Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Some Christians will use this verse to say that it is a sin to feel anxiety. While anxiety can lead to constructive or destructive behavior, anxiety is an involuntary emotional response, which in itself, is not wrong. I do refer to anxiety as defect, in the sense that we all have painful traits (defects), which we wish we did not have. Paul himself, admitted to anxiety (Phil. 2:28).
In today’s passage, He did not explicitly teach that it is wrong to feel anxiety but rather, that there is a right response to it. When we are anxious, Paul said we must learn to give it to God. Like any other defect, as often as I am tempted to indulge in it, I must drag it before God. In my anxiety, I focus on me. In faith, I look to Him.
I may not be accountable for an anxious impulse, but my behavior is my responsibility. In my anxiety, I can reach for a drink or reach out to a friend. How I respond may grow or diminish my anxiety. Like diabetes, I may not be responsible for its presence, but my behavior can exacerbate or improve my condition. If I pursue donuts, I will worsen my diabetes. If I eat right and take my insulin, I will improve it.
Giving my anxiety to God must involve prayer, but that may not be my only response. In giving my anxiety up, I may need to talk with friends, seek counseling or even take medications. Though medications can be a problem in themselves, it is not faithless to do whatever it takes to give something to God.
As with all my defects, I want my anxiety to be gone forever. As with my other defects, this is rarely the case. My imperfections remain, but I can diminish them or grow them. I can focus on me, causing further destruction, or, in faith, I can turn to God.