Don’t Worry! Be Set Free!

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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.”

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56 thoughts on “Don’t Worry! Be Set Free!

  1. I just recently started experiencing these same symptoms. In fact, I wrote these things down to pray about daily to release to God. Work, our girls, college, foster care, ministry. I have been bogged down with my own thoughts on each. I haven’t been letting God work. Please pray for me to release it ALL to HIM. I know he’s got it. HE loves us!

  2. Thank you this word! Why is it so hard to put complete Trust in God? You know that He will never leave you nor forsake you. You know that His ways are higher than your ways. But???
    I’m 30, single mother, ready for a husband and more children. And yet, I take a look around and it’s seems like it’s never going to happen. I’m in the process of buying a home and have been trying to close for 60 days now. And every time I prepare myself to sign, something else comes up that prevents me from closing. Did I mention I’m already in the home?
    I know it’s a daily battle but how do you over come it? I feel like God is telling me, you say you trust me, will prove it?
    Thank you Amy!

  3. Thank you so much! When I was in my early teenage years I struggled with anxiety and worry. I found peace but recently it has come back and my thoughts have been dark. It is a struggle and a battle. This post has encouraged me so much! I realize now that I have been doing the same thing you were doing. Thank you for this. Please pray that I will have victory over this worry and anxiety. I will use the scriptures and his truth to sing a new song. Much love!

  4. Hey Amy, thanks for sharing! I loved when you said, “Freedom from fear is a spiritual battle. This war with fear must be won in the mind.” You are so right, and I still struggle with this daily. I’m growing though, always growing. 🙂

    • Oh Michelle, growth is such a gift! The fiery battles do us much good when we cling to Him through them. I’m so thankful God doesn’t waste our pain but uses it for great good. Praying for you often!

  5. I’ve been experiencing panic attacks lately. I want to feel more of God and I know He’s near…because He still speaks to me and thru me….I don’t understand why I am having the panic attacks. I guess just pray that He reveals that to me and He gets the glory for it all.

    • Feel Him or not, He is near. I love how you are seeking His glory through your trial! It won’t help to panic about your panic. Resting in Him through the panic means you know that HE IS GREATER! Praying, Emily!

  6. struggling with anxiety since i was a little girl, you can imagine the amount of stress & fear that gripped me when i graduated college at started my first job (at a LifeChurch.tv campus) 6 months ago. this battle has been a long, exhausting, and rewarding journey with the Lord, bringing me to full dependence on him. while this journey has not yet reached its destination of perfect peace, the incredible amount of encouragement & leadership from our campus staff (and YOU, Amy!) has been exactly what i’ve needed during this season of my life. thank you, and keep those prayers coming, girl!

  7. Amy,
    You don’t know what your post means to me. I am a mom who deals with crippling fear and anxiety. It reared it’s ugly head this past December and I have been on my knees in prayer over it everyday since that time. I am learning to draw my sword but somedays I am so tired…I need the strength of the Holy Spirit. I am a mom of three…one recently adopted from Africa…my husband is the missions pastor at H2O in Ada, Ok…and somedays I feel so alone-that is what the enemy would like for me to think. Thank you for sharing your heart! Xoxo

    • So glad you shared this! Don’t fall for that lie! You are not alone! Being a mom of little ones is so incredibly hard and can feel very isolating. Learn to take His yoke of REST and never take it off for a fake substitute. If you haven’t read “Calm My Anxious Heart,” now’s the time! Praying for you!

      • I know I am not alone!! I must speak that truth!! God is having me share my story with others and women are crying out. What the enemy wants us to keep in the dark God is shinning great light on…I will praise His Holy name through this storm! Thank you for sharing your testimony.

  8. Thankyou so much for your honesty. God continually amazes me how he uses our lives to influence and encourage others. You have certainly done this with me. Its as though you knew my thoughts and my life story at this present time and written it down for me to read. Thankyou.

  9. I don’t know if you already have this song or not, but I thought you might like it – it is Hebrews 11:6 put to music: http://theversesproject.com/verses/53

    Also, yes, I would appreciate prayer in the area. Worry, fear, and anxiety are something I daily battle. Some days are better than others, some days I feel rather crippled. I am working on overcoming this, but as you said, it is a BATTLE.

    Thank you for your openness in sharing.

    ~Kathryn

  10. Thankyou so much for your honesty. God continually amazes me how he uses our lives to influence and encourage others. You have certainly done this with me. Its as though you knew my thoughts and my life story at this present time and have written it down for me to read. Thankyou.

