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Why You Should Be Anxious for Nothing

New York Times’ best-selling author and pastor, Max Lucado discusses his new book Anxious for Nothing. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: Bestselling author Max Lucado says chances are you

or someone you know struggles with anxiety.

But he says there are ways to deal

with all the worries of life.

A new day awaits you, my friend,

a new season in which you will worry less and trust more,

reduced fear and enhanced faith.

NARRATOR: In his latest book, "Anxious for Nothing,"

Max provides a roadmap to worry-free living

and offers practical tips of finding calm

in a chaotic world.

Well, Max Lucado joins us now.

We teased it, so I've got to ask the question, what's

the most underlined verse in the Bible?

I couldn't help but notice the fellow fishing in the video


I thought, he doesn't have any anxiety.

He doesn't have a care in the world.

You want calm, go fishing.

That's right.

Well, Philippians 4, verses 6 and 7.

According to Kindle, the downloadable books procedure,

they measure what is the most downloaded book and then

what's the most underlined part of that book.

And according to them, Philippians 4: 6 and 7

is the most underlined passage of any book anywhere

in the world.

That is surprising to me.

Yeah, is it?

And I'm not sure why--

Be anxious for nothing, yeah?

I'm not sure why.

But I guess in modern culture we are anxious a lot.

The pace of life, the pace of technological change,

the pace of any kind of change, it's just everything

seems to be accelerating.

It does, doesn't it?

I've read that there have been more changes in the last 30

years than in the last 300 combined.

You know, just even today, somebody was asking me,

are you going to get the new phone?

I thought, there's a new phone?

I can't keep up.

I'm barely learning how to use the phone I have.

My smartphone makes me seem dumb.

I mean, I like using it, but sometimes I

don't understand what it's doing.


It's a frantic pace.

And also there's just the issue of we're

bombarded by news updates.

And news is, by nature, negative.

And so if I'm getting alerts throughout the day

of a new development or potential war,

nuclear conflict, North Korea, and now hurricanes,

we feel like we're, every time we turn around,

there's something else that's negative--

Something new.

--that's happening.

And our ancestors didn't deal with that.

You know, 100 years ago or 50 years ago, if you heard news,

it was once a week or maybe once a day,

depending on where you lived.

Or once a decade.

Or once a decade, yeah, and you never

heard what was happening in Nepal or in Australia,

but now it's just all over, so we've got

to learn how to deal with it.

So how do we deal with it?

I mean, we all understand, be anxious for nothing.


And we realize that's a goal.

But I can confess in my life sometimes that I

can know that intellectually.

But in my heart, I'm going, I'm anxious.

Yeah, exactly.

So how do you get through it?

Well, the real measure there, the passage

"be anxious for nothing," the better translation,

I think, is, do not allow yourself

to be in a state of perpetual anxiety.

In other words, don't let yourself be sucked

into the quicksand of anxiety.

And the Apostle Paul, you know, writing this epistle

in the book of Philippians, we've

come to nickname it the Epistle of Joy.

Even though he was in prison, he didn't make one complaint.

But he says, first of all, celebrate God.

Rejoice in the Lord.

Then ask God for help.

Be anxious for nothing.

But in everything, by prayer and petition,

let your request be made known to God.

And then with thanksgiving, and so

that's the idea of leaving it with God.

We're thankful.

We're going to turn it over to him.

And then we're going to meditate on good things.

And then he gives nine virtues to meditate on.

In other words, as you remove the anxiety out of your brain,

don't leave it empty.

Turn and start to meditate on things

that are true and good and noble and so forth.

And so Celebrate God.

Ask God for help.

Leave your concerns with him.

Meditate on a good things--


Why is thanksgiving so important?

That's a great question.

Because I know in my prayer life, I had a real realization.

God inhabits the praises of his people.


He doesn't inhabit your complaints.

You're encouraged to pour out your complaint,

but don't expect God to inhabit that.

Why is thanksgiving so important?

Well, the heart cannot at one time house anxiety

and gratitude.

One moves the other out.

And gratitude always wins.

A great exercise in dealing with anxiety

is to turn away from what's troubling you

and make a list of the blessings that you have.

By the time you write 10 things down

that you're thankful for, you'll find

the anxiety is diminishing, maybe even exiting.

Because they can't share the same heart.

There's something about gratitude and anxiety,

they don't get along.

