You’ve been through retail therapy, tried the meditation apps, and you’re starting to realize that chips and queso won’t actually solve your problems (#rude).
It’s crazy how many people struggle with anxiety, and even crazier how it can get so out of control.
For anyone who’s been through it, it can feel like no matter how many self-help tricks you try, anxiety will always be there to ruin an otherwise perfectly good day.
Worry can have power over you for a number of reasons; but the truth is, it doesn’t have to. What if you had everything you needed to fight back (2 Peter 1:3)?
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness . . . .” 2 Peter 1:3
Here are a few ways, according to the Bible, that you can fight back against worry (and actually have a chance at winning).
1. Replace your agenda with God’s.
Proverbs 16:9 teaches us that in his heart a man plans his own course but it is the Lord who determines his steps.
Most of you have your whole life planned out. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve got expectations for how your life will go: married by this age, this kind of job and income, no death or sickness or uncertainty in your future.
Everything all up and to the right.
You have an idea of how things should go, and you’re worried things won’t pan out the way you want them to. You drown in “what ifs.”
Here’s what you need to know: God’s agenda is not your agenda. He’s got a plan for your life and things he wants to use you to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10). Sometimes those plans contradict yours, and you’re faced with a choice—miss out on a peaceful life by clinging tightly to your own plans, or ask God what he has in mind.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
It’s likely that his plans won’t always line up with yours. And it’s true that not everything in your life will look the way you want it to. That shouldn’t be cause for worry. That should be cause for excitement. Why? Because God’s agenda serves a far greater purpose than yours.
2. Replace your fear with trust.
Here’s the thing: You’ll never give up your plans for God’s if you don’t trust that he knows what he’s doing. And if you can’t ever trust him, you’ll always worry because you’ll think it’s all up to you.
But you will never trust God until you truly know him.
God is sovereign–in control of everything.
God is good–working everything out for his glory and for your good.
God loves you–not just other people, you.
God loves you more than any man has loved a woman or any parent has ever loved a child. And he has promised, “I will provide for you.” He ultimately displayed that love and provision by sending his own Son to die in your place on the cross.
Even if it requires the death of his only Son, there is no length God won’t go to care and provide for the needs of his children—those who have believed and confessed that Jesus is God and that he died and was raised to life again.
John Owen said, “It is irrational for a Christian to worry, because in doing so, a Christian would be saying, ‘God, I trust you with all of my eternity, just not with Thursday.’”
God loves you. He cares for you. And he’s in control.
You can trust him–with today and tomorrow and with everything you have.
3. Replace your apathy with action.
For some you, anxiety has been the norm for so long that you wouldn’t even recognize yourself without it. You know you have a problem, but you’d rather turn to quick-fixes than do the challenging heart work it takes to get well. It’s understandable.
But if you are serious about waging war against worry, you should know that you’re going to be doing just that—waging war.
Every day you wake up, you are fighting a series of spiritual battles. It sounds exhausting unless you know that God has given you the tools to be victorious.
Sure, you might be tired from a little bit of hard work. It might cost you time and energy. But choosing apathy over action will always cost you more.
Here are a few things you can do to start taking action against your anxiety probs.
A. Prep ahead of time. What you do before an anxiety attack might be the difference between whether you become anxious or not and how well you can fight worry when it shows up.
Instead of filling your down-time with Insta breaks that make you feel like you don’t measure up, try pulling up the Bible app and memorizing passages of Scripture that speak to whatever makes you worry most.
B. Identify what makes you feel anxious. Is there something specific—fear of the future, what people think about you, your bank account—that consistently makes you feel anxious?
There is probably something going on underneath the surface that you need to identify. Learning the enemy’s strategy to take you down is a great first step in understanding how you should fight.
C. Take care of your body. Get adequate sleep, eat three balanced meals a day, lay off the junk food, hit the gym three times a week, and take deep breaths. It’s crazy how much it can do for your mind when you take care of the body God has entrusted you.
D. Fight lies with truth. When you feel yourself start to worry, read or repeat Scriptures that you’ve memorized. Write them out on sticky notes and pray that God would help you believe them.
If you are a Christian, you are not helpless against worry. With God’s Word, his Spirit, and his people, you can fight the battle against anxiety—and win!
(Written with help from Lyn Pollard)