“Be anxious for nothing…” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear…” (2 Timothy 1:7)
The Bible tells us to not be anxious and that a spirit of fear is not from God. However, for many of us, anxiety and fear are impacting our lives to one degree or another on a regular basis. Over the course of my 20+ years of ministry, I have seen a drastic increase in the number of people struggling with anxiety and fear creating havoc in their daily lives. I personally have struggled with varying levels of fear and anxiety all my life with several bouts being debilitating. It has robbed me of much peace and joy and impacted every facet of my life—mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and relationally. I do not by any means pretend to be an expert, but would like to share some of the things I have learned in my experiences in hopes it might encourage you in your own dealings with fear and anxiety.
So, what do I mean by saying I’ve struggled with fear and anxiety all my life? Having been sexually abused as a small child for years by my grandfather, much of my life was built on a foundation of fear and anxiety. Having to hide and “stuff” down the truth and having no outlet only caused the fear and anxiety to fester. Life circumstances only added to the growing internal mess and, after our son Nathan died, a lifetime of accumulated fears and anxieties ignited into a big ugly fire!
Counseling certainly helped, both pastoral and professional. A grief support group was like weekly life support for me. Digging into God’s Word and spending time in prayer were critical. But eventually, I had no choice but to go on medication. I also had to educate myself on just how fear and anxiety operate and learn how to combat them. Then, I had to equip myself in order to do spiritual warfare because satan was (is) relentless in his mental and emotional attacks. Finally, I had to not only learn good self-care, but had to actually put it into regular practice. It was a long, painful journey. Some days I would take three steps forward, while on other days, I would take two back…sometimes even more. Again, I do not claim to be an expert on fear and anxiety but I have learned a thing or two in my personal struggles. I want to humbly share a few posts with you in the days ahead and put before you some of the things I have learned along the way regarding anxiety and fear in hopes it might help you in your own struggle. Even though I am someone who considers myself to have overcome the bondage of fear and anxiety in my own life, I still have to stay on guard to keep it under control. Life is filled with all sorts of things that can easily re-ignite the coals of fear and anxiety; and I, for one, want to be on top of it before it would ever become a raging fire again! I pray for all of us who have fought and continue to fight the battle of anxiety and fear that we would know and live in the freedom that is ours in Christ!!!