How to Kick Anxiety in the Booty
I've dealt with anxiety since I was 13. I can't quite pinpoint when it began, but I can pinpoint exactly when and where I had my first anxiety attack. I was in ninth grade in my living room. It was around 2 in the morning and I had been battling a stomach ache so I decided to sit out in the living room and watch tv. I had no idea that in minutes I'd be in a full fledge panic attack. It started off with my chest feeling heavy and then my breathing became labored. Within seconds it felt like I was breathing through a coffee stirrer. I couldn't stop the attack and I was beginning to feel like I was going to pass out. Luckily I didn't but that night anxiety took ahold of me and it wouldn't let go.
When I got saved three years after that anxiety attack the Lord almost immediately began breaking the chains of anxiety in my life. I didn't get saved at a church, so it was just me and Holy Spirit when it came to learning the Word. I would pray and ask Him what He wanted me to read. One day he directed me to Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I began to daily speak this over myself and my anxiety slowly, yet surely began to leave! My life was filled with peace I had never felt, but as time went on and life got busier I began feeling anxiety creeping back in. I would brush it off. "After all, I am working over 60 hours a week. How could I not be stressed?" I'd tell myself. But that right there was my problem. I justified my anxiety by calling it stress.
We many times cover up our anxiety with phrases like, "Oh I'm just stressed" as we feel our chest tighten and tears creeping to the surface of our eyes. I feel like we as Christians see stress as unavoidable and permissible so if we feel anxiety creep in we call it stress and sweep it under the rug as to not be ostracized by our fellow Christians. After all how can someone who says they completely trust in Jesus have a full on anxiety attack? But I'm done sweeping it under the rug. I'm done justifying my anxiety. If you are too, let's call it what it is, anxiety, and kick it in the booty! Here's how...
1. Ask for Prayer
"Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." Matthew 18:19.
There is so much power in praying together. I came to a point where I knew I needed other saints to pray alongside me and lift me up. I couldn't fight this off on my own. It was too much of a stronghold. I knew I needed to let go of my pride and allow others to do the interceding and I in turn would do the receiving. This was hard and humbling, but so encouraging seeing those I had prayed for and cried with in the past praying and crying for me and my freedom. Knowing you aren't fighting alone is the most relieving feeling.
2. Stop Trying to Take Control
I am a doer. I'm a go-getter. If there is something I want or feel called to I will do everything in my power to make it happen, but when it came to getting rid of my anxiety I had to let go. I couldn't do this in my own power. I had to learn that I needed Jesus to come and remove these chains while I just sat at His feet. You guys, that's all He wants. All He wants is us to sit at His feet and trust that He has got our best interest in mind. So I let go. I sat at my Dad's feet and trusted He wasn't going to do anything that wasn't best for me.
(P.S. This is still something I deal with daily, even hourly. But when I feel myself trying to take control I step back and sit at the feet of the Father. I lay my burdens down and pick up His burden that is light.)
3. Speaking Scripture
I began finding scripture speaking of God's peace and I would speak it over myself every day. I knew my words had power so I knew speaking scriptures of peace would produce life-giving peace in me. I wrote the scriptures on note cards and would carry them with me everywhere I went. I would make them my iPhone, iPad, and laptop screen savers. I would put it beside my bed so I could read it over myself before I slept to avoid waking up in a panic. I keep them close by because I never know when anxiety will try to creep back in. And when it tries to I want to be prepared with my Sword out and sharp so I can chop anxieties head off! (Who's with me!?)
4. Stop Justifying Your Anxiety and Just Pray
In Jesus we have no reason to be stressed, so to use that as an excuse is inexcusable (I'm preaching to myself right now). In Jesus we have all the peace we could ever need. I mean after all He is the "Prince of Peace". So if you are feeling anxious or stressed go to Him. Don't try to justify why your job is stressing you out or why have those hundreds of knots in your back (again preaching to myself), instead look to the One who can give you what you need to avoid those knots and stresses. When I feel anxiety creeping I stop what I'm doing and pray and I don't stop until I feel the anxiety leave.
You guys, Jesus died so we don't have to feel anxiety or stress, so let's take a step back and receive His freedom brought to us through His ultimate sacrifice. He wants this for you even more than you want it for yourself, so just let go and allow Him to bring you your freedom!