Anxiety penetrates its ugly teeth into our souls from a life unexpected. So what do many of us do when anxiety strikes? We try to reorient ourselves as the captain of our souls and the master of our fate and tell life we can anticipate anything. We can manage.
I’ve only been talking with you for a short while, but I’m sure you’ve noticed something or rather, Someone is missing. I somehow forgot about the Author of our life who alone allows us to breathe the next breath from our mouths. Let’s face it, trusting God in our anxiety is not easy, friend.
Let me know if this sounds familiar to you. I go through this spiritual tug-of-war where I fall before God, knowing He is in control. Then seemingly minutes after my words of surrender, I pick up the rope and give it a forceful tug and attempt to fight for my own delivery, forgetting that I already have One who is fighting for me.
Can We Really Trust God?
My husband was told by medical staff that he needed to become my full-time caregiver, a difficult thing to hear when you’ve only been married roughly a year and only in your twenties. So much of my life had gone wrong when everything was planned so right. I couldn’t work, my husband couldn’t work because he needed to become a caregiver and eventually fell ill himself, so our financial situation changed drastically along with other fears looming.
“How much could God allow?” Was the question circling my noggin many times. “What else would go wrong if this long list of terrible incidents has already occurred?”
The bait was in front of me from Satan as he echoed the lines we hear him say in Genesis, “Did God really say…” “Did God really say He loves you?” “You’re probably exempt from what the Bible says about love.” “Did God really say He’s all powerful and in control?” “Did He really say He would take care of you?”
And that’s just the thing with Satan and the anxious thoughts he implants. They sound so much like our own voice that we hear them out a little too well.
I took the bait and as I did, over time, all of those foundational truths began to crack with a ferocious anxiety that said I needed to be the one in control. Forget the fact that I could barely move because of physical limitations, I just needed to make sure everything was “okay” because if it wasn’t, then that was one more thing God was going to take away from me. It’s a silly human solution that doesn’t work because we only have limited control.
Trusting God was so difficult at the time because I didn’t know if I could even trust Him. Although I could recite foundational truths about God’s love and faithfulness, they wouldn’t resonate in my heart.
Anxiety Help One: When You Feel too Anxious to Pray For Yourself, Ask for Prayer
Anxiety was so saturated in my mind that I knew I needed to ask for prayer. I knew God was disarming my pride in this season to humbly admit that I didn’t have it all together and that I truly needed prayer from others.
It’s okay to ask for prayer from safe people when anxiety threatens to occupy our mind. Sometimes we feel too weak to fight ourselves, just like Elijah did when he said, “I have had enough, LORD.” He was slumped to the ground and felt defeated by the broom tree, horrified by his own trauma with Jezebel. But right when Elijah hit the end to himself is when an angel of the LORD came to him, offering him a meal and tending to him.
I knew that in my anxious moment when a fear induced by medication, my illness, and the spiritual realm hit that I needed a moment for someone to tend over me in prayer, fighting for my release from anxious worries and bedrocking myself in the Word, affirming the truths of God to speak over the enemy’s lies.
Anxiety Help Two: Choose to Worship God’s Face Instead of His Hand
Several evenings later, I unexpectedly flipped to Psalm 139 to read the familiar lines.
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
I realized in this moment that I strangely assumed that I could deny the existence of my anxious thoughts and melt them away in denial. And it was also in that moment that I felt God metaphorically unclasp my fist of the gifts He bestowed upon me, telling me not to be afraid of what I could lose next.
Just as God asked Abraham to offer His promised and long-awaited son Isaac, so I felt God asking me to give Him everything. You see, we can hold so tightly to the gifts that God has given us that we don’t even remember they originated from God Himself! I was so afraid of what I could lose because I felt like so much had already been stripped away. But I forgot something important, guys. I forgot the gift of God Himself and I forgot that He is the originator of all things good, not evil.
As David poured out his unencumbered words in the Psalms, similar words began to tumble from my mouth. My control induced anxiety was beginning to dissolve as I shifted my focus from worshiping the things of God’s hand and started worshiping Him.
Anxiety Help Three: Confess to God Your Struggles and Return Back to the Foundational Truths
When we face anxiety, we have to turn back to the foundational truths even if we begin to doubt them. I’ve realized that it’s better to be honest with God and let Him know that I’m facing doubts that lead to anxiety. The way of the flesh encourages us to take control and conceal from God our secret struggles. The way of the spirit tells us to relinquish control to God, confess, and ask Him for the strength to remember His Word is the truth.
And friend, His foundational truths really are true and can speak into your anxiety, if you allow it.
Hope is always an option,