  11. I struggle with worry and anxiety on an almost debilitating level. In the recent months it has grown to such a disease within myself that it impacts my daily life and happiness in all areas. I’ve dealt with panic and anxiety attacks since I was 12 (so about 9 years now), but it has just started reaching other areas of my health as well. In the last few weeks I have started my road to recovery from worry. I am finally choosing to trust God through every problem, not be bound by fear. I loved how you said “It was a BATTLE”. It is not as simple as it sounds to just “stop worrying”. It will take much time and most importantly, prayer. It is a difficult journey to overcome such severe anxiety, one that will be a very intentional task. Thank you for posting this, God knew it was just the right time for me to read it!

    • I’m praising God that you are now on a track of healing and freedom! Fight for the freedom that is already yours in Christ! The Evil One has lied and stolen from you long enough! Take your stand and KEEP ON STANDING! I’ll be lifting you up! Hugs!

  12. This hits home. I worry nearly all day about the fate of our foster daughter that we had had almost two years (and got when she was a newborn) …

    Although I have heard Craig preach is so many times (and was on staff at LC for 5 years until I recently resigned) it has still been difficult for me to actually do.

    Thank you for the reminder and encouragement.

  13. Please pray that u pass my real estate final exam. I really feel like pursuing real estate is what I’m supposed to do full time, but have been so frustrated and discouraged abt the process. I’ve been w/out a job for 2 months, and feel the pressure coming on. I was interviewing with a med sales company for over a month to only find out I didn’t get the job. My husband and I prayed and both really felt that I should focus on my real estate schooling and do that full time. I’m beginning to hve doubts and feeling scared if our future as I’ve never been at this place in our lives before. I’ve always made good money to help take care of our family and now feel like I’m not doing my part. Just pray that Gid gives me peace and helps me pass my exam.. We both have peace that its what I’m supposed to do, just the process is becoming tiring and money is running low.. Thanks Amy!

  14. Amy,
    You will never know what a blessing this truly was to me today! It has been a very difficult (and stretching/growing) year for me. Almost a year ago, my Dad passed away. We were very close! He was an amazing Godly Dad. A wonderful grandfather. (And a big Craig fan. 😉 He absolutely LOVED watching Craig’s sermons!)
    My mom is a 54 year old widow. This has been so difficult to see her in such deep grief. And I have personally had a very tough time dealing with grief and simply missing him deeply! A few months after he passed away, I started having health issues (was diagnosed with acid reflux, lots of other goofy symptoms which led to lots of worries and anxiety!) I went into some depression, fear and even some slight panic attacks and anxiety! I could SO relate with your devotional words. Wow! I am going in tomorrow morning for an upper scope for them to look into further, also approaching another ‘1st’ (Fathers Day) and as I was emotional and tired today, I opened my email to read your timely words!! Oh, how they ministered to my soul!
    I am so grateful for your transparency and the wisdom you shared! You and Craig are huge role models to my family! Thank you and may Gid richly bless you!! Hugs from Ohio!

  15. Dear Amy,
    Thank you so much for sharing. I was at work Monday and was passing out and really sick. I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression for about 20 years. I was home sick still today. I have has no energy and I realized today I think it’s been my anxiety all along. I cut my credit cards up Sunday before church which were almost maxed out but been relying on any little bit to have food and gas when my check wouldn’t cover. On my way to work Monday I noticed my gas gauge was low and was like God I have to make it to Wednesday when I get paid. I been struggling with my finances and I know God trying to get me to trust him. I pay my tithe even though I know I have nothing left to eat on or get gas. My car note is behind for the first time in my life and I’m really trying to not think about it and give it to God but its coming out in anxiety in my body and getting sick allot. I’ve been so angry towards God I feel because everytime I feel I get blessed something happens to take that away. So I feel like I’m being punished and I can’t grow spirtually and I don’t feel God love. I’ve had no energy to pray or spent time with him lately. I want to desire him but I don’t feel that way inside. It upsets me. I feel parilized in fear right now.

    • Kayce! My heart goes out to you! You’ve shared so openly & I think this kind of honesty is how to pray! “God, I want to desire You more, trust You more, know You more… through this pain…through all my days (good or bad). God isn’t punishing you. But He does use everything in the lives of His kids purposefully & for good. God is for your emotional freedom! He is Your Peace. Rest in Him. Praying for you.

      • Thanks so much Amy for taking time to read my comment and responding. I tried going back to work today and I knew I needed to stay home. My boss talk to me and told me I needed to take rest of the week off to rest. I can hardly function I feel so weak, dizzy and I been about to pass out here and there. After I sent that message I remember Craig preaching on fear at HPC live the dream so I watched it. I cried most of the night and I didn’t sleep. I just can’t take much more. It upsets me that there are people really sick out there and I’m blessed to be healthy, but living with this anxiety makes things 10 x ‘s worse. Thanks for the prayers!

