I’ve always hated it when people say “don’t worry,” but they don’t provide the answer to how to get rid of worry, fear, and anxiety. The Bible tells us not to be afraid, don’t worry, and be anxious for nothing hundreds of times, because I suspect God knew how much we would struggle with their temptation.
I remember sitting in the surgical waiting room. I waited for the doctor to come out and report on my husband’s surgery. There was little I could do other than people watch. While I had brought my laptop with me to work, and had reading material available, I couldn’t focus on any of it.
My husband had experienced two previous bouts with cancer. As I sat and waited, doctors performed a biopsy to determine whether their suspicion of a third bout of cancer was truly the case.
Telltale signs of anxiety
As I watched people come and go, I clearly saw the telltale signs of anxiety: people pacing, others crying, some talked nonstop about nothing of importance to fill the quiet empty space, and most fidgeted in some form or fashion.
This was not our “first rodeo” with cancer, and God had proven himself faithful to see us through the prior events. Yet, if I’m being honest, I was having to fight hard against the spirit of fear as the clock painstakingly ticked the seconds and minutes by.
Thoughts raced through my head faster than a ball in a pinball machine:
“What if it’s cancer and it isn’t treatable?”
“What if he dies and I’m left a widow?”
“What if he dies and my children have to grow up without a father?”
My stomach also gave my anxious condition away, as I sat feeling like a boulder had grown there overnight.
We discussed in the last post (Where Do Anxiety, Worry and Fear Come From?) about the true origin of worry, fear, and anxiety: the enemy of our soul inflicts worry, fear, and anxiety on our lives through our thoughts with his lies.
“The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. But I have come that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV).
Worry, fear, and anxiety are not good travelling companions. But like a smelly pair of socks will take over a laundry room, worry, fear, and anxiety will take over our lives if we aren’t intentional about doing something about them.
This requires war.
This requires that we actively battle. Worry, fear, and anxiety are not our portion, but peace is. Jesus came to give us peace, which is not something that the world can give. But the second we open the door of our mind and heart to worry, fear, and anxiety, we sacrifice our peace. If we want to reclaim the peace God promises, we have to intentionally step into battle.
Over the years, I’ve had hundreds of patients ask me, “How do I do that?” Because I’ve been in the fight, I’ve learned some things about what works, and it is work.
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip
Scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” While my book, Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises outlines several other key things we can do to break anxiety’s grip on our lives, one of the most important things we can do is to take our thoughts captive.
What does it mean exactly to “take every thought captive?”
It means we can’t just let our thoughts run around freely in our mind, for in doing so, we come into agreement with them. Instead, we have to pay attention to the thoughts we have, determine whether or not they are consistent with what God tells us in His word, and if not, we have to refuse to let them stay and must replace them with the truth of God’s word.
10 Promises from God to replace anxious, fearful and worrisome thoughts
Here are some examples:
- When you think “It’s impossible,” instead think “All things are possible” (Luke 18:27).
- When you think, “I’m not smart enough,” remember that God promises to give you wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30).
- When you think, “I can’t figure it out,” instead think “God will direct my steps” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- When times are difficult and you’re afraid you can’t go on, instead think “God’s grace is enough for me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- When you think you can’t manage a situation, instead think, “God promises to supply all my needs” (Philippians 4:19).
- When you are afraid, remember that God didn’t give you a spirit of fear, but instead He gave you power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
- When you feel alone, instead remind yourself that God will never leave you “Hebrews 13:5).
- When you feel unloved or worthless, remember that God sent His son to prove that you are worth it and that He loves you (John 3:16).
- When you are afraid, remember that if you tell God your worries, He promises to take care of you (Psalm 55:22).
- When your heart is anxious, remember that God promises to save you (Isaiah 35:4).
As we declare God’s word over our lives and our situations, God promises that it will do its job because His word never returns void. The best thing we can do is talk back to those fears with God’s truth.
As I sat in that surgical waiting room, realizing that anxiety was trying to creep into my life, I began to speak to it. I reminded myself that the situation had not taken God by surprise. In fact, He knew about it long before I did, and His plans for me are good, so I could count on Him to take care of me whatever the results were. He also promises that He works ALL things together for our good. So even if the biopsy came back positive for cancer (which it did), then God would work even that for our good. Even if God allowed cancer to take my husband’s life, God promises He will not leave us alone, and that He would be a husband to the widow and a father to the fatherless.
Trusting God is the fastest path to peace
It really all comes back to a matter of trust: will we trust God even when what we see doesn’t look good? Will we give up our need for control and trust that God has everything in His control? Will we trust that He will fulfill the promises He has made to us?
It’s not easy, but friend, neither is living in a state of worry, fear, and anxiety. Trusting God is the fastest path to peace. When scripture says that God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, but instead He gave us power, love and sound mind, we can remain in peace knowing He has given us the weapons we need to do battle: the same power that raised Christ from the dead, everlasting perfect love that casts out fear, and the mind of Christ. Now we just need to use our weapons and do some battle to break anxiety’s grip.
When we do, peace prevails!
For more tips on how to get rid of worry, fear, and anxiety, please consider reading my book, “Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises.”
Because of Him, #PeacePrevails!
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Resource to Break Anxiety’s Grip
No question, we have a lot to worry about. Children, jobs, homes, health, finances, and more. The solution isn’t to rid ourselves of the sources of anxiety – as if we could. Instead, we need to recognize that anxiety originates from a spiritual influence and that we can fight back using the God-given weapons of power, love, and a sound mind.
We can discover true peace in an age of anxiety.
In Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, Dr. Michelle Bengtson shares her own story of emerging from the battle with anxiety as well as the stories of others. She reminds you of your identity as a follower of Christ and of the peace he promises you in spite of everything.
She provides tools to cope with the crushing emotional burden of anxiety now and, more importantly, shows you how to reclaim God’s peace as a way of life so that you can break anxiety’s grip.
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com, Books-A-Million, and other fine book retailers.
Click here to learn more: Breaking Anxiety’s Grip
More resources for fighting anxiety, fear, and worry