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Dealing With Anxiety

It’s everywhere! Maybe you are experiencing this right this moment. So much has been written about this, but how are YOU dealing with it?

There’s only a couple of times in my life I came close to having a panic attack (other than a short lived one as I feared for my life and there was a true reason for this panic! Check out my Hurricane Sally series.). I do remember those times and felt, “I just cannot do all this!” I was the mom of twin daughters, in school, and very involved in ministry in my church, even serving in a part time position on the staff. My heart raced and I was overwhelmed.

But that is minor compared to what I am seeing today among women, even teenagers, and it breaks my heart! Some of these are strong followers of Christ, but are still overcome by their fears and “what ifs”. Because of the culture I was raised in, one of relative safety after nuclear bomb threats in elementary school ended, I just didn’t worry about a lot of things. And as an optimist, my cup is half full most of the time, even in struggles.

But young women today have been raised with nothing stable in their lives. Not family, school, politics, and world events including 911 and terrorism. Not to mention escalated immorality, sexual and physical abuse, pandemic, and lack of integrity in most areas of leadership, including that of the church. No wonder there is so much anxiety.

The deal is, the same God that existed when I was growing up, exists today, and we have more access to His truth now than ever before, so what’s up?

I watched my mother in the last years of her life, face daily panic attacks, more so as her dementia increased. No words, no medications, nothing could stop these, and I felt so helpless. At times I wanted her to just understand, she faced this same panic yesterday, and the day before, and she lived through it. I wanted her to understand truth in the midst of her panic attack…but I’ve NEVER been in her shoes, either. So I had no idea the fear of dying she felt, every single day.

Because I cannot make light of this, and haven’t experienced a full out panic attack, I want to be sensitive and careful in my response so that this post is encouraging, not discouraging or judgmental.

I highly recommend Scarlet Hiltibidal’s Bible study (I referenced this in my last post Responsibility Without Authority), Anxious: Fighting Anxiety with the Word of God, and her book, Afraid of All the Things.

Here are a few of the things I’m gleaning for how to face anxiety from this study and my own faith journey. When you begin to feel anxious:

  1. Ask “what is true”
  2. Ask “what can I do” and “what can I not do”
  3. Remember who our Lord is: He is sovereign and has won victory over all evil
  4. Do not allow the enemy to lie to you with “God’s not watching”, “you are a loser”, “you’re a Christian and you are having a panic attack?” I can just hear the enemy cackle with this one!
  5. Quote scripture that speaks truth when you feel panic rising
  6. Remember you are a follower of Christ, who is still growing in Him, still flawed, but forever forgiven
  7. Get biblical counseling if you need it.

Add to this list as you find ways to face anxiety with His power.

Recently I shared a verse in one of my women’s groups that gave me great comfort and began to open my eyes to who Jesus really is when I was very young in my discipleship. I had it on a plaque I’d gotten for completing a Bible course.

God is the blessed controller of all things.

1 Timothy 6:15 (see Phillips translation)

Even to this day, I quote this verse when I am facing unknowns, knowing He knows those things unknown to me. One woman in my group shared something the following week after I’d spoken of this verse that changed my perspective about Jesus’ sovereignty. She struggles at times with overwhelming anxiety. That verse came to her mind and she spoke it as she faced fear that week and it really made a difference, settled her heart.

The day after I drafted this post, my study of Anxious pointed us to one of the author’s favorite chapters in the Bible, Psalm 103. Verse 19 echos 1 Timothy 6:15 so I want to share that here.

The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.

Psalm 103:19

He truly is the controller of ALL things! Sometimes we just need to remember that and say it out loud, maybe over and over!

My prayer for you is that you will find practical ways to live out your faith in Christ and stand on His truth when fear, panic, and lies are thrown your way. Please share in the comments how you face anxiety to encourage other sisters facing it as well.

Banner photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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