  16. Thank you so much for this post that I stumbled across on my twitter feed.

    I have just been so broken trying to find what God wants me to do with my life and praying He’ll open the next door soon.

    • Praying! Peace to you, Bea, in the journey of waiting for desires to be realized! I believe God would encourage you with this: remember that right NOW is a precious gift. God has a plan for you in TODAY. Xoxo Love & hugs!

  17. My husband and I are facing the biggest battle of our 16+ years of marriage. Our marriage has never been better, kids are awesome…this is a storm involving extended family. Only God knows the outcome. I am trying harder than ever to stand on God’s promises of deliverance, but even a seasoned believer has days of doubt, fear & anxiety. Our faith has never been tested like it is now. I KNOW FEAR. I STRUGGLE WITH THIS BATTLE OF THE MIND. It’s harder than anything. Please pray for our family. We need the Lord’s supernatural deliverance, defense & restoration. Thank you for this post, it has comforted me entirely…
    Blessings on you, Craig, family & LC

  18. AMY

    Thank you so much for this post. It is exactly what i needed to hear today. My whole life I have struggled with some sort of worry/anxiety. But most recently my husband just found out that he may be loosing some of his pay and I am 2 months away from my due date. So I need your prayers for our finances and for me to not worry about it and to know that God is working all things out.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Katrina

  19. Thank you so much for this post, Amy! I have battled depression and anxiety for years now. I worry about EVERYTHING. About 2 years ago I lost my infant son, Jackson. My placenta ruptured causing him to loose oxygen and being put on life support for a few days. After no improvement and lots of prayer, we took him off life support. Placenta Ruptures are very rare (at least for how extreme mine was) and can result in the mother and/or baby dying. I am thankful I am still here, but I am 16 weeks pregnant right now (after a year of trying and then miscarrying) and I am TERRIFIED it will happen again and I will loose my life this time. I’m sure you can imagine that my fear has gotten worse since loosing a child….because I had always feared that. No scripture seems to comfort me lately and no one reminding me that God is in control makes me feel at ease because His plans don’t always mean there will be healing. His plans are a little scary to me 😉 I know for sure He will get you through anything because He has done a lot in my life in the past two years, but I have a long way to go with my constant worry. Please pray for peace, especially as the pregnancy gets closer to an end and pray that my battle can some day end too 😉 Thanks for your encouraging story. I know that it is possible and I have hope that I will find that freedom…

    • Thank you for sharing your struggle with me! I will be lifting you up in prayer. Believing with you for your freedom from worry! Don’t give up the fight! Stand your ground.

  20. Amy- thank you for this. I have struggled with severe anxiety as far back as I can remember. As a small child it was the fear of AIDS, then in my preteen years, it was a fear of demons and demon possession, in high school I seemed to have been “set free” from the anxiety in my life, however it was only masked by something else to keep my mind occupied…my weight (I struggled with a combination of bulimia and anorexia). Early in my marriage it shifted more to worries and perfection expectations in my husband, and now as a mom to 3 little ones ages 5 and under…well, you can imagine. While your blog post makes sense, and I am desperate for the freedom you have found, I honestly feel like it is impossible for me…I have only ever known fear and anxiety. I grew up in a very fear-driven, hell-fire-and brimstone church, and my dad (though genuinely a very kind and loving man), was always talking about extremely heavy subjects going on in the world, which I suppose fed my assumption that God is not a gentle, good, and loving God. Now we attend a church that is very focused on grace, serving, and second chances, and I am finding it hard to accept this; not because I don’t want to, but because I have been so ingrained with the very opposite. I would appreciate your prayers. I have an incredible husband, sister, and group of friends who are supportive, listen, and encourage, but I am still having a hard time letting go of the only thing I have ever known. But oh. how I want to be set free!

    • I will pray! I will pray that you don’t lose hope. I’d love for you to read through an easy Bible reading plan that I wrote on YouVersion.com or its Bible app, called Seeking God. I think it could help you renew your mind with an accurate view of God and draw you closer to Him. Love you.

  21. I am experiencing this now. I started this new career after leaving the military. It is stressing me out and I feel I’m not good enough for this. The training to get my Series 7 licence is intense and I haven’t been doing well. The devil has been putting the fear in my head of what if I don’t make it. I know Christ has me in the right position. Please pray for me. Thanks.

  22. Thank you for this message, i am struggling with a friendship that i am not sure about , whether it right or not. I have been hurt in the past by this person & i am worried i am making a mistake.

