Anxiety is real. You know it and I know it, because I'm in the raging waters with you.
I've listened to so many sermons on anxiety, and after a while, all the preachers sound the same. They all use the same verses, like Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." And there is nothing wrong with this verse at all; it's just that every time I've heard it used by a pastor, they make it seem so easy. Like it's a kind of formula that will wipe away all my anxieties. Just tell God your problems, and everything will be fine! Riiiight.
But it seems like they're all looking at it from the outside. At least that's what I thought until I came across a sermon series by Louie Giglio*. He got it. He got it because he's been there. And his sermons actually helped! But I think what helped the most was when he said that anxiety was real. And anxiety was big.
Thank you. Yes, anxiety is real, it is big, and it can be really, really scary. But thankfully, we have a God who can—and will—overcome anxiety.
My biggest struggle with anxiety is that I DO trust God. Many people say, "Just trust God, everything will be okay." That's something that's really easy to say, but not a really good suggestion to someone with anxiety issues.
Let me clarify quick. Fear and anxiety can be normal things. They are actually God-given emotions to let us know when we are in danger or when something isn't right. However, these things become ungodly when we allow them to move into our lives and stay there or even run our decisions. Sometimes we don't even realize anxiety until it seems like it is too late. You may feel like you're in that spot right now.
Yes, I've had panic attacks. Yes, I have anxiety. But YES, I also trust God. Let me say this to all of you in the same situation: You are not alone in this fight. Yes, it's a fight, but it can be won. Anxiety is something that is used by our enemy to get into our heads and try to paralyze us so that we can't live or do anything for God. Satan would be just as satisfied making an ineffective, too-scared-to-act Christian as he would be satisfied in distracting a non-Christian from God.
As a believer in Christ, that's not something I'm interested in. The first step in overcoming anxiety is choosing that you want out. We may have been given a "thorn" in our lives in one way or another (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). (You know yours!) For some, like me, it's anxiety. If that's you too, please be encouraged: you're not crazy. Some people's thorns may be depression, physical disabilities, or addiction. Ours just happens to be anxiety.
Here's what I've learned through my journey:
God is fighting for us (Romans 8:31), and He will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He wants to use us, and He wants us to win the victory over a life filled with anxiety and fear. He is completely trustworthy. He has never failed, and I know He won't start now, because He never changes, and that is really good news for us.
He will see you through every ounce of anxiety. You will come out on the other side because He He loves you and He is good. Overcoming your anxieties might take longer than you'd like; it will most certainly be a process. But keep in mind that He's doing something good! Once you start realizing and really believing this, though anxiety may still try to have you, you will see more and more that though it's big, it's no match for God and His sovereign strength and ability. And for that, He will forever get the praise and the glory that He deserves.
If you're in a battle with anxiety, I'd love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let's encourage one another.
Anxiety is something that is used by our enemy to get into our heads and try to paralyze us so that we can't live or do anything for God. The first step in overcoming anxiety is choosing that you want out. Read God's Word to remember His promises and perspective. Talk to Him about your worries and capture those anxious thoughts before they make a home in your mind or heart. Seek help from friends, family, a counselor, or even a doctor. Fear has to bow down at Jesus' feet in submission to Him gives us the freedom to breathe easy. Nothing can touch our lives except what God allows, and we know that whatever He allows, He can and will use for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
Stephanie is a 21-year old with a passion to see believers grow and become passionate in their relationship with the Lord. She is a lover of sweat tea, sunshine, and the freedom that comes from Christ. In her free time, she can be found singing, playing guitar, writing or jamming out to Hawk Nelson, Phil Wickham, and worship music. Her dreams are to become a worship leader and a published author, while living a life full of fun and joy that comes from the Lord.