When it comes to struggling with anxiety, fear and panic attacks, freedom can feel so elusive. After years of counseling, therapy, medication, prayer, fighting, surrendering, and other attempts to get free, nothing changes. Despair and discouragement often follow. It can be very frustrating!
During those times of confusion, the enemy will often whisper into your ear, “You’ll never be free.” You may even hear things that sound biblical like:
- This is my cross to bear.
- This is my thorn in the flesh.
- My suffering will bring glory to God.
There is some truth to those statements, but at the core of those thoughts is this barrier that I will never experience freedom.
It’s just not true. God’s desire for you is freedom. Total, complete freedom. He never created you to suffer, to experience fear, to be crippled by anxiety. Listen carefully to words of Christ from John 10:10:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
When you think about crippling anxiety or fear, does it steal, kill and destroy, or does it produce abundant life? The enemy is the source of those destructive things. He is trying to hold you back, to keep you from experiencing all that God has for you. Jesus came that you might have life more abundantly!
Here are some steps to help you renew your mind that freedom is possible:
Believe that freedom is possible
Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “…with God all things are possible.” God is for you, and he wants you to be free. He sent Christ into this world to help you live the abundant life. He died a painful, brutal death so that you can have life. He paid an incredible price for your freedom.
Seek first the Kingdom of God
Sometimes when the fear and anxiety strike hard, we immediately seek a solution to our pain. That’s a very natural response. But, where we often fall short is seeking God for an answer. We turn to counsel, books, education, seminars, medical advice and other sources, but rarely do we turn to God. Matthew 6:33 encourages us to “seek first the Kingdom of God” and all those things that create anxiety in us will fade away. Instead of reaching out to God as a last resort, let him be your first response.
I believe worship is at the heart of God. He doesn’t call us to worship so he can feel good about himself; rather, he calls us to worship for our own sake. Worship is an act of surrender, and often fear and panic are the result of our attempts to maintain control. But, the more we surrender our lives through worship, God’s power sweeps in and gives us strength. And, worship opens up our heart to hear God more clearly.
Listen with your heart
Freedom comes when we hear God with our hearts. I have heard numerous stories about people who take time to listen to God and when he “speaks”, freedom is almost instant. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Take time to listen to God. Learn how to hear God clearly.
Prayer: Father, reveal to my heart that freedom is possible. Teach me how to receive all that you have for me in Christ.