Have you ever felt anxiety? I believe all of us believers experience anxiety at one point or another. Here is my story with anxiety and 3 ways I’ve learned to fight it!
This Blog post is also the 7th episode of the Living Created Podcast, Listen below!
Today we’re going to talk about anxiety.
I know a lot of people actually deal with this and it’s a lot more common than we talk about, especially as believers, since we’re supposed to be relying on God and the Bible says to not be anxious for anything.
It doesn’t change the fact that I feel like society right now has been a lot more anxious and a lot more fearful about things, at least in general. We’ve had a lot more mental issues, mental health conversation, self care conversations, it’s just where we’re at right now.
And so I wanted to talk about anxiety because I have experienced a little bit of this in the past year, a lot more than I ever did in high school or college. And so I wanted to share my story and some tips of how to fight anxiety with it in a healthy way and to move through it.
My Anxiety Story
When I was living as a missionary in Ukraine last year, I was there for seven months. About a month into my trip I ended up getting sick. I use the word sick loosely. It was extreme fatigue and just a lot of issues with that. It’s kind of hard to explain to people who don’t have autoimmune problems or those kinds of things, but it’s like my body just didn’t have enough energy to make it through the day.
So that made everything a lot harder than it should have been. Learning Russian was harder walking to the grocery store, learning the culture with me being exhausted all the time, it kind of made it a little bit more difficult.
But through that I ended up getting depressed and anxious due to like chemical imbalances. So as a clinical anxiety and depression I feel like everybody can understand basic level, what it feels to be a little depressed and a little anxious. I was there for seven months, handled anxiety.
It made it really hard to get out of bed. It was like I was always anxious about the next thing I had to do, the next ministry I had to go to those kinds of things. And it was really, really hard to handle because it was stacked on top. I had a lot of different things that I was dealing with at the same time. And even now, fast forward, I’ve been in for like what, nine months approximately?
I’ve been to a lot of doctors and they still can’t figure out exactly what’s wrong with me other than they think I’m developing an autoimmune disease. I still sometimes get really anxious or start like dwelling in things that I can’t control.
And it’s like this internal just dread and just nervousness and I understand I can’t control it, which it’s not, I don’t think it’s a desire to control it completely, but just a desire to know what’s happening or what’s going to happen.
And so it’s been something I’ve been dealing with a little bit more recently and I’ve been on a specific diet too. And so that’s kind of given me a roller coaster of emotions and moods. I wanted to share a little bit about three ways that I’ve learned to fight anxiety in the moment and handle it so that we can move through those emotions into a healthy emotional place.
Is Anxiety a sin?
That’s also another question a lot of people ask, is anxiety a sin?
I want to blanket this and say anxiety can be a sin, but it depends on where it’s coming from.
There are different kinds of anxiety, like fears coming out as anxiety or anxiety due to health issues or anxiety and worry, which is considered like more of a lack of trusting God.
Those are just like three different examples of anxiety.
You have to find the root
So really figuring out what the root of your anxious feelings is the best place to start in dealing with it.
And I want you to not dwell in the question of is it sinful or not, but I want you to think about how can I be a healthier human and handled this anxiety issue?
How can I fight anxiety in a healthy way so that I can move forward and love other people and be who God’s called me to be and allow God to fulfill His promises because God promises abundant life and freedom.
3 Tricks to Fighting Anxiety
Anxiety to me is a form of bondage.
It’s a form of just stuckness. You’re stuck in the fears and in that like anxious feeling of you don’t know what’s going to happen. And I don’t believe that God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross so that we can sit in anxiety.
1. Talk about it with God
Number one is simple. You give it over to God.
Speaking to God is crazy, crazy important in your relationship because you can’t have a relationship unless you speak with the other person. So if you’re not speaking with God, you’re lacking relationship. So take the time.
If you’re feeling anxious just sit and tell God how you feel, and yes He already knows, but he wants you to tell him anyway. And it will help you process verbally exactly you feel and maybe find the root of why you feel the way you feel.