And gratitude always shows the door to anxiety.

Why, when we're in the stress, why

do we not go to God with it?

Because I think another key and the key in your book

is that let your requests be made known.

How do we overcome the tendency to,

oh, I've got to manage this, or I've got to deal with this,

or I've got to worry about this.


I think it's a learned skill, Gordon.

I think it's a challenge that we all face.

I know I face it, and that is I want to fix things myself,

or I feel like it's all up to me.

The Bible is sugared or seasoned with these promises,

like cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you.

This one that we're studying here, be anxious for nothing,

but by prayer petition, let your everything

be made known to God.

So the habit we can develop is the second

we begin to feel that anxiety, whatever

it is in your body or my body, for me it's my neck gets tight.

The second I feel that, I need to say, OK, Lord,

I'm going to give this to you before it gets to me.

Why don't more people get this?

I hear continually, I'm stressed out.

I hear that a lot.

And it really, it's one of those things, when I hear that,

it imparts to me, because I start worrying about them.

Yeah, and don't we desire not to be that way?

I don't know anybody who says, I can't wait to get more anxious,

you know.

We all want to find a way to deal with it.

And I think it's a real situation in our culture.

I just have a hunch that the division

in our culture, this polarization

in our culture, anxiety creates combative people.

And consequently if we find it difficult to have

important dialogues about very important topics

because I fear that somebody's going to disagree with me

or prove me wrong.

But if I'm confident that God is a good God,

and God is in control, and he's going to lead us

all through this, that opens the door,

I think, to more increased dialogue and conversation.

Can you do a Bible study on Capitol Hill?

I think we need it.

Maybe that's part of it.

Have a prayer meeting with Republicans and Democrats

and say, here's how we can get there.


You know, even on--

I'm not a great social media guru, but I do Facebook.

I do these messages on Facebook.

And I've noticed that there's so many trigger

points with people.

And they can't just say, I disagree.

They've got to tell you how bad you are, you know?

They've got to shred you.

They got to shred you.

So it's an angry world we live in.

And I'm trying to trace that.

Where does all that come from?

It has to do some with just this anxiety that's settled upon us.


Well, let's talk about the end of it, and may the peace of God

come and guard your heart and mind.

Why do we tend to block that?

Because I know in my life, when I'm trying to get to that,

it's almost like I resist his peace.

Do you?

There was one time I was praying,

and I was pouring out my complaint.

And this was before I realized he doesn't inhabit those.

But he's still there.

In Him we live and move and have our being, and just that still

small voice, but I am with you.

And I wanted to argue with it.

It's like, don't you understand?

And, but I am with you.

And that should have brought all the peace I needed.

But at that moment, I wanted to resist it.

Why do we do that?

Yeah, we want a solution when God just wants

to give us his presence, right?

And that's part of the promise there.

Rejoice in the Lord always.

Again, I say rejoice.

Let your gentleness be made evident to all,

because the Lord is near.

And so the apostle, I think, is saying,

sometimes God doesn't give you a solution.

He doesn't disentangle the problem.

He just says, I'll walk with you through it.

I'm in the middle of it with you.

And Paul's speaking from experience.


He's gone through all kinds of--

He sure has.

And he's writing from a prison cell.


And he's saying, I've found the secret to contentment.

Yeah, to contentment.

Yeah, and he had reason to complain, didn't he?

I mean, apparently churches are squabbling.

They're not quite getting along.

He's wondering if some of them are going to make it.

And he has no guarantee that he's going

to make it out of prison ever.

He actually has a guarantee he's not.

Yeah, and so he's got plenty of room to complain.

But he doesn't.


He chooses to--

He's not saying, God, you're not running the universe right.

He's saying all things are going to work out.

I just-- I trust him.

Anxiety is a default emotion, I think.

I think we don't have to decide, I'm going to be anxious.

We do have to decide, I'm going to have faith.

And so we go to anxiety without a decision.

It's just kind of the natural course we take.

But we do have to decide, OK, today

I'm going to do my best to be a person of peace.

And I'm going to, every time I have a problem,

I'm going to give it to God.

Good word, and great book.

I encourage you to get it.

If you're one of the many stressed out Americans,

this book is for you.

And it's called "Anxious for Nothing,"

and it's available wherever books are sold.

Thanks for being with us.

Thank you.

Appreciate it.

Thank you.


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