Do you feel yourself spiraling out of control with anxiety?
Do you feel yourself spiraling out of control?
Do you feel yourself?
If you’re like me, you have struggled with trying to be in control. You have tried to do it on your own, and have been met with total frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed. You find that you try to much… and you’re sick of it.
We must stop trying and striving and choose to let God take total control.
Isaiah 41:10 says: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (NLT). What does that mean? It means that we can’t do it on our own, and we certainly can’t trust our emotions to guide us. I love this quote from Dr. Charles Stanley: “Emotions greatly influence how we live our lives. They are a gift from God, provided so we can enjoy life and relate to others, but how we express them determines whether they are beneficial or detrimental. Either we control them, or they control us.” So you’re saying I should give up control, but that I should learn to take more control?
Luke 10:19 says, “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy.” By giving up the control (worry) over our lives, God gives us a new kind of control called authority and empowers us to deny anxiety the ability to control (direct) our lives. God wants us to choose to allow Him to direct our lives.
Stanley goes on to explain that “the word anxiety means, “to be distracted or pulled apart.” This is the opposite of peace, which means, “to be bound together.” He goes on to describe six destructive things that anxiety does to us:
1. Divides our minds. Apprehension pulls us in two different directions, making it hard to focus on important matters.
2. Slows down our productivity. Because we are distracted with worry, we can’t give anything else our best efforts.
3. Affects our personal relationships with others. It’s hard to keep our anxieties to ourselves. When we’re filled with fear, we burden those around us.
4. Leads to unwise decisions. Those who are overly concerned about the future are prone to make hasty decisions to stop feeling uncertain.
5. Steals our joy and peace. It’s impossible for us to be fretful and peaceful at the same time.
6. Proves to be a terrible waste of time and energy. Uncertainty, frustration, and worry are exhausting and achieve nothing and can even have a devastating effect on our health.
Through agonizing personal experience, research, study, prayer and revelation I am coming to a more complete understanding of Anxiety. As complex and multifaceted as it is, it is still something we have the ability to define and therefore, manipulate, through tools such as medication and cognitive restructuring through counseling. How interesting that we can mentally and academically come to an almost complete understanding of this issue, but yet feel like it has total control over us at times? Learning how to surrender to and choose abandonment to the One who we will never be able to totally define, manipulate or understand, but who has our purpose, hearts, and gifts in mind… this is the great and awesome journey we have before us. He is the restorer of all things and the light that dispels and kills the darkness. 1 John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (NIV).
Anxiety only exists because of free will; essentially, we not only choose it, but can develop skills to take mastery or Lordship (or authority) over it. Free will is necessary for us to choose relationship with and draw closer to God. The environment and circumstances we find ourselves in conspire to make us feel that we are not free. Anxiety is the product of fear, and fear- unsurrendered- leads to disempowerment and the (false) perspective of separation/distance from God. But God’s Word says “NOTHING can separate us from Him” (Romans 8:39) and that “the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you,” (Deut. 31:6b). He is the One with immeasurably more goodness than we could ever comprehend or contain!
The anxiety spirit is intelligent… it uses our physiology to make us believe that we are in total bondage to it. Our body responds and reacts to failure, disappointment, sudden change, and the sometimes unpredictable behaviors of ourselves and of others. It does this on varying degrees… From sweaty palms and minor headaches to severe and debilitating panic attacks which demonstrate symptoms such as numbness in our extremities, shortness of breath, and violent heart palpitations. This spirit can latch on tightly and attempts to wind itself deep into and through the cortices and folds of our brains. It seems to lay itself over one’s mind so that all choices and actions are made through this lens/filter. The reality is that one of the major underpinnings of preventable death is anxiety. This Spirit can and will kill your brain and body if you allow it to.
Those overly familiar with the anxiety spirit can fail to see themselves as separate from it (I know this from personal experience). This is an identity issue and is exacerbated by generational and hereditary anxiety. This “toxic legacy” seems “unfair” to the one inheriting it, but there is a greater and more hopeful truth that they can cling to… they have the authority and power in Jesus to eradicate this generational, biological curse. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths” (NLT). I am not God, and I don’t want to pretend to be… but isn’t that what I am doing when I try to depend on my own understanding? Am I really trusting Him? My own understanding is worthless. I can’t understand why people in my life make choices that hurt themselves and other people. I can’t always understand why I make choices that hurt myself and other people. Choices. Decisions. Control. I can’t understand God, but I am willing to trust Him and put my faith in the plan He has for my life. This requires relationship and intimacy with Him. I want to be intoxicated by Him and totally under His influence.
There’s hope? Yes!
It can start with the shift of a perspective and the understanding of the realization that God is totally and completely in control to silence this spirit and poke holes in the lens of anxiety that is trying to blind and disorient us. We can learn to subdue anxiety’s effect on our bodies and minds. With God’s help and the support of friends and family, we can gain mastery over this debilitating issue. We can heal from past and current hurt, and strip away fear and lies. Prayer and encouragement are invaluable weapons! Never cease to encourage, pray for, and hope for those wrestling with this multidimensional and complex Spirit. It is only when one truly and experientially understands God’s vastness and the reality of His victory over evil, that this anxiety spirit begins to deteriorate. The evil that we observe, sense, and/or experience daily is miniscule and dwarfed in comparison to Gods unexplainable, unmeasurable, and perfect Love.
*Are you struggling with Anxiety and want to start the journey of becoming free from it? Please email us at: info@ChristianCounselingCo.com, we would love to walk with you through this.
Anxiety exists because of free-will. Never thought of it that way before- but that is so true! Thanks for your post. I liked it so much I’m sharing it over at http://www.facebook.com/1Corinthians13Parenting on Friday morning!
Wow! Thanks for the encouragement, Lori, and for taking time to read and share. God is so good. Blessings to you!