For example the other day I was feeling a little anxious. I’ve been looking for a roommate and somebody sent me a message and I do not know why, but I have felt very anxious about her coming and looking at the house and just the changes that comes with that. The fact that somebody else will be living in my home with me, which I’m not used to because I’ve been here for like six months by myself.
It just came with these overwhelming feelings of anxiety and I did not want them. So I started talking to God and telling him exactly how I felt and then I pinpointed a few different roots of my anxiety.
So after speaking to God about it and just sharing why you feel the way you feel and then try to give it over to him.
I realize that sounds simple and it’s not, it can be very difficult to do and often times we take it back. That’s what I often do, I’ll give God something that I want him to take over, but then I will feel like I can handle it better. I’ll take it back. So intentionally give whatever you are anxious about over to God and say I trust you.
Here it is. You know better than I know your will be done. You’re good father and sit in trust of who God is and that he will take care of whatever it is, whatever situation you’re in because he will do it.
2. Breathe Prayers
The second way to fight anxiety is a little trick I learned from Hannah Brencher who is my absolute favorite writer ever. You should go followers. She’s done a Ted talk if you’re interested.
That was the first time I ever heard her speak and she has written two amazing books. I highly, highly recommend.
But somewhere along the line she heard a pastor share about breath prayers. He shared how to fight anxiety and depression by recentering yourself in God’s presence and pray with your being. I have taken that and now use that and it’s been so calming.
A breath prayer is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a prayer that you say with your breath. So you breathe in and you say something, you breathe out and you say something. So you’re focusing on the words that you’re saying.
For example, you could breathe in and breathe while you’re breathing in. Say,
“Lord I love you.”
And while you breathe out, say
“Help me, trust you.”
That’s one example. Or another one.
You can breathe in God’s peace and you can breathe out your fear.
So I really recommend you do this specific to how you’re feeling and what you’re dealing with. Pinpoint why you are anxious, what it is you’re anxious about, and you give it to God.
It’s a repetitive thing. So you sit down and you do it for a few minutes at a time and you literally concentrate on breathing in and breathing out, breathing in God’s truth and breathing out your fears and bringing in God’s presence and putting out everything that’s holding you back from freedom.
I’ve been using that for so many different things in so many situations, I’ll just sit there and think about what I need to dwell in and how I can settle my body and my spirit with my breath as well as sit in God’s presence.
That is what breath prayers are.
3. Use the Abide app to meditate
The third way to fight anxiety is similar to number 2 but it’s actually an app. It is similar to a breath prayer because it is also meditation which is what you’re doing when you’re dwelling on your breath and your prayers as you’re meditating, you’re meditating on truth.
This one’s a little bit more guided. So there is an app called abide and I absolutely love it and I paid for it when I was living in Ukraine and I use it almost every single day.
Abide is an app and it’s a Christian meditation app and so everything is based on scripture and truth and it is a slower pace thing.
It can be just a few minutes to 20 minutes. You can choose which time and you can choose what specific topic you want to dwell on, what you want to meditate on. And they have so many and it’s very calming.
And you can set background music too. So I have rainfall cause it’s my favorite thing. It’s very calming to me.
So I’ll turn that on and I’ll just dwell and listen to what they say. Listen to scripture, let God just bring peace over me and just meditate on his truth and his presence. And a slightly different way than praying. So that is my other tip. And I love abide too because they have sleep ones and so they’re 15 to an hour-long so it’ll turn off automatically when it’s over and they’ll tell stories from scripture and they’ll just guide you through different things.
They have specific ones on peace and on joyfulness, those kinds of things as well as stories of Noah and Moses.
I highly recommend Abife if you are an anxious person or if there’s a lot of things going on in life. If you need a moment of peace, then you can just turn that on, sit down and focus on calming yourself and it can be so, so helpful in keeping peace amidst the chaos.
I pray this post helps you fight anxiety and helps you handle it in a healthy way so that you can move forward and be free. God’s got you!