just won’t like it. Personally, I came into my freshman year feeling overwhelmed by the sudden change in my life, and this fear only caused my life to become more stressful and filled with worry. As I’ve talked with others, however, I’ve seen that they have also been feeling this way as well. So, knowing this, I hope to share with you some of the ways that I’ve dealt with my fear in a way that glorifies God. Plus, I often forget and need to remind myself too.

The first way to battle anxiety is to give thanks. As cliché as that sounds, we are called to give thanks even through our trials. There is great freedom from your stressful situation when you thank God for the things in your life going well. Find joy in the trial, because God’s joy is everywhere – you just need to look for it. In Philippians 4:4-7, we are called to “rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV). We need to give our stress to God and give him all our praise. Even though we might be going through a hard time, God is still worthy to be praised. He is worthy to be praised always.

The second way to have more faith than fear is to meditate on what is, not what might be. There is this great stress that comes when you think about what could happen: I could fail that test, this flu could be worse than I think, I could get hurt and not be able to come back from it. But that is our minds wandering to what is not true. Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent and praiseworthy – think about such things” (NIV). We need to think about things that will take us away from the stress and take us toward God. It is through meditating on what God says, His word and promises, that what could be is erased from our minds.

The third method is to have confidence that God’s got it. We always forget that God knows what we are going through and that He has us in His hands. We become so blinded by our anxiety and all that is going on in our lives we forget that God literally formed the world with a single word. He can handle anything. He defeated death, so why can’t He defeat the illness going through campus? He created us, so why can’t He handle the financial struggle you are going through? Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (NIV). God’s got this; we just need to trust in Him confidently so He can take care of it. We have no power, but through Him all things are possible.

The fourth way to conquer your fear is to change your thoughts. When something negative enters your mind, stop it and replace it with something positive. When something is starting to stress you out or there is a negative thought in your mind, think of the good things that happened to you that day. If you are feeling stressed about a grade, think about the great discussion you had in class. If you are worried about an upcoming game, think about how great the last win felt for your team. Do not dwell on the things that do not uplift you. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV). If what you are thinking does not uplift others, yourself, or God, capture it and alter what you are thinking so it is in accordance to what God has said. Do not let the enemy put negativity in your head when God has already defeated him. That can mean reading the Word more to arm ourselves against the words of the enemy. We just need to be aware of what is the word of the enemy and what is the word of the Savior.

These tips are just a few ways to help deal with stress and anxiety as we get further and further into the school year. I know that I have been struggling with all the changes I have gone through, and there are others who feel the same way. We just need to remember that God’s got this. He is taking care of it right now as you stress about it, so you need only trust Him.

Check out this devotional for more information!