Over the last few weeks I’ve spoken to so many people who are walking through a difficult time in their life. However, a common theme seems to be the root of it all. Anxiety. Worry. Fear. Ugh, how much I hate those three. If you’ve ever experienced any of those on any level, then you’re in good company. They’re the worst. Together, they’re the ultimate triple threat. Apart from each other, they’re just as bad. They suffocate you, steal your joy, and take over your life.
My run in with anxiety has been one that lasted longer than I would’ve hoped. As I have overcome much of it, it’s still an ongoing battle, but one that no longer has power over me. So here I am, sharing a glimpse of my story in all its vulnerability and authenticity as I possibly can with hopes that someone, somewhere could find even a nugget of encouragement.
It was about six years ago when I was Honduras on a mission trip that my life soon took a sudden sharp turn for the unexpected as I experienced the first of many anxiety attacks. I had experienced an out of body moment that I will never forgot. In the midst of getting ready to have dinner with the team, anxiety swept over me like a tidal wave. I was drenched in this state of immediate worry, fear and anxiety. I can’t explain why or how. In that moment all I remember was telling myself not to close my eyes because I knew I would pass out. Years before this happened, my older sister passed away in a car accident, which launched me into a constant state of worrying. My worrying turned into fear and my fear turned into intense anxiety.
The anxiety attack came and lingered for longer than it was welcomed. Then, a few days later as I stood on the soccer field cheering our teams on, it happened again. But this time I was convinced I was dying. All of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Everything started spinning and I couldn’t stop shaking. Some of the guys carried me to the car and threw me in the back seat. As two of my friends held me, my friends raced the car back to the house we were staying at. I remember once we arrived, laying in bed, breathing heavily and shaking uncontrollably.
I came home and spent the summer with anxiety attacks becoming part of my daily routine. As worry and fear crept in more each time, I had myself convinced that I was going crazy. I even convinced myself that I needed to check myself into a hospital. I spent nights on end awake with my mind racing a million miles a minute. I was anxious and worried about everything and anything. My heart constantly pounding and my palms sweating. I would pace back and forth from one corner of the room to the other hoping to “shake it off.” Those restless nights suddenly turned into weeks of no sleep; I felt trapped inside my own mind and body. I felt like I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was falling apart in every direction.
Surrender the uncontrollable to the only One who has control. Give it to the One who has conquered death on the cross.
It was one of the worst times in my life. The thing about anxiety is that you feel like you can’t escape it; you feel confined. You’re always anxious about something for no reason whatsoever. You want to get away, but have no where to get away to. The fear and worry accompany it and overwhelm you out of nowhere and you find yourself in a constant state of panic for no reason. It’s the worst feeling. Ever. Ever.
I still deal with anxiety on a certain level, but not to the extent that I did initially. It took me quite some time to get through the darkest parts of it. Not that I have mastered it by any means, however, I have learned to navigate through it in many ways. So if you find yourself in a situation similar to mine, what do you do?
Give it to Jesus.
Apart from everything else, that’s really the best advice I can give you. It’s really all I’ve got honestly. It took me a while to get to where I am today. It was by no means an easy detour to maneuver through and I still experience it from time to time.
If you’re experiencing something similar in your life, know that you cannot overcome it on your own. It is humanly impossible to do it on your own. That should be bring you some comfort knowing that you are not alone in this battle. The only way to overcome it is to give it to Jesus and trust with every ounce of your being that He WILL take care of it. Even when you feel like you can’t take it anymore, give it to the One who has taken it all on the cross. When you feel like the gravity of it all is too heavy of a burden to bear, give it to the One who can bear it for you. When you feel like you have hit rock bottom, give it to the One who experienced rock bottom in your place and now is exalted in the highest. Jesus will carry this for you.
Sometimes it feels like you don’t have any control over it. And to be very honest, you don’t. But God does. He has complete control over your situation. Don’t lose hope friends. Don’t despair. Don’t give up. Surrender the uncontrollable to the only One who has control. Give it to the One who has conquered death on the cross.
Hide God’s word in your heart.
With my world crumbling as I knew it, I started memorizing scripture and keeping it close to my heart. Each time I felt an attack coming on, I started reciting God’s word out loud. You see, God’s word has the power to extinguish darkness. Ephesians 6:12 says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The battle isn’t against our flesh; the battle is against the one who is trying to destroy our flesh. And one of our greatest tactics against this is God’s truth.
God’s word has victory over your situation. Use it as your most powerful weapon to combat the lingering darkness in your life. Speak life and truth over your situation with full confidence that your triumph is on the horizon.
The only foothold your current situation has over your life is that foothold that you allow it to have.
Anxiety is a lie. Worry is a lie. Fear is a lie. They are ploys from the devil to steal our joy. They are a plan to rob us of our livelihood and to deteriorate our lives. Do not give in to these lies. Stand firm in the promises woven all throughout God’s word. Keep His word close to your heart and use it as your strongest strategy against these untruths.
I’m not sure where you find yourself currently. But what I do know is that your situation does not have victory over your life. The only foothold your current situation has over your life is that foothold that you allow it to have. Say NO in the name of Jesus and declare His promises over your life. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus can and will give you the strength to get through it. He is there every step of the way.
If you’re experiencing an uncontrollable circumstance currently, know that God has it under control. Rest in the fact that Jesus has conquered darkness once and for all and Satan’s lies do not have dominion over you. Take refuge in Jesus who reigns supreme over your circumstance and trust with full confidence that He will bring the victory.