Breaking Free From Anxiety
What does that word mean? The dictionary defines it like this:
- a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. “he felt a surge of anxiety”
desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.“the housekeeper’s eager anxiety to please”
a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
Now, what does that word mean to me personally, and perhaps to you? Anxiety usually hits me when I’m least expecting it and it comes on as fast as a freight train. I’m totally blind-sided by it. One minute I’m living my happy life, and the next, I’m terrified. There are usually certain “triggers” for people who have experienced this. For me, it’s almost always health related.
A little over a year ago, my mom had a tumor the size of a tennis ball removed from her head. Soon after her surgery, I started panicking at every headache I would get. These are the same headaches I’ve had come and go my whole life, but now my brain kept telling me that it was something more. I might have a tumor just like my mom. These thoughts play over and over in my mind until I make myself sick. I begin to have other symptoms like a racing heart, chest pressure and uncontrollable shaking. I couldn’t eat or sleep. It’s like living in a cloud, unable to function.
You know what happened? The worrying turned into panic! And the panic led me to the hospital and left me with over $1000 in unnecessary bills.
Most recently, I began having this odd pain in my left arm. I’ve had pain there before, but this felt slightly different. My mind immediately turned to thoughts of having a heart attack. It has taken me weeks to get over this and to know without a doubt that I am fine. I’m getting through this and so can you!
How can you break free from anxiety?
First and foremost, praise God!
Even when you don’t feel like it, turn on praise and worship music and sing along. I know how hard this is when you feel like you’re about to die and it’s getting hard to breathe. But you must push through because that’s where your breakthrough happens. Thank God for healing you! Thank Him for everything He’s blessed you with in your life. When you begin to praise Him, it starts to drown out the darkness around you and helps you to focus more on the light that is Jesus Christ!
Find a good scripture and speak it out loud.
My favorite one for so many situations, but especially anxiety is 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND.” Say this over and over until you start believing it. You’ll begin to feel His power rising up in you. You will feel Him speaking peace over your mind! Any time the enemy tries making your mind go crazy, quote this scripture and tell Satan to flee from you in Jesus name!
Reach out to people.
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad.” Proverbs 12:25
One of the very worst things you can do is to try to fight this battle on your own. It’s a scary thing to open up to people because you’re afraid they might think you’re crazy. And you know what? Some people do. But that’s their problem really. They don’t understand because they haven’t been there before. You can’t truly understand something that you’ve never dealt with. But, I promise you that if you keep reaching out, you’re going to find people who will support you. People who will be going to the throne of God on your behalf when you just can’t find the words.
I recently asked my pastor’s wife if they had any counseling through the church. The lady who usually counsels people said that anxiety isn’t something she’s really helped with before. Bummer! But, guess what? That lady started praying for me and gave me some cards at church last Sunday to start meditating on. What an amazing feeling to know that others are supportive and that they’re praying for you! This wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have the courage to reach out for help.
Study His Word to see what He says about anxiety. I know it’s easier said than done. But when you truly desire to be obedient to God’s Word, He’s going to help you and equip you to live it out. He commands us to not be anxious!
“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, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7
Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown in to the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Trust the Lord!
He hasn’t brought you this far to let you go. His Word says, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6 I know it’s hard to trust, when your body is giving you all these signals that you’re not going to make it, but resting in Him and trusting that He’ll bring you through this is one of the best things you can do.
Read the Bible and other great books.
The Bible should be your main tool, but you probably already know that. There are some other amazing books out there to give you more ideas on how to overcome this. Two that have recently helped me are, “Be Anxious for Nothing” by Joyce Meyer, and “Make Fear Bow” by Gary V. Whetstone.
Once you get past the initial panic, start moving more. I’ve taken up rowing since my husband has a rowing machine and it’s been cold out. The best exercise though, is when you are able to get outside. There’s just something about that fresh air that’s great for your mind. Take a nice walk if you are able and focus on God’s glorious creation.
I hope you found this helpful. Know that you are not alone and that it is 100% possible to overcome anxiety. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37. Please let me know how I can be praying for you!
Be blessed my friends!