How To Overcome Anxiety
Anxiety. That one little word yet it has so much power. It plagues so many people, nearly 40 million Americans and keeps them from fully living the life the Lord has set before them. I think there are some people who use the term loosely- “I am just really anxious about this upcoming birthday party. It’s a surprise and I really hope it all goes to plan.” However, for some (me included), it wasn’t just a simple term to describe something specific. It was a state of being that robbed me of my joy and who I was. If I had to describe it, I would use the words “debilitating, still but also fast, paralyzing yet heart pounding, quivering yet sweaty”. It didn’t just revolve around a specific event, it would creep in when certain triggers would set it off. Do you know someone like that? Or better yet, is that you?
For those of you who haven’t dealt with anxiety, it’s hard to understand how someone can’t just “stop worrying! It will be fine.” However, for someone with chronic anxiety, it’s not that simple. It’s like your hands are tied to a treadmill and it’s on the highest speed and you can’t get off. Your mind just continues to rehash whatever it is you are worried about and won’t let it go. For years I lived like this. Worry would creep in but I was always able to rationalize my fears to myself and to others. I made my anxiety out to be something that was needed. It wasn’t until I had my son Kruze, that I realized how deep the problem had become. Yes, I do believe that a lot of the struggle came from the new world of motherhood and postpartum hormones, however, looking back, I just think it was the tip of the iceberg for a girl who spent her life worrying. The beauty of that was that I found myself desperate for a solution. I needed a way to know that I could get past this. And I am so happy to tell you I did. And today, I am hoping that by sharing my tips on how to overcome anxiety, you too can grow past your worry and experience the true freedom that Christ has waiting for you.
The first step is understanding your mind and how it works. Our minds are like computers, simply put. They begin empty and blank and slowly as we grow and mature, we begin to “download” new software. We have memories, experiences, and trials that we process. Sometimes, they can be things that are traumatizing and leave us with a space that causes us misery. These memories or fears of relapse or the idea of something terrible happening come back into our minds when triggers occur. Here’s an example. When I was 5, I was in a terrible tornado that destroyed many homes in our neighborhood. Now at the age of 29, if we get a “severe thunderstorm warning” I start to panic. If that warning escalates to a “tornado warning” then I am in the closet, shivering from fear, and refreshing my radar app every 30 secs. What am I afraid of? Another terrible tornado. Yes, there are chances that could happen, however, not like my mind allows me to believe. Sometimes the reason for our anxiety can’t be pinpointed. It may not be from the cause of a traumatic event, yet still we worry. A common fear is when a loved one doesn’t answer our phone call. We know that are driving in terrible conditions so immediately our minds create the worse possible scenario. Regardless of the source, we have to override the anxiety with new software- God’s word.
The second step is downloading new software and memorizing scripture. The Bible is very clear that the Lord wants you to fully experience His peace. Anxiety doesn’t have to rule over your life and control you. There is a freedom that is only available through Christ and it was only after I spent time in His word that I realized that worry and obsessive behaviors didn’t have any stronghold over me. I know all this, because on the other side of this computer screen, I am writing this from a place of personal experience. The ONLY answer to freedom is through Jesus and the direct link to that is His word. I did this by memorizing and reading scripture. Daily. I found specific verses that I memorized, specifically those relating to the Lord’s peace. Anytime I felt the anxiety bug creep in I would override that software with the new software of Christ. I would repeat the scriptures out loud. I will be honest and admit that at first, it felt foreign and strange. However, as time progressed, it became apart of my daily routine.
Here are a few scriptures that I have memorized. I want to encourage you to look each of them up, write it down somewhere, and begin to say them out loud.
1 Peter 5: 7-10
Thirdly, you must spend time in prayer. Prayer is your life line and your connection to Christ. As you continue to spend time with the Lord, you will begin to grow and trust him as your relationship grows. Think of it this way, if you asked a stranger to do you a favor would you trust them to do it? If you asked a friend to do you a favor, do you think they would be more likely to do it? Of course, because there is a relationship there that you know you can rely on. The Lord longs for that relationship and trust. He is waiting on you. If you continue to fill the void with other things (i.e. your phone, which I did in order to take my mind off things.) you will continue to come up short. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing that can replace prayer. Here is a rhyme I came across in a bible study I did once and it’s a great trick to memorize.
“When I fear, I need God here. Who needs to hear it? The Holy Spirit.” Which simply means, pray. Talk to Him. Then simply say that words “Help Me Jesus”. Those three simply words will have a profound impact. I promise.
The fourth and final step- put Satan back where he belongs, under your feet. You need to know that you have be given all the power by Jesus to conquer Satan and he has NO POWER or strongholds over your life. Listen up girlfriend: There is POWER on a level we don’t even comprehend in the name of Jesus! The enemy WILL NOT take over! Are you hearing me? Are you listening to the words I am typing? My beautiful friend, Jesus died on the cross for your salvation and mine and He has given us authority to command Satan to step down and be gone! Sometimes, when I am really struggling, I will yell- yes yell, out loud- “Satan you have NO CONTROL over my life! I demand you in the power of the name of Jesus, get out of my head!” You may chuckle a little at the thought of me doing that, but sister, I am not lying when I say he is ferocious and sometimes he comes after me in a strong way. But, I will NOT allow him that control for one single moment and you shouldn’t either. You need to walk in that authority!
Look up this verse. 2 Timothy 1:7.
Okay, so that wraps up our time here together but I want to tell you one more thing. This works. I promise because I’m living it. But what it doesn’t mean is that you won’t face anxiety again. It will try to creep up on you and try to hold you captive. Every day, you have to get up. Get up and eat. Get up and take in God’s word. Get up and fill your mind with the Good News of Jesus. I hope that through this blog you were able to capture a little bit of hope and freedom through what Christ has done in my life. And my prayer for you is that you too can fully experience the joy, peace, and freedom in Christ.
Blessings to you my precious friend.