F A I T H F U L
There is something to be said for living a fearless life. Every now and then, I am amazed at how many people battle fear and anxiety. I suppose there is a reason that God tells us in His word not to fear – in fact, about 365 times.
A “Do Not Fear” for each day of the year.
But, living in fear – or, rather, NOT living in fear is not that easy. Daily, we are bombarded with information overload of terrorists, bombs, fires, disease, famine that assault our senses in a very negative way. Add to that our propensity and desire for series – crime serious, vampires, monsters, zombies (not really roses and peace and love and all that, now is it?). And then, add to that are our own thoughts.
I battled anxiety for a very long time – fear is rightly my middle name. I’ve been on antidepressants, calming measures, psychologists, counselling – you name it, I’ve done it and I’ve tried it. And nothing worked. At all. Why? Because my thinking was bad. It wasn’t just bad – it was rotten. How? Well, fantasy can be a terrible thing – I used to fantasize about getting sick, dying, being in a car accident, being a terrible mother, wife, daughter… And so much more! And then – I started to believe these fantasies. In fact, the fantasy itself can become like an addiction and even if you don’t believe what you think, just the fact that you’re thinking those incredibly negative thoughts has a devestating effect on your physical body (as well as your mind). I would fantasize about being in a car accident – and I could physically feel my tummy pull tight and the tension in my body. I didn’t actually believe it would happen, nor did I want it to happen, but my body still reacted as if though it had happened. Or I would imagine myself in a fearful place, and my body would start reacting. And I believed myself unworthy of love, a failure, unable to cope, useless…
It was only when I started believing in something much higher than myself, and surrendering my mind to God, that I truly started to see a difference in my life. And I’m not there yet; but I know that I am definitely walking in the right direction.
I am NOT a doctor, a counsellor, or a psychologist, but I have walked this path for a very, very long time. And I have truly come to believe that all anxiety is based on wrong thinking. I have heard it argued that it’s a chemical thing – some sort of chemical reaction has gone wrong in the brain, and the result is anxiety. I have heard it said that the only way to deal with anxiety is through drugs. Well, I have done that – it didn’t work. And I did not want to spend the rest of my life taking mood altering drugs just to get through the day.
Anxiety becomes a chemical change in the brain because of the wrong thinking that preceded it. It’s the negative thinking that created the anxious environment in one’s mind – it’s not the anxious environment in one’s mind that creates negative thinking. The only way to truly combat anxiety is quite simply to start thinking God’s thoughts. Let me give you some examples:
- Feeling unworthy of love – really? Because God’s word says He loves so much that He gave us His son to redeem us.
- Feeling lost – Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)
- Feeling like I can’t do this – I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthen me. (Philippians 4:13)
- Feeling ugly – I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
- Feeling ungrateful – because every good and perfect gift is from above from the Father of Heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17.
Do you get my point? No matter where we are in this walk of our lives, there is a response from God in His word to help us through.
You will never get past fear and anxiety if you don’t start trusting God, and surrendering to Him.
And now we get to the crunch of today’s post – in order to grow our faith and to learn to trust in God, God will take us on a roller coast ride of note, so that we can learn to lean on Him, to trust Him and to surrender to Him. And it is hard. There are many times that I have prayed and asked God to take this from me. And sometimes, I still wish He would. But, even I can feel how I am getting stronger – in who God created me to be. It’s that roller coaster ride you were really nervous to go on, but afterwards you’re like, “again”… Not sure if I will ever shout “again” for this walk out of fear and anxiety, but I do see God’s hand in all that happened. Even fall down the well God allowed so that I can see the depravity of my own mind, and slowly but surely God has been building me up day by day. Some days have been good. Other days I have hated, but that’s no what is important.
What is important is knowing that no matter what, I can TRUST God. He has me in His hand – he is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and my life is fully encompassed in His… and whatever happens to me, God will use it for my good (Romans 8:28). In God, I can trust completely! It’s not so easy to do… but you can only do this one small step at a time.