Sitting in the doctor’s chair, I could feel the effects of anxiety as my legs began to twitch. Why was I dealing with skin cancer again? Bracing myself for the doctor to come in and do surgery on my face, I just wished I could disappear. In my heart, I knew I needed to surrender and trust that God was enough for me to go through this again. But I did not know how to. Victory over anxiety is not in the absence of anxious situations. It is being able to have peace when the waves of anxiety sweep over us.
Anxiety stems from various forms of fear in our lives. We don’t feel able to control the fear, so it ends up controlling us unless we know how to examine anxiety and process the anxious mindset biblically.
The truth is we live in an anxious world. This is perhaps why it is so difficult to eradicate anxiousness. Anxiety continually invades our minds, and we can feel a stigma with the reality that we don’t seem to be able to get rid of anxiety for good. But God never intended us to be dominated by anxiety. When we examine anxiety and the factors that contribute to anxiety, we gain the upper hand. It is my prayer that these tips will help eradicate anxiety from your life so you can dwell in peace:
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1. Examine Your Beliefs
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22 (NIV)
As we dive into discovering how to get rid of anxiety, we need to deal with the elephant in the room: we don’t believe we can defeat anxiety. At the root of any negative mindset is our belief system. We can allow our feelings to shape our beliefs without realizing it, especially in the case of anxiety, which feels so powerful.
Check to see if your beliefs line up with God’s promises regarding anxiety. Repent of unbelief and ask God to help you believe what His word says about anxiety. Nothing is too difficult for God. Even anxiety.
This is how it works—we can read a Scripture that tells us how to get rid of anxiety, but we doubt that it is true. It might be true for others, but we struggle to have the faith that it can be true for us. At its core, this doubting is unbelief—where we place our thoughts above what God says.
2. Examine Your Cares
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Sometimes we don’t know how to tackle anxiety because we don’t know what we are aiming at. Anxiety is a general condition, but we need to know the cause. Examine your cares to see what is truly at the root of your anxiety. We can often treat symptoms and not the real problem. Drill down to the root and cast it at Jesus’ feet.
God would not tell us to cast our cares if we couldn’t. We might need to confess that we are struggling to believe we can overcome because we have struggled for so long.
Explicit in the above verse are two keywords: “cast” and “all”. This eradicating of anxiety is a decision that we take a role in. We cast all our anxiety and place it in God’s capable hands because we cannot handle it in our own strength.
The word “cast” literally means to throw. We must be ruthless with anxiety and kick it to the curb—choosing to let it go and surrender it to God.
3. Examine Your Peace
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 (ESV)
Casting away the burden of anxiety and all included fears is accompanied by choosing to accept God’s peace. When we let our hearts become full of anxiety, we cannot cast away what we are choosing to keep.
Examine your outward behavior – does it resemble the peace that Christ promises? We cannot produce this fruit of peace, but we can bear it as we accept Christ’s peace over our fears that sit at the core of our anxious thoughts.
We can choose peace. Ask God to help you choose peace instead of choosing anxiety.
4. Examine Your Trust
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
Anxiety is tripped up by life’s uncertainties and failed expectations. Rather than giving power to anxiety, we can trust in God’s ability to defeat it rather than our own ways of “fixing ourselves.”
Examine what you are trusting in for relief from anxiety. There might be a role for counseling or medicine, but those cannot be where we place our trust. There is a spiritual component to anxiety that needs to be dealt with. God is able . . . if we trust Him.
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5. Examine Your Prayers
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
Implicit in the words, “do not be anxious about anything” is the truth that anxiety is a decision. It is affected by faith and our volition.
But sometimes, we struggle to act on that command because we struggle to pray effectively. Paul counsels us to pray smack dab in the middle of the anxiety. Not just for the removal of anxiety, but to thank God and pray, believing that He can do it. Don’t grow weary in continuing to pray when anxiety is stubborn.
6. Examine Your Fear
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (ESV)
Examine your fears to see the truth and the lie behind each one. There might be legitimate fears that stem from past situations. But that does not mean we have to respond in the same manner. Processing our past fears in light of God’s promises, we know that we have nothing to fear when the fear of God trumps all other fears. God is greater than all other fears.
Fear does not have to rule us. God wants to deliver us from every single fear. When we fear God and seek Him, all lesser fears dissipate. Deliverance from anxiety is not a once-and-done proposition. It is a continual pursuit of God in and through anxiety that helps us overcome.
7. Examine Your Focus
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)
What we focus on becomes our mindset. We can change the narrative in our minds when we focus on God and His word rather than on the problem or anxiety at hand. It will take diligence with our thought life to catch ourselves losing focus, but new habits can be formed.
In the verse above, the word “stayed” means “to grasp” or “lean upon.” It is a mindset on God, not the fears that encompass us.
That day in the doctor’s chair I recognized that while I was being examined by the doctor, I needed to examine the anxiety pumping through my mind. I was under siege from anxiety, and I cried out for help. I surrendered my fear to God and told Him that I trusted Him to carry me through. He had done it before, and I knew He would do it again. I did not want to suffer the pain, but I realized I did not have to fear the pain. My God would meet all my needs through Christ Jesus.
Originally published Monday, 23 May 2022.