Trigger warning: if you are battling anxiety, please read ahead with caution. I will be sharing some personal details of my own battle with anxiety and it may trigger you. I have written this prayerfully and hope it helps but, if you need to move on, I completely understand and support you.
I had several people reach out to me this week who are battling anxiety. With everything going on in our world, it’s no wonder. It feels like the enemy is causing chaos, desperate to wound people. We’ve been in the heat of intense battle for several months and I think many are getting weary and anxious. This is a great time to prioritize our spiritual, mental, and emotional health.
Stress and fear take a toll on our bodies. Tanja Jovanovic, Ph.D. says, “Anxiety is the mind and body’s reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. It’s the sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread you feel before a significant event.” Are there any stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations in your life right now?! 😉
The Mayo Clinic says that these are the common symptoms of anxiety:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
I have battled anxiety for much of my life. I was sexually abused as a young child but didn’t tell my parents. That secret wrecked my stomach for years. When I got married, my sweet, new husband was suicidal and deeply depressed. I had no idea how to help him. During that season, we were on staff at a church where I was sexually harassed and my husband was verbally abused. I thought I was losing my mind and on the verge of having a heart attack. I had my heart checked and got a CT scan because I was just sure that I was dying! I had panic attacks every day (sometimes every hour) for a couple of years.
It wasn’t until I discovered freedom ministry and went to professional counseling that it got under control. I had a bunch of junk in my soul that needed exposure and healing. I had people to forgive, memories to process through, and strongholds to knock down. Once Jesus got to work on those places, my anxiety dissolved.
I know it’s not quite that simple for everyone and I’m in no way belittling anyone else’s experience. I just want you to know that freedom is real. Jesus paid for you to experience it. Anxiety doesn’t belong to us. If you are suffering with anxiety, please get the help you need because you deserve to be healthy.
Here’s what I learned in my battle with anxiety: You can’t run from trauma or pain – it doesn’t just go away. It will show up in your life. Mine showed up as panic attacks, tummy pain, and insecurity. Gateway taught us to ask Jesus to revisit painful memories with us. Ask Him where He was when that happened to you. Did you believe any lies when that moment happened? If so, repent (change your thinking) and ask God to forgive you for agreeing with the enemy. He is the father of lies, so when we believe a lie, we are actually agreeing with him. Then ask Jesus to replace that lie with His truth. What does He have to say? What gift does He want to give you? That series of questions set me free from the crippling bondage of anxiety.
I want you to read these scriptures carefully and let them penetrate your heart. They are straight from your Dad who loves you immeasurably:
“Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress
and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!” (Psalm 34:4 TPT).
“Anxious fear brings depression,
but a life-giving word of encouragement
can do wonders to restore joy to the heart,” (Proverbs 12:25 TPT).
“Say to those with fearful hearts,
‘Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you'”, (Isaiah 35:4 NLT).
““I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!” (John 14:27 TPT).
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life,” (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG).
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline,” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT).
I hear people say, “My anxiety…” Anxiety doesn’t belong to you because it isn’t from God. You might be struggling with it for a season, but don’t claim it as yours. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control are yours (Galatians 5:22).
There’s a whole generation of young people determining who they are and what they are about right now. They are making decisions about their passions and identities. God help them and protect them. For those of us who have already know what we are about, let’s show them what health and victory look like. Let’s be a safe place for people and not contribute to the confusing chaos and noise all around right now.
I want to encourage us to keep going, keep fighting. Our health is so important. We need to be anchored to God’s Word. The battle is fixed. We win because Jesus has already defeated our enemy. Worry, fear, and anxiety do not belong to us because we are children of God. As His children we get to enjoy the inheritance of peace and victory that He provides. I’d like to pray for you.
Lord, I pray for every person reading this who is struggling with anxiety. There is so much going on in our world that is uncertain. Please let us know that You are near and remind Your people that You are for us. We take on Your armor from our heads to our toes and ask for Your wisdom. You have never let us down and You aren’t about to start now. Help us to trust You and not allow anxiety or fear to control us. Draw us close and set us free. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
Anxiety doesn’t belong to you – freedom does.