So many Christians struggle with anxiety, so they do what comes naturally, they repress their fears because they feel shame or guilt.
Within the Christian community, anxiety and depression are often not discussed, however, they are one of the most prevalent struggles for Christians today. No matter your struggle, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one. Maybe you know someone who struggles with anxiety. Maybe you are battling it yourself or have felt anxious or depressed in the past.
The fact is, God knows more about depression, anxiety, despair, and sadness than any psychiatrist, counselor, or pastor. God provides a framework we can use to approach the subject. In the Bible, there are a handful of people who knew God intimately, saw Him move powerfully, wrote books in the Bible, were even king, and still battled with anxiety and depression. Often we look at “worry” as something we just all do. “Anxiety” and “worry” are basic human emotions like being excited or sad. Emotions are not bad or good but are part of the human experience.
Fear is not a sin but we don’t want to let it go unchecked. “It is okay to feel fear, but do not wallow in it. Do not entertain it, engage it, or make friends with it.” At the very least, it will rob you of the blessings God wants you to enjoy and a steady mindset that allows you to be open to the God-given opportunities around you. When you allow stress and worry to go unchecked, it will certainly snowball into something much worse.
Researchers have found that when we have a thought, it makes a neurological connection in our brain. When we think the same thought over and over again, the connection becomes deeper and deeper and with every repeat of the same thought, that neurological connection is stronger, especially if the thought is connected to an emotion. Therefore, problems arise when the thought is associated with fear or anxiety.
When we worry, we think the same anxious thought over and over and the trench is made ever deeper in our brains. With each repeating thought, the fear becomes more consuming as this thought is more prevalent and easily accessed.
Before we know it, a small worry can snowball into massive fear as this connection is already increased in our brains. This is why worry can be so difficult to overcome and why a very small thought can result in a panic attack. Therefore, small worries can quickly become overwhelming if this process isn’t stopped and reversed.
To treat this problem, psychologists suggest thinking a positive thought every time the initial worry comes to mind. This will work eventually but you have to have a positive thought for every negative thought to undo this neurological connection and “backfill the trench” completely. However, God gave us a much more powerful shortcut! God’s Word is so powerful and more effective than mere positive thinking.
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
When we confront fearful thoughts with God’s Word regularly, it refills this trench much more quickly and completely than mere positive thinking. If positive thinking alone is a wheelbarrow, think of God’s Word as a backhoe that has unbridled power over refilling our negative thought processes. Before we know it, our negative thought pathways are completely filled with the truth of God’s Word, leaving no room for anxious thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Isn’t it amazing that through God’s Word, we take captive every anxious thought and make it obedient to Him? We don’t just harness our worries, but God completely transforms our anxious thoughts into thoughts that honor Him. Know that God will make a miraculous way out of worry, anxiety, or depression that is perfectly timed and planned by Him.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Sometimes you hear someone say “I’m just calling it how I see it” before sharing a negative comment. But instead, we need to “call it as God sees it”. When we can see our lives and troubles through the lens of God’s Truth and Scripture, we come to realize that we have nothing to fear as we are being held in a tight grip by our Creator.
So how do you do this? We can meet worries with thanksgiving before they have an opportunity to infiltrate our thinking. The attacks of discouragement will not stop coming, but if they are met with praise at the city gate, they will be denied entrance.”
Psalm 100:4-5 (NKJV)
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Don’t let the discouragement of what you are going through make you forget the benefits of belonging to a God who has been so good to you. He has saved you, blessed you, forgiven you, restored you, satisfied you, renewed you, healed you, and crowned you!
Isn’t it amazing that through God’s Word, we take captive every anxious thought and make it obedient to Him? We don’t just harness our worries, but God completely transforms our anxious thoughts into thoughts that honor Him.
God Bless, Israel