Anxiety! It’s a very well known word within our 21st century culture today. Whether you know someone who battles with it or that someone is yourself, the chances are you have encountered anxiety in some form.
Even so, with such a term being flippantly flung into our everyday life, it can become all too easy to de-sensitize and disengage from what is a daily struggle and battlefield of the mind, for many Christians and those that do not believe.
It can be difficult to reach out for help within a church environment due to shame and fear, especially when everything in your mind is telling you how you shouldn’t be having such thoughts or feeling a particular way. An important issue, therefore, is how we Christians can help support others suffering from anxiety. What do we do when faced with the emotions and thoughts it causes?
As an individual who has personally wrestled with the challenges of living day to day with this condition, I understand how debilitating it can be, making the simplest of tasks rather difficult. There are moments where everything can seem too much to handle and you feel as if you are going to drown consumed by the worry, doubt and fear of “what if?…”
The truth is that God doesn’t promise that we won’t experience trouble, but he does promise that he will equip us with the confidence and peace to go through the valley and walk out into freedom (John 16:33).
One of the best tools I have found in learning to, little by little, overcome anxious patterns is the word of God. Throughout my own journey I have learnt to carry specific key verses to mediate on during the day, so in those times where anxiety begins to surface, I will not be so overwhelmed and defeated by fearful thoughts. I am able to stand on the fact that God is present in the middle of the storm and even if I do feel afraid, I can remain steadfast because he will never leave me nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6). The bible is full of living truths, active not passive; there to give us complete assurance that we can endure the tribulations of life with the strength to face the struggle.
That’s great, but it’s “a typical Christian answer” you may be thinking. In saying these things I’m not trying to present a set plan to obtain instant healing, but talking about applying daily what is life giving through fixing our eyes on Jesus.
Other things are also important in dealing with anxiety: other things I have found helpful include journaling or talking with a trusted friend about your feelings. However this may look for you personally, it is fundamentally important to acknowledge all your emotions (rather than bury them or run away from the pain) in order for healing to take place.
In sharing with you my own story these are just some keys that have enabled me to live each day with a knowing that God is in control and I can rest in his promise of peace. I hope you will find renewed strength and be encouraged to live everyday with the hope that peace is a promise he will keep.
Some verses that have comforted me include:
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43: 1 -2.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10”
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7.”
Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness,
Fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
I’ll never be lonely, for you are near. Psalm 23:4 (The Passion Translation).
“The Lord is my revelation-light to guide me along the way; he’s the source of my salvation to defend me every day. I fear no one!” Psalm 27:1.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7.
GOD met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears Psalm 34:2.