3 Ways to Overcome Anxiety

Before I had reached the age of ten, I already had issues with anxiety. I remember going off to summer camp and worrying about whether or not my parents had died in a car accident on the way home. Would I even know? Or would I just wait for them to pick me up on Friday and be the last girl here? Would my older siblings know to come find me and tell me? Or would they forget about where I was and leave me here forever?

It seems silly now…..the irrational fears of an eight year-old child coming up with a million different scenarios of terror. Why even worry about something like that? Just have fun at camp, little girl! But those little girl fears have chased me into adulthood. Sometimes my fears are irrational……my husband and I are not secret agents and therefore will never have to worry about being hunted down by a sniper sent from our own agency. {Seriously.} Other times my fears are not-so-irrational……car accidents, house fires, bankruptcy, cancer. They’ve all danced around my head and spun me into a nervous wreck at one time or another.

I have no real basis for my anxiety, in case you’re wondering. My childhood was great and trauma-free. But I come from a generation of worriers and “we can’t be too careful” type thinkers, and so worrying comes second nature to me. Kind of like breathing. Or not breathing because oh-my-gosh-what-would-I-do-if-someone-tried-to-drown-me.

This second-nature worry habit is something I have to wage war against every day. I think a lot of us do, we just don’t really talk about it. After all, we women are capable of thinking of 10,487 things at one time….which leaves a lot of space for us to be fearful. Add in our constant fear-inducing news stories of terrorists and beheadings and vaccines possibly killing our children and {fill in the blank}…….and you have the perfect recipe for a nation of fear-struck women.

But guess what? Fear is not of the Lord. Let me say it again: fear. is. not. of. the. Lord. These fears and anxieties do not ever come from our Father. He is not speaking them to us so we can “be better prepared” for our future. He doesn’t whisper them to us and urge that we do more to keep our families safe. No, these fears come from the enemy of our souls. And while our minds race and our hearts pound in the night, our Father is gently whispering, “Daughter, just trust in Me.”

The best part is that He gives us everything we need to overcome these fears and anxieties. He doesn’t leave us helpless in the dark. We don’t have to let the enemy rule our mind! I am definitely not a model when it comes to this, but I can tell you a few ways that I am battling the anxiety in my life. Hopefully some of these will resonate with you!

1.       Ask a simple question.

I love this concept by Joanna Weaver in “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.” When you find your mind knee-deep in an anxious thought, pause to examine it. Literally ask the thought: “Where are you from?” and “Where are you going?” In other words, where did this thought come from? Is it even rational?  And where is this thought taking me? Is there something I need to do, or is this scenario outside of my control no matter what? 98% of the time I can simply walk away from the anxious thought because I recognize that it isn’t even rational. And the more I’ve put this into practice, the faster I am getting at recognizing the pattern of fear and stepping out of it.

2.       Call on some prayer warriors.

Sometimes though, anxiety is much more than just a fearful scenario we’ve imagined for ourselves. An intense time in your family, or a really busy schedule, or several bad days strung together can leave us feeling defeated and depressed. When you start to feel like the walls are closing in on you, it’s time to get some prayer warriors interceding on your behalf. I have a few ladies in my close circle that I can send a text to in these times of need, and they will immediately lift me up to our Father. We were never meant to walk through life alone, so find some godly women in your community and commit to pray for each other.

3.       Pray through Scriptures.

I’ve read several times before that “do not fear” is in the Bible 365 times….one for every day of the year. I’m not sure if that’s exactly true or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I run across that phrase a lot in my devotion times. We have a wealth of Scripture at our fingertips that we can use to fight against our enemy. Commit to memorizing a few of them and when fears come calling, just begin to recite them out loud as prayers. {A great one to start with is at the bottom of this post.} The enemy cannot stay in the light, and he runs from truth. So speak those words of truth and light into your life, and then go about your day with a mind at peace.

Remember, every thought that goes through your mind does not come from you. Some thoughts are placed there by our enemy and are meant to distract us and cause us to sin. The Lord is not disappointed in us when scary thoughts pop into our minds out of nowhere. He knows that it is our enemy waging war against us! It’s what we do with these thoughts that count. Do we turn them over to the Lord and walk away from them? Or do we dwell on them and allow fear to grow in our hearts? Our response to anxious thoughts is what actually counts!

The more I put these habits into practice, the better I am getting at overcoming anxiety in my life. And the faster I run to my Father and let Him fight my battles for me, the faster I win the battle that is waged daily against my mind. I hope that you can take some of these suggestions and use them as well. Now I want your input…..

Do you struggle with fear and anxiety? What are some ways that you overcome it? What are your favorite Scriptures you turn to in times of fear?

5 Comments

  1. Mary Piasecki

    I majorly struggle with Anxiety. I have tried all kinds of things. Counseling. Pills. Scripture. Talking myself out of it. Prayer. It’s so hard. I have 100% gotten "better" but it is something that I fight every day! These are great ideas and I use them when it’s not a full blown panic attack!

    • Sarah Casterline

      Thanks Mary-Keith! Yes, I remember reading your post on anxiety too….it was really good! I have gotten a lot better too, but I know this is something I will struggle with for a long time. But then, that could be a blessing in disguise because it keeps me running back to the Lord every day.

  2. patty woods

    So true! We have come from a long line of worriers in our family! I find that when I speak my worry out loud, I realize how trivial it is and it is out of my control anyway. Doing a Bible study called Missing Pieces and it is really helping me trust in the authority and power of God over every aspect of my life. Good writing little sis!

    • Sarah Casterline

      Thanks sis! That’s a really good suggestion, I’m going to have to try that one myself. And I’m definitely going to check out that Bible study! :)

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