Anxious and worried? The fact is, we all worry sometimes. And sometimes a situation is valid, so fretting seems the responsible thing to do. This pain won’t go away. What if something is terribly wrong? I better get to the doctor.
Often it’s a problem with a family member or close friend that causes our anxiety. I’m very stressed right now. My spouse just lost his job. I don’t know what’s going to happen if he can’t find another one.
Real problems definitely warrant some wisdom, action and prayer.
But here’s what I want you to know, to believe: You can weather life’s storms without being enslaved by an anxious heart that’s full of worry and fear.
I believe this because I’m living proof.
My Freedom Story
Some of you know that I had a severe battle with anxiety around 14 years ago. It began when my health seemed to be deteriorating. I was a young mother of three small girls and had never dealt with chronic health issues (not even seasonal allergies).
One day, a sudden tension headache began on the top of my head. It felt really strange and was very scary. After about a week of these headaches, I went to the doctor and he assured me it was due to stress. Weeks later, I started experiencing numbness that gradually ended up on the total left side of my body. That called for a trip to the ER. Tests were run, follow-up appointments were made, and I was sent home with no answers and a lot of questions.
A year passed, and while the list of odd physical symptoms (debilitating fatigue, blurred vision, chest pain, etc.) increased and the doctor visits ended with no diagnosis, I became convinced that I was dying. The lab tests are just missing it, I thought.
You might imagine the fear that gripped me. It was awful. Worry, even death, dominated my thoughts, choking the very life I desperately wanted right out of me – every day, every hour. After about two years of struggling, depression started to set in, and being a strong introvert didn’t help. It was a l – o – n – g time before I allowed my husband, Craig, to know how dark my thoughts were.
Throughout this whole ordeal my prayers were frequent and desperate. I begged God to reveal the answers I sought. I looked to His Word to find verses of healing to cling to. What was I doing wrong?
My journey to freedom began when I heard a message by author, Linda Dillow on worry. The Holy Spirit pierced my heart with the truth in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God.”
Busted! Being dominated by negative, worrisome, and anxious thoughts proved that I was not living by faith! I may have had the right actions and Christian lingo but my mind and heart weren’t convinced.
My problem was I was too focused on symptoms and not the Source of all life. And that made a world of difference!
Fear, not faith, was the result.
The root of worry is fear and a spirit of fear is not from God.
Freedom from fear is a spiritual battle. This war with fear must be won in the mind.
The strong conviction of God about my lack of faith brought me to repentance (a turning to His ways). He led me to renew my mind daily by catching every negative thought and replacing it with a scripture. The Truth! And the Truth literally began to set me free.
But don’t be misled. This was a process. It took focused determination to break my old pattern. It was a BATTLE. But one that brought victory after victory until the war was won.
Since then, there have been countless opportunities to worry and be anxious over this or that. But when worry’s grip begins to take hold, I automatically confront it head on, resist its lies (the “What ifs”), and renew my mind. This has actually turned into a sweet time of dependence on my Loving Father.
By the way, my health slowly improved over time! My mind now at peace, God also led me to exercise more and eat wisely. (I know you haven’t heard those health tips before!)
Here are a few truths that I continually meditate on to this day:
- God is enough! Nothing can separate me from the love of God! Romans 8 (This truth had the biggest impact. God and His love became enough, became everything.)
- I will be Spirit-led and not fear-led.
- I will trust the Lord in all things.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8
- I will rejoice, pray, and think on things that are good, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. From Philippians 4:6-8
I’d love to pray for you in this area! Send your requests via “comments.”