Editor’s Note: We recognize that not everyone struggles with mental illness and anxiety in the same way, nor are all people relieved from their suffering in the same way. This is simply one writer’s story and is not meant to reflect the experiences of all who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.
As I wrestled to get my teething son to calm down and fall asleep the other night, it seemed like everything that was weighing heavy on my mind hit me all at once, and I collapsed on the floor in his room and started hyperventilating. I got extremely dizzy and felt like I was losing complete control of my body.
None of this was unfamiliar. I knew what this was because it had happened to me countless time before, even though it had been a long time.
Can’t catch my breath.
Can’t stop shaking.
Help me, Jesus.
I was having a panic attack.
My husband, who was barely able to walk or talk because of a severe migraine and muscle aches, rushed in to our son’s nursery.
“Look at me, Emily,” he said with compassion in his eyes.
“Just breathe. Stay calm. You’re okay.”
I felt trapped in my own body, while my mind was trying its best to calm down.
“Help me, Jesus,” I continued to pray over and over again, but the crying and the shaking just increased.
My husband was holding our son in one arm and with the other he placed his hand on top of my head and began to pray over me and declare the name of Jesus. I immediately felt the power of God overwhelm me and I fell to my knees.
I wept and whispered, “I love You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus.” Then, suddenly, great peace surrounded me.
Help me! I am so frightened and afraid. Be near to me and help me feel your presence. Surround me with protection. Holy Spirit, settle my racing heart and mind. Help me breathe out - Abba Father -- and breathe in -- I belong to you. Your peace surpasses all understanding, this I know. Please give me this peace now. Abba Father - I belong to you. Abba Father - I belong to you.
Lord, thank you that no matter what my mind or body tell me, the truth is I am your child, forever loved, forever protected, forever held fast by you. I love you Jesus. Thank you Jesus.
Anxiety is a form of fear and not of God. In fact, the Bible tells us in Philippians to not be anxious at all.
Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)
So if we aren’t supposed to be anxious, why do so many Christians still struggle with anxiety?
Aside from chemical imbalances that can occur in one’s body, I believe much of what causes anxiety begins in our minds. The more we dwell on a negative or fearful thought, the more stress and worry begin to plague us.
For me, I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for many years in high school and college, even as a believer. Stress and worry were just a part of my life, and I allowed them to move into my mind and become my permanent mental roommates. From money problems to relationship issues, if it became too much, you would find me curled up in a ball in the fetal position on the floor, hyperventilating until parts of my body went numb and crying until there were no more tears left.
After I graduated college, I began to walk closer with the Lord and study His Word like I never had before in my life. My mind was being renewed and over time, I began to trust the Lord with every care and worry and cast them upon Him like 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to do.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)
Jesus truly did show me how much He cares for me and delivered me from my anxiety and worrisome mentality. Of course, the enemy never stops trying his old tricks on us, but if we resist him, the Word promises us he will flee from us. We have been given authority over the enemy and the great weapons of the name of Jesus and His Word!
The other night when I experienced the panic attack, there was a brief moment where I was given the opportunity to resist the negative thoughts and take them captive and begin to talk to God like I had learned to do so many times before, but this time, I chose to let my mind run in circles. I was so familiar with the experience of a panic attack that I could literally feel it try to overtake me right before it happened. The dark cloud of what I believe was demonic oppression then blanketed my mind and then my whole body. If I would have remembered Philippians 4:6-7 or even 1 Peter 5:7, I would have realized that God offered me a solution to my anxious thoughts. A simple conversation with the Lord would have helped me centered my thoughts and would have brought immediate peace to the whirlwind in my mind.
Even though I was not able to pray fully in this instance, I am so grateful that my husband took authority over that demonic attack and began to boldly pray over me in the name of Jesus. If you are married, remember how important it is to pray for your spouse every day and especially if they are experiencing worry or stress. There is power in the name of Jesus and power in prayer, my friends!
So many times we try to figure out our problems on our own, and if we would just simply pause, and start talking our Heavenly Father, He will help us focus our thoughts on Him and His promises, especially His promise for peace that passes all human comprehension. We should never focus on how our big our problems are, but how big our God is!
If you suffer from anxiety, know that you do not have to embrace that mentality as a normal lifestyle. No matter what thoughts come against you, start talking to Your Heavenly Father, and see Him break that anxious cycle in your mind and bring clarity. Through the Blood of Jesus, you are more than a conqueror and have been given authority over the devil and his attacks. Jesus wants you to be free from all worry and fear because fear tolerated is faith contaminated. He needs your faith muscles strong so that you can help others around you and point them to the One who brings peace that passes all understanding. There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, including the mental chains of anxiety!
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Emily Rose Massey began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20's, and recently released her first book, Yielded in His Hands (eLectio Publishing). She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma and serving in her local church with her husband in television, worship, and youth ministry. Believing she has been forgiven of much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power. If you would like to connect with Emily or learn more about her book, you can visit her website: www.emilyrosemassey.com