If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You are not alone.
The world makes anxiety normal, and we can easily accept it when we "feel" it. We need to be careful to pay attention to our language and not say "my anxiety," even if we're feeling it. It's not who you are, and it's not yours. You are a child of God, and you belong to the one Most High.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
We need to pay attention if the anxiety is impacting our ability to function. It can't be ignored if you are avoiding social settings, not able to go to work and struggling to function with daily life. If this is the case, please reach out to a helpful pastor or counselor.
Being educated about anxiety can help us have authority over it. The cognitive triangle can be helpful to understand the impact of anxiety. It consists of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Our thoughts create feelings; those feelings create behavior; then those behaviors create more thoughts. It's a cycle that repeats all the time, all day every day. If we are believing lies from anxiety, then our behavior will not be from God. We need to break the negative cycle and pattern and flip it to be fruitful. Declaring the Word of God is what I recommend, and it's powerful. Sometimes there are hooks that keep the anxiety showing up because of stuck lies.
I want to give you an activity to do when anxiety tries to sneak in. Think about something that causes you to feel anxiety. Pick something at a level of distress of 5/10 (don't pick a big 10/10 issue). Notice where you feel it in your body. I want you to see this as a thing that is outside of you trying to highjack you. Now ask Holy Spirit what lies is anxiety telling you.
I will share a personal example I did for myself. I recently started a podcast through Charisma Media, and this has caused me to feel anxious. I noticed anxiety showing up and recognized the lies that were attached to it. The lies I was hearing were:
— I am not good enough as I am.
— I need to strive to make the perfect episode.
— I won't do it well.
— No one will listen.
— I won't make an impact.
Write yours down. Now ask Holy Spirit what behaviors has these lies impacted.
For me, these lies stopped me from being present with my kids and got me on my phone. Anxiety stopped me from being patient with myself ,and I would hustle for my worth. Now write yours down.
John 15:2 says, "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." When we continue to verse 3 (NKJV), it says, "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you." When we "feel" this anxiety, it's not from God and it's a dead branch along with the lies and behaviors with it.
Since it's outside of you, I want you to see the anxiety, the lies and the behaviors with it going to the cross. Hang them up there. Now see Jesus dying on the cross and the anxiety, lies and behaviors dying with Him. Wait here until they are gone and the peace of God comes. See Him raising from the dead and being seated in the throne room with God. See yourself there in your rightful place.
Now I want you to ask Holy Spirit what truth He has to say about you and write it down. Here is what I heard for myself:
— I am good enough as I am.
— I do not need to strive; I thrive.
— The Holy Spirit is my guide and will help me.
— I will make an impact.
Rip up the old list of lies and throw them away. We are not qualified to be free but we know the one who is. "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Cor. 3:17, NIV).
When we are vulnerable and bring the Lord into our pain, He shows up and is the mighty counselor. Sometimes the enemy tries to keep us from ignoring the pain or hooks and says, "We are fine" when we are not. Don't hide from the Lord; it doesn't work. However, don't stay camped in the enemy's camp. Do this activity whenever you feel anxiety come up. Spend more time with the truth and abide in His love. When we do this, He squeezes out what is dead, which is what Jesus says He will do in John 15. In John 15:4 (DARBY), Jesus says, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, thus neither [can] ye unless ye abide in Me."
If you are in crisis, help is available by call or texting 1-800-273-8255 24/7. You can also visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You are loved!
For more of Strong Tower Mental Health with Heidi, listen to this podcast.
Heidi Mortenson is a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Bridging Hope Counseling in Minnesota. She received her master's in counseling psychology from Bethel University. She is currently attending Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry (BSSM) and is approved for ordination through Patricia King's Women in Ministry Network. Her website is heidimortensonlmft.com.
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