Approximately 40 million American adults — roughly 18% of the population — have an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
If you are one of those suffering with bouts of anxiety, there is no judgment or condemnation, but there is a way out.
Think back to the very last moment you can remember being anxious, stressed, combative, careless with a conversation that may have hurt someone else, offended or agitated at someone at home or the office. Got it? Now, hold that thought….
I have heard that all fear can be narrowed down to one of these three fears:
- I’m all alone
- I have no one to help me
- I don’t have what it takes
Now, which one of those fears was it? Which fear was the one that inspired the stress, anxiety, overwhelm, pouting, venting session…?
In order to exit anxiety and enter REST, we first need to identify the reason why anxiety is happening in the first place.
Here is the lesson for week one:
LOVE IS THE ANSWER.
FEAR IS ALWAYS THE REASON YOU WILL EXPERIENCE ANXIETY. IDENTIFY THE FEAR. LOOK AT IT. FACE IT. NAME IT. THEN COMBAT IT WITH THE TRUTH THAT IS ROOTED IN LOVE.
This is a simple practice that anyone can do, provided there is humility. When we get snagged up in an anxious moment, we can humble ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit what is the root fear we are struggling with and then ask what is His truth. The alternative would be to let that fear dominate us and take over our thoughts that lead to negative and damaging behaviors.
This is a battle of the mind where the only winning move is to overcome fear with LOVE from Father God through the Holy Spirit and His written word. You can do this! He is waiting to tell you the truth that is founded on a bedrock of love for you!
Let me show you how this works…
- I asked my husband for the 3rd time if he would move the wet laundry to the dryer for me. And if I’m honest, this time I added some deliberate irritability to attempt to motivate him to help me.
- He says, “I’ve got it” and heads for the laundry room. The only problem is that he didn’t turn around fast enough to miss me seeing his eyes roll.
- I feel a jab in my heart and the “the fight back” coming on.
- Rather than reacting and jabbing back, I recognize that anxiety is knocking at my door. I stop and identify which of the three fears jumped to life in me. Hmmmm, probably “I have no one to help me.” After all, he seems very resistant to helping me.
- I hold my tongue and remember I’m on the STILL JOURNEY so I ask the Holy Spirit, “What is the Truth? Do I really have no one who cares to help me?”
- The hardest part is waiting for an answer rather than using my mouth to hurt him back or defend myself.
- Opening my heart, I hear the Holy Spirit say, “I am helping you. Your husband is helping you by going to work tomorrow. He helped you when he put the kids to bed an hour ago. He helped you when he stopped by the store tonight to get you cough drops. He loves you. He chose you. I love you. I chose you. I am helping you every minute of every day.”
- A minute later my husband comes back from the laundry room and goes back to the game he was watching (Oops, did I fail to mention that the three requests were made when he was watching a game?) He’s 100% unaware of me having a “come back to REST moment.” He’s simple like that.
- I say nothing and feel only gratitude that he did that for me and all the other things that, if I’m honest, I completely forgot about.
- I say, “Thank you honey. I appreciate you.”
This is not an exact scenario I went through, but it could mirror dozens of story lines I’ve walked through in my marriage. On this week’s podcast hear more about the fears that Bob and I battled that led to our own personal anxieties. And more importantly, how we learned to lean into TRUTH to break free from anxiety.
Now it’s your turn. Can you walk through those simple steps the next time you feel the stormy waters rise inside of you?
- What’s the fear? (You could even ask, “What’s the lie I’m believing?”)
- What’s the truth, Holy Spirit? (Wait. Be patient. The answers from the Holy Spirit will always match scripture.)
- Take the fear/lie captive and make it obedient to the truth you just heard. Let it sink in. Buy into the truth and feel it land in your spirit.
This practical process is our instruction found in 2 Corinthians 10:5. “We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.”
Did you read that? It fires me up! We have the authority to make every fear and every lie bow in obedience to Christ. We don’t have to let our thoughts take us captive, but we can lasso that seemingly real fear and command it to bow low. This should make you feel infused with power to take charge over any thought that steals your REST, my friend! Try it this week. In fact, try it today.
This is going to be a great journey! Invite a friend or two to come with us. And remember, The TRUTH from Jesus you choose to believe will set you free!
Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “When you continue to embrace all that I teach, you prove that you are my true followers. For if you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your lives.” John 8:31-32
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18