Anxiety & Depression Anxiety's Lies & Joy's Truths


A massive fist squeezed my chest. Racing thoughts and an elevated heartbeat tormented my body as I ran through an endless mental maze. My friend had spoken truth, you’re trying to figure this all out. I knew she was right but what I couldn’t figure out was how to quit trying to figure it out.  

I’d worked hard for years to avoid the situation I was staring down and and it had finally become unmanageable. The frustration and fear I felt from being unable to change the details of my life was beginning to affect me physically and the result was anxiety. While I believed that the presence of God existed on the other side of my struggle, it was hard for me to believe that he would be present in the decisions I needed to make, decisions I’d tried or years to avoid.  Anxiety was squeezing the life out of my soul 

Later that week, God would rescue me from myself in the form two unexpected packages in my mailbox. Months earlier, some details were set in motion that resulted in the simultaneous delivery of two products bearing printed witness to the decision God was giving me. Joy! One package containing an item with the label Joy would have seemed like a hint or suggestion, but two?  

There are no odds. There is only God, loving me into a new attitude, a new lens that I hadn’t been able to achieve on my own. I didn’t have to accept his offer of Joy, I could have continued to work on a solution of my own but after an planned with Joy, or continue working on my own solution with anxiety and empty hope that God would come around to my point of view.  

There wasn’t much of a choice really but I was putting up a good fight much of it under the belief that I understood what God was trying to do in my life. Despite the fact that I was praying all day every day, reading scripture, and thanking God for the healing I desperately needed, anxiety had creeped in between the cracks in my armor and whispered that I knew God’s will despite all evidence that pointed to an entirely different outcome.  

I’d been blinded and I’m most angry that satan used scripture to lie to me.  

We all face circumstances at some point in our lives that require us to trust, the hard part though is knowing when to trust God beyond reason and when God is asking us to use our reason in order to trust Him. This was a battle I’d been fighting for a long time and the ruler of all evil was using details and semantics to create paralyzing anxiety.  I needed to trust beyond my ability to reason.  I was stuck. When I opened up my mailbox, God gave me a clear choice.  Allow fear and anxiety to keep me from making some hard decisions or choose hope and joy as I walked down a path I’d tried to avoid for years.  

  • Anxiety's first response is, Fear. Joy's first response is Trust.

  • Anxiety screams What If. Joy whispers What Next.

  • Anxiety collapses your chest. Joy fills your lungs.

  • Anxiety slams the door. Joy throws back the sashes, opens the windows, and lays out a welcome mat.  

Anxiety rarely knocks on our front door announcing itself, ‘hello, I’m anxiety, I’m wondering if we might have a brief chat after which you can invite me to stay for the rest of ever.’ Instead, it often attaches itself to a desire for wisdom or clarity and quickly morphs into a battle for control. It can happen so quietly that before we realize it, our bodies are responding in a physical manner to stories we create in our minds that aren’t even real.  

Several weeks ago Dave Rod mentioned some astonishing statistics on anxiety. While countless websites list dozens of physical symptoms, the ways our bodies experience anxiety can be as unique as our fingerprints. In my own journey, I’ve taken medication and enlisted a trustworthy counselor to help me discover some ways I’ve not been honest with myself. But I’ve also developed some practical tools I use on a daily basis.   

During a particularly dark season of my life, I spent every morning begging God to help me get through my days. I didn’t know who I was in Christ or the power and authority I could possess in choosing to walk with the Holy Spirit.  

Maybe you’re further along than I was at the time but still struggling with an unsettled anxiousness that won’t be stilled or maybe you’re just finding out what walking with Christ is all about. No matter where you find yourself in this journey though, you have to partner with the Holy Spirit. Ask for him to walk with you moment by moment and then DO Something. 

Here are some things I’ve learned about anxiety in my two-decade journey. 

We make choices, sometimes by the minute to eliminate anxiety or allow it to incubate.  

Anxiety prefers nothing more than being left alone to ruminate on (open ended destruction) but througn understanding what anxiety hates that we can successfully begin to eliminate it from our lives.  

Anxiety Hates a Timeline 

Anxious thoughts, whispered in our ear by the enemy, love to weave themselves into the fabric of our schedules and before we know it, we’re allowing anxiety to rule our lives. When these thoughts persist despite our efforts to focus on tasks at work, homework with our children, those few calm moments with God (and coffee) before the day rushes in we can choose to “take every thought captive.” The next time this happens, take a moment to write your worry down and then mentally schedule a few minutes later in the day to reflect on it. Next, take a moment to ask God to remind you of this appointment if it’s actually a situation that requires your attention. By honoring your feelings with a specific time to process and consider their merits but choosing to invite God into the moment and giving the Holy Spirit permission to remind us of our appointment, we give the power behind our thoughts and feelings over to the One who searches and knows our hearts. We can rest knowing that if our fears are valid, The Holy Spirit will give light and wisdom to solutions.  

Anxiety Hates Truth Spoken Out Loud

 Did you know that Satan can’t read our minds? I Kings 8 tells us that God alone knows the heart of a man. This truth has been a game-changer in my struggle against anxiety. When we use our voice and remind God what he says to us in scripture, satan has no choice but to do an about face.  About ten years ago, the friend I mentioned earlier taught me a new way to pray. Up until this time, most of my prayers sounded passive and whiny. God would you please help me xyz and would you fix abc. My friend told me the importance of speaking scripture out loud while I prayed and thanking God for what he was already doing to meet my needs. It changed my whole perspective on prayer and is one of the most powerful ways I’ve learned to fight my anxiety. Here’s an example. Thank you God that your word says you are close to the broken-hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit (Ps 34:18).  I know that you have already prepared encouragement for me in this day, you know I’m overwhelmed and scared about the future and you are speeding your angels to meet me just when I need it most today. Thank you that you care enough about me to speak to me through packages in the mail, music on Pandora, and people I met unexpectedly. I know that you are with me, help me recognize the ways you speak to me today and remind me to give you thanks when I see them. When we speak scripture out loud and pray out loud, Satan loses power over our minds.

Anxiety Hates Community

Just this past week, I woke up in a bad way and could hardly keep up with the lies streaming through my head. I still decide daily whether to choose Joy over Anxiety. Sitting at my computer before daylight, I reached out through text and email to several different friends who know the difficult details of my story. I knew I was slipping and needed to call in reinforcements. I know that each of those dear friends took a moment to pray when my message came through. Most of them responded at some point before the day was over. The result was a steady stream of love and encouragement reminding me what I know to be true about what God is doing in and through my circumstances. If you’re fighting anxiety, I’d like to encourage you to make a list of trusted friends you can contact.  Anxiety breeds on isolation. 

If you are experiencing anxiety in your life and haven’t connected with any of these tools for managing your anxiety could I make a suggestion? Would you take a moment, turn your palms up and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the help that God is orchestrating in the spiritual realm, right now, on your behalf? He knows the list of fears that feel as though they’re tightening around your neck like a noose. But let me remind you of this,  he also knows the plans he has for you and the rest he wants you to experience when you invite his presence into your anxiety. Will you take time this moment using this scripture to thank him? Psalm 118:17 ""I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.""


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