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Is My Anxiety Physical, Spiritual, or Both?

Jennifer Waddle

iBelieve Contributor
Updated Apr 19, 2024
Is My Anxiety Physical, Spiritual, or Both?

Break agreement with the lies of the enemy by praying boldly in Jesus’ name. Refuse to partner with the lie that you are doomed to a life of anxiety.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22

Throughout my 50+ years on earth, anxiety has shown up in a variety of ways, including childhood fears, nervous tics, sleepless nights, and unexplained worry. I used to believe it was purely physical—something that could only be helped by medication. But as I’ve worked through my anxiety with wise counsel and inner-prayer healing, I’ve learned that it’s a complex problem involving the whole person.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, whether it’s been a life-long issue or a recent occurrence, please know you’re not alone. Anxious living has been a human condition from the time of Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden until now. Unfortunately, it seems to be a growing dilemma for many—including Christian women who love the Lord and want to believe that He can heal them.

I pray the things I share in this article will draw you closer to God as you navigate anxiety with a tremendous amount of grace. After all, God’s grace is sufficient for our weaknesses, so let’s approach this topic with grace in our hearts for the many who are struggling.

Here are a few things about anxiety to keep in mind:

It Is Physical

You might be surprised to learn that medical conditions such as heart problems, asthma, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism can cause anxiety symptoms. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Any chronic disease or chronic pain condition can elicit anxiety as the illness progresses and impairs function.” The clinic goes on to say, “Because anxiety is linked to so many medical conditions, it’s important to have your primary care doctor evaluate it when it’s a new symptom for you.”

If anxiety is rearing its ugly head and you can’t figure out why, talk to a trusted physician to rule out an undiagnosed medical condition. Try to find a compassionate professional who will take the time to listen—really listen—and work with you to lessen your anxiety symptoms. One helpful piece of advice from the Mayo Clinic is to “Discuss setting reasonable limits on tests, evaluations and specialist referrals. Avoid seeking advice from multiple doctors or emergency room visits that can make your care harder to coordinate and may subject you to duplicate testing.”

Ultimately, take your physical concerns to God who formed your body and knows every intricate detail. Recall the words from Psalm 139: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Let this passage become a prayer of affirmation that God knows all about your physical anxiety and will lead you to the right diagnosis, treatment, and ultimate healing.

It Is Spiritual

I probably don’t need to tell you that anxiety is every bit as spiritual as it is physical, and in some cases, it’s more. Both the enemy and our flesh war against the Holy Spirit whose divine attributes are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. 

Even though the Holy Spirit dwells in us and produces this fruit, we are in an almost constant battle with the enemy of our souls who seeks only to devour. Satan’s arrows come at you any time a new spiritual fruit is cultivated in your life, which means your godly shield needs to be in place at all times.

Along with the enemy, our flesh naturally fights against the things of God. We might pray for God’s peace but immediately turn to social media, which is the exact opposite. Or we might pray for self-control only to reach for the chips and chocolate for comfort.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

If you’ve heard this passage before and think it’s impossible to implement, think again. Paul gives the exact formula for resisting anxiety by reminding us to pray, petition, thank, and present our requests to God in every situation. If we’re honest with ourselves, how often do we actually put these things into practice?

The next verse in Philippians 4:8 drives this point further by saying, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Anxiety doesn’t stick around very long when our minds are filled with everything true, noble, right, and pure. It’s when our thoughts are fixed on humanistic thinking or the enemy’s lies that anxiety has free reign.

Even if your anxiety has an underlying physical cause, please don’t underestimate the spiritual side of it. Satan will use any tactic he can to keep you caught in anxiety. Resist the temptation to believe that Philippians 4:6-8 is impossible for you. Nothing is impossible when you fix your mind on Jesus and follow His pattern of peace as spelled out in the Scriptures. The key is to actually follow them!

It Is Healable

It wasn’t until I began working with a trusted Christian mentor—a woman experienced in inner-prayer healing—that I received deliverance from anxiety. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t her power or ability that caused the breakthrough, but God’s power working through her obedience.

Sometimes, we need another sister in faith to lead us in powerful prayer to overcome anxiety and other pressing issues. When two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus, He is with them, and it can make all the difference working through anxiety with a trusted counselor, mentor, or friend in Jesus’ mighty name.

God still heals today, my friend, and His healing is not limited to sickness or disease. He doesn’t want us to remain stuck in anxious living, no matter the cause. 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 

In His time and in His way, the Lord heals. We don’t always know what it will look like, but we can fully trust Him to hear our petitions and help us in times of trouble. Here are a few important things to consider when seeking God’s healing from anxiety:

There are probably lies you’re believing.

What do you honestly believe about your anxiety? Perhaps, you believe it’s just part of who you are, that you’ll never overcome it, and you’re destined to struggle for the rest of your life. If these thoughts are recurring, chances are, you’re believing a lie.

Remember, the enemy is good at causing us to go from one extreme to another. When we falsely believe we’ll always be anxious or we’ll never be healed, he’s got us right where he wants us.

Break agreement with the lies of the enemy by praying boldly in Jesus’ name. Refuse to partner with the lie that you are doomed to a life of anxiety. Instead, hold fast to God’s truth that He will lift you up in due time. Your job is to keep casting every anxiety on Him and trusting Him to deliver you.

There might be unforgiveness in your heart.

Have you ever thought about the connection between unforgiveness and anxiety? In Mark 11:24-25, Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

When asking God to heal you from anxiety, be sure to ask Him if there’s anyone you need to forgive. Let Him bring people to mind—people you might not have thought about in a long time. Once forgiveness takes place, with God’s help, you can trust Jesus’ words, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

There are beautiful truths God wants you to know.

In all our struggles, including anxiety, there are always messages of truth God wants us to hear.

When trusting God to heal you, ask Him to fill your heart, mind, and soul with His absolute truth. Rely on powerful passages such as:

-Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

-Romans 8:11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

-Romans 8:26-27: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

-Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

You are not alone in your anxiety. God sees both the physical and spiritual and knows exactly what is needed for your healing. I pray your deliverance comes sooner rather than later as you are finally freed from the many ways anxiety invades your peace. May the Lord bless you and keep you on your journey.

More helpful resources:

30 Powerful Prayers for Anxiety to Calm Stress and Panic
How to Overcome Anxiety with God
Finding Rest, Relief, and Recovery from Anxiety

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Mario Arango

Jennifer WaddleJennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayerand is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesnt Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.