Daily Reading: Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6)

As I walked around the room, I saw my art students, peering intently between their drawings and photos. Their silence was punctuated by groans when things went badly, while a triumphant, “Yes!” meant they had successfully captured a nose or mouth on paper. We don’t begin these portraits until they have practiced the techniques artists use to produce accurate drawings, but their anxiety over the outcome is their biggest challenge. Spiritual skills for managing their anxiety are as necessary for them to do their best work as technical skills. Therefore, I give them a pep talk about a simple but powerful aid I have learned in my own art. I urge them to pray before drawing each day and thank God for the skills He has given them. They then need to pray for His help to do their best, as well as the grace to enjoy the process and leave the finished product in His hands.

We all have situations that make us anxious. It may be evaluations at work, dealing with difficult family members, or having too much on our plate. The Lord understands that our anxieties can interfere with doing our best at these times, and here in Philippians He gave us a pep talk to remind us how we can handle the situation and the anxiety with His help.

Thank God for the skills to handle today’s tasks, and leave the outcome to Him.

Kathy O’Neill and her husband live in Oklahoma City, where she loves teaching about Jesus with illustrations.