Anxiety: What, Who, and How to Fight It

woman with anxiety or depression in the rain

We tend to hear this word more now than ever – anxiety. It’s usually partnered with the word “stress.”

Statistics tell us that in the United States, 18% of Americans over 18 years old have anxiety. Perspective: for every 100 friends you have on Facebook, at least 18 of them suffer from anxiety.

Medically speaking, the condition is treatable, but less than half of sufferers actually seek treatment. When I say “treatment,” I’m talking about medical treatment, with therapy, drugs, lifestyle changes, and things like that. Spiritual treatment is not included in the statistic, but I guarantee you that the percentage of the 40 million anxiety sufferers who seek spiritual counsel or “treatment” is extremely low.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is serious. It’s more than stress and worry. It’s defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”

The trigger sounds like life to me: an imminent event with an uncertain outcome. Hello, that’s what everyone faces every day. But not everyone suffers from anxiety. Stress, maybe, but not anxiety.

As Christians we know the ultimate outcome of life; there is no uncertainty that God is in control, he wants the best for us, and in the end, he will provide us a new earth, where heaven is also, where we will live and rule in his name. WOW.

But I digress.

In psychiatry, anxiety is defined as a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

There’s the big one: Panic Attacks. They are fierce, debilitating, and energy-stealing episodes. Panic attacks range from moderate to nearly unbearable.

It’s easy for someone who’s never had cancer to minimize the experience of one who does. Likewise, people who have not suffered from anxiety often minimize the condition, which makes the sufferer feel self-conscious and guilty, in some cases. A person with anxiety may ask, “Is this real? Am I crazy? Am I weak?”

Rest assured, God grants a sound mind to his children, so if your thoughts buzz out of control, ask him to transform your mind back to peace.

How is anxiety treated?

Drugs, including anti-anxiety and depression medications, are the norm. Doctors work with patients to reduce stress that triggers anxiety. A doc may say, “Try yoga, meditation, massage, more quiet time, invest in yourself more. Don’t think about work when you’re at home.” Alternative treatments include these suggestions, as well as acupuncture, hypnosis, and food therapy. Here’s a recipe for a lovely lavender lemonade that’s supposed to help reduce anxiety, as well as headaches. Lemonade could help reduce some stress and a headache, but for clinical anxiety, I’m not so sure. It probably tastes, great, though, and you could drink it while studying scriptrue.

More than medicine and alternative treatments for anxiety, the Creator who knit you in your mother’s womb has great insight into you, mentally, spiritually, and physically. He is the only one who knows how many hairs are on your head. God is very aware of your anxiety and more than able to help you. He’s also willing to help you.

So let’s look at what God says about anxiety in the Bible.

The most quoted verse on anxiety is:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

“Anxious” here (Greek μεριμνᾶτε) can be translated to “absolutely troubled about” – then the verse says “nothing.” (Source: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/philippians/4-6.htm)

{Your name here} is to be absolutely troubled about nothing. (No. Thing.)

Just saying something doesn’t make it true, though. There IS power in the Word of God, the Bible. Every single scripture is God-breathed, meaning it was written by a man under the direct inspiration of God. You either believe everything in the Bible or nothing. Picking and choosing what to believe is faithlessness. So, while you are to be troubled about nothing, and God’s Word is true, still you may not feel like it’s true. You may not believe it to be true, because you aren’t experiencing relief. You’re still anxious.

So, let’s keep moving through the verse…

I’m reading the original Greek, and it literally says: “Nothing be you being anxious over, but in everything to the prayer and to the supplication with thanksgiving the petitions of you let it be being made known toward the God.”

I’m not a Bible scholar, and I cannot read, write, or speak Greek. I just have the tools to help lead me through it. Here, though, grammar aside, the verse first says PRAYER and SUPPLICATION then THANKSGIVING then PETITIONS should be made known to God.

Modern translations say: “with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.”

Both recommend prayer as the first action. I could not agree more! Everything should begin with prayer.

Next, petition or supplication. Petitions are requests. Supplication means humbly, earnestly asking (even begging, though our Father does not require his children to beg).

So, if we blend supplication and petitions, it makes sense that after we begin to pray, we bring our concerns before God, earnestly asking for his help.

Here’s a sample of how to pray this prayer:

“Lord, I confess that I am anxious, and I know this is not your will. Your Holy Spirit, which lives within my heart, can deliver the fruit of peace and joy and self-control directly into me right now. I ask this, in your gracious name, with the power and authority of Christ. I ask that anything earthly that’s influencing this anxiety to be bound now and forever, here and in heaven.”

Shauna’s idea here – I encourage you not to say “my anxiety,” because these words indicate you claiming the anxiety as your own. It is not yours. It is not of God. Rebuke it. Consider anxiety as a tangible thing, let’s say a hat. Is it your hat? No! You didn’t ask for it, buy it, or want it. Why’s it on your head? Satan put it there. So toss it off your head. Stomp it. Proclaim that it’s not yours.

Say out loud, “This is not mine. I am a child of God, guarded before and behind by God, and this anxiety does not belong to me. I rebuke it.

Then, lastly, Paul’s instructions in Philippians says to thank God. So do it! Say thank you in your way – with words, song, dance, praise. Just thank him in an authentic and holy way that will surely make him smile on you.

What do you get for this prayer? The peace of God guarding your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. What better guard against the devil than Jesus himself? God so loves us. He SO does.

You have the power!

Not of Gray Skull. You are not He-Man or She-Ra. This is so much better. You have the power of Jesus Christ. What does that mean?

It meant that Paul could raise the dead, heal sickness, cast out demons.

It still means this today.

When you accepted Christ as your savior, God gave you the keys to the Kingdom. You are a co-heir of heaven. You are the righteousness of God. You are God’s joy and pleasure.

All of these statements can be backed up by scripture.

Along with your adoption, you were handed power. It’s up to you to learn more about it, what it is, how to use it in your life and in the lives of others, for the glory of the Kingdom. Discipleship with a mentor can help you understand who you are and what you have as a child of God, the most high and majestic authority that exists in all creation.

But I’m still anxious.

Keep believing for healing. God’s timing is perfect. Nothing you go through as a child of God is unimportant. If you continue to suffer with anxiety, keep praying, bringing your petition before God, and thanking him, even for healing you’ve not yet received.

We do not know God’s plan. He has however given us many secrets about how to live life to the fullest, even in the midst of worldly junk.

Keep believing, and we will believe with you. Do not give up. Run the race set before you with endurance, to paraphrase Paul.

If you suffer with anxiety, Dalton, one of our mentors, can talk with you. He’s endured similar situations and will be happy to lead you to biblical resources to help you fight the battle and find peace amidst the storm.

Peace and love!

Shauna

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