I struggle with anxiety.
Sometimes it’s taken hold of my life and run things. Blatantly run things. I’ve had relationships that were damaged because of my anxiety. Being anxious about things meant that I was hyper-sensitive to their comments, and overreacted to their interactions with me, causing me to become belligerent… all because I was anxious about the relationship itself or the circumstances surrounding both of us at the time.
Let me rephrase that… the problem wasn’t that I felt anxiety. The problem was that I typically gave in to anxiety. I dwelt in it.
I cannot say that I never feel anxiety now. I can only say that I’ve learned a few things about how to break the cycle of dwelling in that anxiety.
First it took acknowledging that I could be a Christian and still be having feelings of worry and fear that take over my mind to the point that I could not sleep at night. Some days I could not function like I needed to.
None of this meant I wasn’t saved by the blood of Jesus, redeemed through His death on the cross. It meant I have a specific issue that I deal with on a regular basis, just like other people do. Once I was able to face this fact, I was able to find tools to help me work through these moments.
3 Key Questions for When Anxiety Strikes
When I have moments of anxiety, and that temptation comes to dwell there for a little while, I’ve learned some key questions to help me take a step back and look at the reality of my situation.
First, did I live?
Did I survive the last time I was worried about this? Did the worst thing possible ever actually happen? Honestly, the worst case scenario has rarely ever happened when I’ve been riddled with anxiety, and even in those cases, something good came of it in the end. So was my anxiety worth the energy it took?
Second question to ask myself, does it matter?
Is this something that anyone will care about in five years? Will it impact me or someone else in a way that matters for eternity? Is this monumental enough to keep me awake at night?
Third question, do I have a solution?
Am I going to accomplish anything by hashing this out in my mind over and over again? Will my imaginings help to solve the problem? In truth, sometimes thinking about a problem really is one way to come to a solution, but not always. So I need to evaluate the issue in this light as well. Am I realistically able to think through this and come up with an acceptable solution?
Truth Be Told…
I’m in no way perfect, and I won’t say that I’ve overcome anxiety. It’s still something I have to consciously deal with – sometimes daily.
Proverbs 24:16a of the Bible says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:” The struggle isn’t the problem. Even messing up again isn’t the problem. The problem comes between me and God when I stay down, and choose to dwell in my anxiety.
I have to remember there’s a light at the end of this tunnel. I can see it. I can see Him. Jesus is that Light.
Remembering that Jesus is the answer does not mean I won’t have anxious moments. It does mean He’s there holding my hand. Isn’t that one of the greatest comforts in life ever? That while I may be walking through a dark valley, there’s someone greater than myself willing to stoop down and hold my hand through it.
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