Thursday, June 13, 2013

Battling Anxiety

Not long ago, I had a pretty bad issue with anxiety and stress and have since become victorious almost completely. I still have times of stress/Anxiety where I need to pray and meditate on truth until I find my peace, but overall have experienced a ton of freedom.  The biggest tool I found for me was just changing what I believe to be true. I found that most of my stress, was rooted in something negative that I would start to believe. All stress, anxiety, depression etc is really just fear that is manifesting. Kris Valloton once said that "Fear, is just faith, in the wrong kingdom" and I found this to be true. When we have faith that something bad is happening or is going to happen, we are really just in fear, and this prompts all kinds of ugly manifestations. So for me the first thing was to realize that my experience was the result of what I believed to be true, not what was actually true. Somewhere along the lines, I believed lies, and these lies or "strongholds on the mind" as the bible refers to them, are the basis for bondage of any kind. THIS is the foundation of all reality I believe. That is, what is true, and what is not true. The more our perspective originates in truth, the more freedom we experience. In fact, when Pilate is talking to Jesus and asking about who he is and why he was there, Jesus didn’t answer that he came to save the world, or to die on a cross. (Although I believe he did). His answer was this: "...the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth." 

I believe our whole experience is the result of our paradigm, our paradigm shaped by what we believe to be true. So to change our experience we must change what we believe to be true. Many of the fears I had, once I actually stopped to think about them, or shared with other people became obviously irrational, and a constant reminder of realizing this helped alleviate the fear, thus the stress that accompanied it. So, Common sense was a benefit. In our world of knowledge we are so aware of the billion ways things can go wrong we tend to lose sight that the common state of things is not as bad as we can start to believe it is. It doesn’t help that media and news only sell fear based content. We live in a culture of fear and it’s contagious. This brings me to my first big verse that helped me.

Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

The bible tells us not to conform to the world. But to be transformed. To do this, the writer states we must renew our minds! This is it! This is what I was referring to above. To THINK and BELIEVE differently. Sometimes that alone does not seem to be enough to find victory in a moment of stress or anxiety, and the scriptures talk about “weapons” we have which help us find victory as well.

2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Strongholds, or lies we believe, can be demolished. And THANK GOD for this. So what are the weapons I speak of? They are quite simple in concept and I have found, extremely effective in their application. Typically they are the polar opposite of that which we are being attacked. An example is anxiety. The verse below gives us the answer (weapon) which we can use to combat anxiety…

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

So when I felt anxiety about anything, I would immediately identify my anxiety, and start giving thanks to God for all that I have. Even if I don’t feel thankful in my heart at first, it would not be long before my heart started to agree with my mouth. My perspective would change within a minute or so of being thankful. The truth about my situation would start to become a reality in my heart and color and warmth would replace the area once occupied by anxiety. Thankfulness would demolish anxiety and would often go right into authentic Joy. Within a week of application all the physical ailments went away along with most the anxiety. This was after months of battling intense fear, anxiety, IBS and other horrible things. The root of it ALL were lies. So, THANKFULNESS > anxiety. J

There is another verse I use for maintenance of my perspective which is very powerful in testing our view. It helps me compare my thoughts with what is true. If my current thought or mind pattern does not fall into one of the categories in this verse, I try not to implement it. (Believe it/Act on it)

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Sometimes we just can’t change our circumstances however, and for that I keep this promise in my pocket. It speaks of peace in the midst of conflict. That with the power of God we can ‘enter into rest’ while our “enemies” surround us…

psalms 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows

I hope some of these verses and methods help you as well. It’s really good to be able to recite them in your mind by memory during tough times.