After publishing my last post, a few of you reached out and told me you also struggle with anxiety or that you have had a panic attack this past year, too. You offered encouragement and truth, and for that, I am so very grateful. We weren't made to fight our battles alone, friends. And we weren't made to sit in anxiety, letting it rule over us. God created us for much more than that.
As I've been praying for peace and trust in the Lord's plan in 2019, He has reminded me how important it is to "get up and walk." (John 5:8) I don't see anxiety or panic attacks as sinful, but I do believe we can choose to run after Christ in the midst of those—and that He will sustain us. Below are five practical things that have helped me in the fight against anxiety.
1. Read the Bible.
Spending time in God's Word—daily—is our absolute best weapon against the enemy. Satan wants to bring you down, and he will use any tactic he can get. In 2018, I noticed I was finally experiencing true healing from my eating disorder. With my desire for control no longer being channeled into what I ate, Satan did everything he could to find a new outlet. Fear and worry cropped up in my pregnancy, in my job, and even in whether my home was clean or not. Sometimes I let those fears hold me back from time with God. In 2019, I'm committed to reading the Bible daily. I have seen firsthand how much of a difference that makes. God speaks to us all the time, and He's given us His Word as a direct form of communication. We just have to be willing to listen.
It sounds easier than it is at times. Talk to God. Share your heart with Him in all its messy, anxious, fearfulness. You don't have to clean yourself up before God. In fact, He wants you to come as you are.
God's yoke is easy and His burden is light. Go to Him.
I often want to Google a solution, phone a friend, or search a book for the comfort I'm looking for. But those times I talk to Jesus first, those are the times I really feel comforted. I can search for answers in a million different places. (And I do.) True peace, however, comes from God alone.
3. Memorize Scripture.
I was in a women's group in 2017 where we memorized two verses of the Bible each week. By the end of the year, we could each recite Ephesians 1 and 2 from memory. That practice changed my life. I was amazed at how much those verses from God's Word would come to mind when I needed Him most.
Since then, I haven't practiced much scripture memory, but it's a spiritual discipline I want to get back to. I know it's a fierce weapon in the fight against anxiety. So pick some verses—or just one—to memorize and be your mantra in those worry-filled moments. Speak truth aloud over yourself and let it soak into every fiber of your being.
Right now, I'm working on Isaiah 41:10:
4. Talk to a trusted friend.
Open up to a friend or family member you trust. I've learned that the more you are vulnerable with other people, the more they will be vulnerable with you. You can pray for each other, pray together, and encourage each other in whatever it is you're going through. This person can also serve as an accountability partner. Be honest with them, even if you're feeling guilt or shame. Sometimes this means talking to a counselor or therapist. I’ve spent about eight years in counseling, and I truly believe every one of us could benefit from it. I’m actually looking into counseling again now in Nashville because of how helpful my experience was back in New York.
As Christians, we need a constant cycle of confession and repentance to experience full freedom. Talk to God and talk to your friend.
5. Take a walk.
Go for a stroll, and if you can, leave your phone at home. Enjoy time in God's creation without other distractions. Head to a local trail, go on a hike, or simply walk around your neighborhood. A change of scenery and a bit of movement can be the best thing to help you get out of your own mind. Change your perspective from an inward focus to a greater focus on the Lord.
The less I think of myself, the less I worry. And the more I surrender humbly to God and give things up to Him, the better I feel. No matter what my emotions are, God remains the same. We can depend on Him to provide for us, care for us, and sustain us—even in the darkest hour.
If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuff, shoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life.
And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.
Truly, He makes beautiful things.