In His Presence Blog

Overcoming Anxiety Before Surgery

“You’re not making me want to do this,” I uneasily laughed. The pre-op nurse stood before me reciting a litany of risks of surgery: from possible infection, to cardiac arrest . . . to death.

For a split second, fear gripped my heart. This was elective surgery. Do I really want to go through with this?

Let’s face it . . . surgery brings anxiety.

The uncertainties, the unknowns, the disruption of routines, the fear of pain . . . The hidden things in our hearts that leave us teetering on the brink of fear often surface during this time.

Last Tuesday morning, getting to the day surgery center was for me the most challenging part of the day.

day surgery, overcoming anxiety

Because of the newness of the procedure I was having on my foot, the closest doctor was 3 hours from my home. This left plenty of time on the drive over with my husband for anxieties to brew—exacerbated by an early departure on little sleep, the beginnings of a headache, and trying not to think about the restriction on food and drink—(tough for us breakfast people!)

Yet as I gazed out at the rising sun, a thought came: When was the last time the sun failed to come up?

A daily testament to God’s faithfulness, the sun rises each morning, signaling another new day—and not one of us has any control over it!

I considered the sky, the clouds, the trees, and reflected on the awesomeness of God’s creation.

Surely, I am part of that creation! Couldn’t the One who so awesomely and wonderfully made the amazing intricacies of my body—He who designed it to function and heal—see me through this time? 

In that moment, I started thanking God for the blessings all around me. I began praising Him for who He is, all He’s made, the life He’s given me.

Praising God, giving thanks, praying woman

Praise quickly gave rise to prayer, and one by one, I turned my anxious concerns over to Him, leaving each in His capable hands.

By the time we reached the surgery center, I realized my headache had lifted, my heart was at peace.

In Psalm 77, Asaph was consumed with distress, self-concern, worries, complaining. So troubled he could not speak, he wondered, where is God? “Will He be favorable no more?” 

But then he recalled times he had experienced the greatness and goodness of God:

“I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds . . . Who is so great a God as our God?”  (Psalm 77:11-13)

Asaph found that as long as he looked within himself and let his mind ramble with worries and “what-ifs,” he would be miserable.

When his focus returned to God and His greatness, Asaph’s problems shrank into insignificance.

As I prepared for my surgery, I learned again that I could choose: to keep dwelling on my self-centered anxious thoughts, or to put my mind on “things above.”

God was with me. He would see me through this time, like He has so many others.

Is He not faithful to His promises?

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5b)

No matter how big or small, how routine or complex your surgery is, remember—as you prepare—God is there to provide what you need and give you peace.

Thankfulness and praise open the doors to His presence. Prayer opens the floodgates to His peace.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Copyright © 2017 Cheryl Elton

For related posts, click on Topic Tags for “training,” “worry,” “praise.”


  1. Hi Cheryl, I can relate to those anxious thoughts before surgery. But in contrast to anxiety,
    it’s really nice that we have the option to focus instead on the Peace, Grace, Power, and
    Love of God. You show a nice example of tapping into that option ~ Thanks!

    Tony Hroncich
    • I’m glad God has also given us such relatable examples in the Psalms of things we all seem to battle and experience. Endeavoring to live in His presence daily makes it easier when the more challenging times come.

      Cheryl Elton
  2. Thanks, Cheryl. Great thoughts and timely for me too.
    How did the surgery go and how are you doing now?

    Nina Young
    • The surgery went well. The tough part now is staying off my feet! Blessings to you, Nina.

      Cheryl Elton

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