  23. Amy, thank you for your message! I had read worry is sin- I always had difficulty letting go of it. My favorite part of your message is where you were lead to think a scripture for every negative thought- so the truth will set you free! I am going to try it! Thank you for sharing your testimony with anxiety and worry. Cora

  24. Wow, this is just what i needed to read today. Thank you for opening up & sharing your struggles! So neat how God uses all things for His good.

    I have had several bouts of depression over the past 23 years but am currently really struggling with both depression & anxiety. I have so many stressors in my life during this season (preparing to homeschool 2 of 3 children for the first time, two children with Asperger’s Syndrome, spouse is a pastor, Dad just had major surgery to remove cancerous tumor in lung, dad recovering in our home, major financial issues, major church financial issues, & then trying to be a good mom to 3 boys, a good supportive wife & a caretaker for my father) & i am so guilty of letting fear, self-doubt, worry, & etc… take over me. I am trying to take every thought captive but feel like I am in the deep, yucky middle of battle so I could sure use your prayers. Thank you!

  25. This comment is a few years late but your story seems to be a replica of mine right. I have two children, ages 11 months and 2.5 years. My second baby was a surprise but such a blessing! I was stressed though the entire time I was pregnant. My son was sick all of the time, we had just moved from a city that we loved and left a church and friends we didn’t think we could replace. Both my husband and I stepped into new roles at work and I was actually starting my career off. After having my second baby I had a terrible infection that was hard to clear up. Ever since then I have weird symptoms and multiple doctor’s visits, test, etc with little to no explanation. I already struggled with fear and anxiety before so this set it off tenfold! I never had struggled with my own health and I’m in the healthcare field so I know of every terrible thing it “might be” and it haunts me. I try so hard to stay positive and cling to God’s promises but it is a minute by minute struggle. This has been hard on my work, children and my marriage. If you are still reading these and have time send up a prayer then it will be greatly appreciated! I also think if God lays on your heart to write a book about your experiences during this time of your life and how you overcame fear then it would be well received and applicable. Thank you!

  26. I and my husband have been trying to get pregnant and carry to full term for nine years now but cannot. Just lost a 4 wks pregnancy through ivf. Please pray for us cos we are so depressed. Is God far from us? I am 43 and so afraid.

  27. Amy, thank you. Thank you. God led me to you. He has overcome, and because of His victory I know I will win. Seeing how you overcame, I know that God will help me. Pray for me Amy. Please, pray for me. I lost my son nine months ago after an emergency caesarean section. I had struggled with anxiety and depression before because of my extremely introvert nature but this all brought it to the fore. My days seem dark, my nights short, it is a complete nightmare. Symptom after symptom, countless trips to the doctor. I live from one prayer to the next. Nevertheless, I still have to get up most days to work an earn a living. Please, pray for me.

    • Hello, dear sister. Please forgive me for my negligence in reading comments on this blog. Much time has passed since you wrote these heartbreaking words to me. I am so deeply sorry. I do hope you have seen impovement to your health and soul. Please do not allow the enemy to steal from you. I will begin praying for you now. I will pray that God heals you completly from your grief, anxiety, depression, and any other ill-effect to your health and well-being. I encourage you to satuate yourself in prayer and in the word each day. Emptiness comes when we don’t abide before Jesus. Isaiah 26:3 is a great verse to walk in: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Love, Amy

  28. Please pray for me for increased faith in Jesus. I’m terribly anxious and fearful I received papsmear and HPV reports .
    Thankyou

    • Hi Sabrina! I am sorry for my slow response. I am praying for you now. May God give you complete confidence in Him. Isaiah 26:3 is a great verse to walk in:
      You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
      Love, Amy

  29. I first heard of your story during my current bible study, Soul Detox. It was an answer to prayer. Our symptoms are slightly different but the stories are almost identical. I have been living in fear and pain for the past 2 years, after having my 4th child in 6 years. I’ve had doctors tell me I’m fine but the physical symptoms have me living in constant fear that I’m dying. I searched out your blog and read your story again and it brings me so much hope. My question is how did you determine what was rational concerns that you needed to get checked out and what was just your mind taking over and to let it go? I’m hopeful I will come out on the other side of this much stronger in my faith just as you did; you are an inspiration.

    • Hi Danielle! I am very glad you have receieved hope from my story. It was such a dark time for my soul. To answer your question about deciding when to go to the doctor, I began to daily pray that i would be Spirit-led and not fear-led. This included taking fearful thoughts captive and replacing them with the truth that the Father’s presence and love would always be with me. I knew He would direct my steps and allow me to know what he wanted me to know about my health. Once I had peace (You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3), if I still had a strong notion to go to a certain doctor, then I would go. In my case, I quit going to doctors. The Word of God renewed my mind and my health slowly improved. My love and prayers to you for continued hope, peace, and healing! Love, Amy

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