What if I take a chance and utterly fail? What if someone I love dies? What if I screw up so badly that I lose my job? What if I never get married?
Our minds can become plagued with thoughts like these. Anxiety knows exactly how to take control, leaving us feeling defeated, powerless and hopeless.
Fear is like an ominous cloud all around us, but the truth is that it doesn’t grow and takeover unless we give it the power over us. It slides under the radar, starting with a few seemingly harmless thoughts until it starts to takeover our minds and our bodies.
The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.Max Lucado
According by to Google search data, there are more searches for anxiety and panic than ever before. Why the uptick in anxiety related disorders? It’s grown exponentially since the global pandemic struck in 2020, reminding us all how little control we have over what happens in this world. If you think about what’s happened in the world the last few years, it’s no wonder there are millions of anxious people.
Did you know that ‘fear not’ appears in the Bible 365 times? It’s as if God knows how important addressing fear is and how many of us fall into the trap of fear and anxiety.
Fear isn’t something new; people have battled fear and anxiety since the beginning. God fully understands the challenges we face in trusting our uncertain futures to Him. That’s why the topic of fear is woven thoroughout the Bible.
Wouldn’t it feel amazing to take the power back over your anxiety and over your life?
Let me tell you the biggest lesson I’ve learned with anxiety and fear when it comes to faith.
When you learn to surrender fully to God, including all of those what if’s and anxieties, fear naturally starts to fade, losing its powerful grip on you. God’s light truly shines in the darkness. His light will always prevail over anxiety and fear. It’s our choice of whether we give our fears to Jesus or try to fight them on our own strength. I’d rather choose the former.
The most important action we can take and the thing we CAN control is to lay all our anxieties at Jesus’ feet. He can handle it, I promise you.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:7
Did you hear that? God has given us a spirit of POWER! We aren’t meant to live in a state of perpetual anxiety and fear, allowing it to consume our minds and bodies. We might struggle and feel powerless when we’re fighting the battle of anxiety on our own, but God has all the power in the world and He wants to fight for YOU!
Let’s get down to it. Here’s how to reduce the power of anxiety…
- Recognize the grip anxiety has on you and your life. It all starts with awareness. The awareness of the current state of anxiety and its negative impact on your daily functioning, self-esteem, relationships, work, etc. When you see anxiety clearly, then you can start to gain your power back over it.
- Deal with it when it STARTS. Don’t delay dealing with it because it will only get worse. It’s better to manage mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety than it is to manage full-blown panic (that’s a topic for another blog post).
- Analyze your self-talk and the narrative you’re telling yourself. Oftentimes when we write down or bring awareness to the self-talk occurring in our mind, we can start to break it down slowly and see how to change our thinking. Ask yourself, is this really the truth? Is there any evidence to support this claim? Put your anxious thoughts in check. Write down a replacement for each negative thought.
- Go to God first, not last. It takes time to build a healthy habit of seeking God first, but it’s essential to managing anxiety. God doesn’t want us to fight this alone; He wants to help us fight it. If we go to God with our anxiety, He can break down those harsh barriers and help us see that who we are in Christ is what matters most.
- Talk back to anxiety with scripture. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Saying these biblical truths to yourself will lessen the power of anxiety. “I am given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.” Try memorizing verses about fear or posting them up where you’ll see them daily.
When anxiety tries to overtake your mind, stop what you’re doing and take a few minutes to sit down and breathe, grounding yourself and stabilizing your mind. Anxiety — if we allow it to — can produce a daily reliance on God and His unlimited power. Remember God’s faithfulness in your life and what He has done for you when you find yourself doubting. Remind yourself that while your mind feels plagued with anxious thoughts, God can carry all of your burdens.