Anxiety reveals itself in a number of ways.
Sometimes it’s subtle. It can be misunderstood for simply pressure or stress until it decides to rear its ugly head and exposes its true colors.
Other times it erupts in a flash so intense it can be difficult to breathe, to think, to slow down and understand what’s really happening.
And yet in its most painful moments, it can lead to an overwhelming since of nausea, sickness and hopelessness that can turn into despair and depression.
But anxiety itself starts out as a gentle wave upon the sand . . . until, if you are like me, this tropical beach paradise of life has turned into a seismic tsunami.
My anxiety is birthed from feelings of failure, loneliness or not being enough for friends, family, my spouse or God himself. For others, it might be something different that eventually becomes a trigger.
In the Old Testament, I think King David dealt with quite a bit of anxiety. If you don’t believe me, many of his psalms discuss moments where he feels beyond despair. There are several in particular that resound in my heart when I face moments of anxious chaos.
When the world seems to black out or spin, and when my emotions have taken control of my breathing and tears, I think about David and the psalms he wrote.
And I feel less alone.
Here is one of my personal favorites:
“I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing . . .
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help . . .
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” (Psalm 34)
If you are reading this, I highly encourage you to memorize this chapter of scripture or another one that offers comfort and peace in turbulent times. It’s always good to have a sharp sword (the Bible) in our back pockets just in case battles await us (Ephesians 6).
On that note, we need to be aware of how the devil fights against us.
For me, sometimes he is able to use my tendencies towards anxiety to blind me from the truth, distract me or even hurt the ones I love.
But let’s remember his favorite weapon – lies.
What is the lie the devil whispers into your ear that drives you to negative habits or even despair?
For me, it’s the feeling that I’m not enough. Satan attacks my self-worth and he cracks open insecurities within me I don’t realize are there until it’s too late.
What is it for you?
If you know what he uses against you, you can create a battle plan.
For me, it’s Bible verses that remind me of my self-worth in God and how he is my sustainer, provider, protector, father and king.
For you, it might be something else.
My best advice is to have some sort of visible or memorized reminder that God is greater than all of your fears – and he won’t let you fight them alone.
God was with Daniel in the lion’s den.
He was standing in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
He was with the Israelites for 40 years as they wandered the wilderness with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
He revealed himself on the night of Pentecost to the first disciples and emboldened the early church to continue the spread of the gospel in the face of persecution and martyrdom.
And God was there the day he paid the ultimate price for our sins – as he died on a cross, so that we could live in freedom and break our shackles.
And today, if you believe in his sacrifice and he has become the number one priority in your life, he is with you too.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)
In love and truth,
Copyright © 2020 by Melody Turner @ https://honest-maybe-relatable.com/2020/09/08/breaking-the-shackles-of-anxiety/. Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.