Dealing With Anxiety
Anxiety can be hard for a lot of us and it can come from so many different things. What we do know is that no matter what, there is a God who calls to us to trust in Him. There are two truths we must understand in dealing with it. 1. Having anxiety doesn't mean we are a bad Christian and not close enough to God. We are humans in a fallen world full of sin, it's going to happen. So don't beat yourself up. 2. The best defense is a good offense. Don't wait til anxiety hits to battle it. A warrior never wins if they are only using their shield. Use your sword (the word of God), be in scripture all the more and keep God's truth close to your heart.
Hello friends! If you are new to the blog, we are a part of the company AskUsWhy whose mission is to equip believers of all stages of life to share the Gospel wherever they go. We primarily do this through our social media, podcasts, and website but also through our apparel line made of intentional designs centered on Christ and starting conversations.
This past week we talked about anxiety. Hopefully just reading that sentence didn't give you anxiety. But the unfortunate truth is our culture today is more anxious than ever before.
Some of the core questions we wanted to address on the podcast were:
· If I keep feeling anxious am I a bad Christian?
· How can anxiety lead us to Christ?
· What are some practical ways to conquer anxiety?
First of all, let's air some things out before we get started, because this can be a very hard/sensitive subject for many. And we would NEVER seek to offend/belittle anybody in this topic.
We are not trying to belittle the struggles of those who deal with anxiety, we all deal with different things. We are speaking from a spiritual perspective; we understand there are many cases when we need physical help as well as spiritual. But for this podcast we know we are not capable of speaking from a physical perspective on the problems of anxiety. But while some cases of anxiety can lead to the need for physical help, we also believe in the Christian worldview that all problems should be addressed through a spiritual perspective as well.
Let's get into the discussion with an analogy shall we?
Check Engine Light:
When there is a problem with your car you will usually get a little red/yellow light on the dashboard that pops up and makes you immediately stress out and even wonder if you should keep driving. That light always makes my day take a turn for the worst. But why? The check engine light in our car is not the problem with the car. The engine light is only a signal that a problem is there. The light TELLS us that we need to go to the one who made the car to have the problem solved. Why would we blame the light when the real problem lies somewhere else, usually somewhere deeper?
Anxiety is the same way. Anxiety is not always the problem. Anxiety is the signal telling us there is a problem. We need to go to God, OUR CREATOR, for the solution to the problem.
Hopefully, you are tracking with me here. I know that in our culture it seems like more and more people struggle with anxiety. While this could be true, and is very true and debilitating for many, what if the problem for most wasn't the anxiety?
Here's what I'm getting at. Maybe it seems like more and more people are dealing with anxiety because they just don't understand what the real problem is. Maybe we call our struggle anxiety, but we actually are dealing with a broken family? Maybe we call our struggle anxiety, but we are actually dealing with an addiction? Maybe we call our struggle anxiety, but we actually are just not trusting God with our life?
Now here's what I'm not saying. I'm not saying that every struggle is something other than anxiety. For those who have a real problem with anxiety, of course that is real and very very hard. But far too many times I see Christians who are clearly dealing with things other than real severe anxiety, but instead of naming those things and bringing them to the light, we throw the overarching blanket of anxiety and depression on top and call it good.
If we continue to cover our real problems with others that have different names, we will never get to the source and bring them to the feet of Jesus.
The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is a choice.
Let's do ourselves a favor and soak in some scripture on the topic real quick:
“I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:15-16
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" Isaiah 26:3
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him . . .” Romans 8:28
Now let's take some of the key truths from these words from God and talk how to practically conquer anxiety.
- "You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair" MLK jr.
Be On the Offense
If we are called to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ, we have to go on the offensive. We CANNOT forget that there is a constant battle of spiritual warfare going on. Paul reminds us to keep our minds set on the things above, not on the things of this world (Col 3:2) The worst thing we can do when we start to feel anxious is to try and empty our minds and forget about everything going on. Why? Because the devil prowls like a lion, looking for whoever he can to devour. He will fill our minds if we don't. What we need do instead is think of the truths of God.
- To battle anxiety, you don’t EMPTY your mind. You FILL IT with what’s good.
- The first thing you do to change your response to anxiety is CELEBRATE what's true about God.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:4-8
Most times we become anxious because we have a control issue. I don't know about you, but there are days I freak out because the day didn't go as I planned and I have learned to see that my desire to be in control of everything was setting myself up for failure, stress, and anxiety. When we lose control over things in our lives we are left with two choices. To be anxious and spiral into distrust. Or we celebrate and believe that God is still good and in control.
- Peace is found between the pillars of trusting in God's GOODNESS and CONTROL.
Okay, that was a lot. I hope you understand my heart is not to condemn anybody or make anybody feel like a "bad" Christian for feeling anxious. I feel anxious from time to time as I know every Christian does. But it doesn't matter IF we feel anxious or not, what matters is what we do next and who (not what) we run towards.
1. Anxiety doesn't make you a bad Christian, it doesn't mean you don't love Jesus. What really shows our true status of relationship with Jesus is how we choose to respond to anxiety. If you aren't in the habit of turning to Jesus when anxiety hits, start now. It's not an overnight process, but it does get easier as we learn to let go of control and give everything to God day by day.
2. Be on the offense, not the defense. A warrior does not win a battle if he only uses his/her shield. Don't let anxiety infiltrate your heart and keep you down. Allow Jesus into the fight, give yourself the upper hand, fill your mind with what is pure, noble, true and lovely, and admirable, and allow those thoughts to help you overcome the thoughts you face.
Anxiety is bad if we let it move us to other things rather than to God. Anxiety is a signal telling us to go to God. Seek Jesus above all else:)
As always, from all of us at AskUsWhy we pray you continue to learn and grow in the faith. We want to be a resource for all believers to be equipped in any stage of life, and to be able to bring the kingdom of God wherever they go.
Peace and blessings!
If you liked this blog and want to listen to the podcast on this topic check the link below!
If you want to read more about topics like this and many other check out the rest of the HUB!
If you want to check out our apparel that is focused on creating kingdom centered conversations, check out the shop!