Freedom From the Chains of Anxiety
For years, the grip of anxiety kept me from living life the way I wanted. It followed me, cornered me and held me back from that hope and joy that I heard so much about.
I believed in God and had even given my life to him and yet, I didn’t walk in freedom. I was bound by these heavy chains that reminded me of my past over and over again every single day.
This left me questioning, where was God? And why does He allow us to struggle as we do?
Have you ever faced anxiety? Not just the nervous-before-a-big-day kind of anxiety, but the kind that feels like a punch in the gut, a gnawing anxiety that won’t seem to leave you alone? The kind that cripples you and leaves you feeling hopeless and defeated?
Because God does not want us living in this pain. He wants us walking in freedom and peace and rest. He cares for us and asks us to give Him our anxiety. And He tells us how to find this freedom.
It took me a long time to finally learn that God had freedom and hope for me. Satan wanted me stuck in these chains, living my life from this place of despair. But praise God that His mighty grace rescued me from the pit of anxiety and delivered me to a life of freedom and hope.
Today, I want to share with you how I found freedom from the chains of anxiety and how you can too.
Come to Me & Rest
I find myself avoiding rest in order to avoid my anxiety. Because it seems that rest allows anxiety to web its nasty fingers around our minds and take over.
For years I tried hard to follow God without allowing myself to slow down long enough to rest in His presence. I did this because I was scared.
I was terrified that slowing my mind would only open the door to anxiety’s grip. I feared that the space that rest created would only allow more space for this anxiety to take over.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28
But God promises us that He will give us rest. He promises that when we come to Him, He will give us rest.
What I have learned is that the rest that God offers does not look like the rest the world portrays. It isn’t a kick-back-and-put-your-feet-up-with-a-big-smile-on-your-face kind of thing.
Rest in Christ means that Christ will refresh and restore our soul. It means that when we take our burdens to Him, He will remind us that He has a plan and that He is good. We can be filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Resting in Christ is an act of obedience. It requires us to stop and actively come to Him. And when we do, God will refresh us and give us rest.
Cast Anxiety on Him, But How?
One of the hardest things for me was to learn what to do once I rested. Because my anxiety remained. It would still sprout up and beg to pull me down.
Once we can choose to rest and pause and place our hearts before God, we are called to cast all of our anxiety on Him. All of our cares.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. -1 Peter 5:7
But how? How do we actively do this?
I mean I can pray and tell Him about my anxiety, but what does it mean to cast it on Him?
Again, I think this is an act of obedience. Because oftentimes when I pray and share my anxiety with God, I struggle with the fear that it won’t make a difference! But I must choose to do this anyway.
I must choose to offer my anxiety to God in prayer and as we do this, He will begin to transform us.
Offering our anxiety to Him as it comes up is going to begin to rewire your brain. Where normally anxiety would trigger more anxiety and a spiral downwards, now we are teaching our minds to turn to Christ as soon as anxiety arises.
You may be wondering what next? What do we do after we pray and offer our anxiety to Christ? Because if you’re anything like me, you realize that this won’t necessarily take it away!
Direct Our Thoughts
We must actively direct our thoughts to the things that God calls us to focus on.
Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. -Philippians 4:8
Think about what you think about. Pay attention to your wandering mind. And commit to directing your thoughts to the things that are true and noble and praiseworthy.
We have to actively stand against Satan. We must take a stand.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. -James 4:7
When you feel attacked, resist Satan. Sometimes even just saying the name of Jesus out loud helps me to do this.
When we choose to resist Satan, Scripture tells us he has to flee. What a powerful promise.
And finally, gratitude is a powerful antidote for anxiety. The practice of gratitude changes everything.
A few years ago, I began taking time to write down at least 5 things I was grateful for each morning. I had a list in my journal that I would continue day after day and sometimes even add to throughout the day.
As time went on, I began to see a major shift in my mindset. Where things would normally trigger anxiety, they began to trigger gratitude instead. I began to experience freedom and joy in ways that I never had before.
This freedom is something we must choose to walk in every single day. When we let these things slip and allow our minds to wander, over time, the chains begin to take hold again.
Walking in freedom requires obedience to all that God has called us to in His Word. He equips us and gives us the tools to overcome.
But it is our obedience and surrender that allows His mighty hand to work in our hearts and bring us freedom and restoration.
Will you choose to obey God in these ways today? Because if you do, you will see Him move in mighty ways in your life!
I pray that you will find freedom from anxiety and everlasting Hope in Christ as you seek to overcome anxiety.