Fighting off worry, anxiety, and fear
I can remember the first time I had a major anxiety attack. It was at a friend’s house after watching the movie Paranormal Activity. Was it a bad idea to see that kind of a movie? Absolutely. It struck so much fear in me that led me to an anxiety induced year. Of course, several other events that took place played into this anxiety but the culprit was my decision to see a movie that I knew would be bad for me but I didn’t listen. I didn’t know that these anxious thoughts, terrifying nightmares, worry, and fear had names. I was a teenager, and I didn’t know much about anything back then. But I did know that these things I was experiencing was very real. I still experience them today but it’s a lot different than it was back then. It’s not about Paranormal Activity or anything that would classify as that, it’s worry about the future, elections, loss, and so much more.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned a lot about what these things are, and just how real they seem in someone’s mind. I realize more and more just how hard it is to combat these things, but we can. If we have the Holy Spirit, we can combat anything, even terrifying nightmares, or panic attacks. Both anxiety and panic stem from fear and it can easily lead to nightmares or sleepless nights. All of these things tie together and can create a monstrous affect if we don’t know how to fight it. You must also remember that God does not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). It’s the enemy that whispers his lies to us to get us to cave into the worry and fear instead of focusing on our Creator. Each time we take our eyes of God as our provider, our sustainer, our healer, our deliverer, our refuge, and our Savior, we open the door to anxiety and with it comes the ugly truth of depression, panic, and sleepless nights.
Anxiety can be paralyzing. The ‘what if’s’ are haunting. Believe me, I know. When we face such atrocities, all we see is a myriad of real dangers resulting in the endless list of ‘what if’s’ that lead us down an endless path of self-destruction. How do we even begin to combat that?
As I walked through my anxiety, trying to understand it and learning more about what it is over the past couple of years, I’ve learned that the best way to combat it is reciting Scripture, writing in an answered prayer journal, and writing in a gratefulness journal. These three things have helped me tremendously and I think they can help you too. Not to mention, they help change your perspective, and perspective is everything.
Ways to Combat:
Recite Scripture: Reciting God’s word is the most affective tool you could use in moments of panic. I know that in these moments, it’s hard to think critically, clearly, and rationally but when we recite what the Word of God says, we begin to have a clearer mind and our focus switches.
Here are some verses that have helped me:
2 Samuel 22:2
There are so many other passages, but these are the ones that stick out to me. I encourage you to dig deep into the Word and find comfort there. Focus on the author of our Salvation because with him, we can combat anything. I know this to be true because there have been so many nights I have faced experienced lack of sleep or no sleep at all. But when I lay my head on the pillow, I recite Scripture or recite “But God” statements, and before I know, I fall into a deep slumber. God’s truth does help, and I encourage you to know it and draw near to him.
Document Answered Prayer: I started doing this March of 2019 and I have found it to be incredibly helpful. Find a journal and write down a list of all the prayers God has answered in your life. At the end of each week, read over those answered prayers and you will quickly be reminded of the goodness and faithfulness of God. He has never failed you and will not start now.
Keep A Gratefulness Journal: Don’t worry if you’re not a writer, this can be done in lists. All you gotta do is write down what you are grateful for, and when you’re feeling anxious or dealing with fear, read through it or write something else down. I’ve found that this really does help switch my thinking, and I think it will help you as well.
God promises us that is power is made perfect in weakness, and I believe that to be true. He is near to us in the darkest of storms and the strongest of hurricanes. With him, we can combat our anxious thoughts that run rampant in the middle of the night. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you.
Jesus is the antidote to anxiety. What he accomplishes for us and promises to us is the ultimate triumph over all that terrifies us. We were never promised an escape from misery and suffering in this world but we were promised that he will every misery (Romans 8:28) and in him, we will overcome. When you feel anxiety and fear creep up, don’t talk to it. Talk to God. Arguing with your anxiety never works. Scripture doesn’t instruct us to do that. It instructs us to cast all of our anxieties on him in prayer.
" When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy" - Psalm 94:19
My friend, I pray that you do that this week as you fight whatever battle you are fighting. Draw to near to Him. Lay it at his feet. He loves you.