For those struggling with anxiety and panic attacks, it often feels like we have to carry the weight, fight the good fight and be strong. While all that may sound good, even Biblical, I believe it’s one of the key reasons why we can’t get free. We believe we have to do all of the work.
Does any of this sound familiar?
- If I was just strong enough, I can beat this.
- If I try harder, I can overcome this fear.
- If I can find the right book (doctor, website, resource), then I can beat this.
- If I just had the willpower, I can be free.
The problem with these statements is that the burden for freedom is upon you. In fact, believing it’s up to you may be the very reason you can’t get free. Let me explain.
Who does the Covering?
In the Garden of Eden before sin happened, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. There was no fear, no sadness, no lack of purpose. Life was good. Everything they needed, God provided. He was right there, walking with them, talking with them and being their God. He was their Source for everything. Then, sin happened.
Once sin came into the world, Adam and Eve’s first response was to hide and cover themselves. So, “they made themselves coverings” (Genesis 3:7).
Instead of God being their sole provider, now they felt responsible for covering themselves. They carried the weight of something that was not their responsibility. Sin does that. Sin makes you feel like you are the one responsible for making things right and getting things done.
Where does the Power come from?
The power to get free from fear, anxiety, and panic attacks will not come from more willpower, more knowledge, nor more effort. The power to get free comes from God and God alone through Christ. As you surrender your efforts and strength to God, he will move through the power of this Holy Spirit to set you free.
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6b).
The power of God happens when we surrender to it. If we convince ourselves that we must be strong and do this ourselves, then God graciously steps aside and lets us try. He’s a gentleman. He will not force you to do something you don’t want. It has to be our choice.
How do you Surrender?
Surrender is not easy, because we are often programmed (from our culture and from our upbringing) that surrender is weak. We are taught that we must be strong, that we are in charge of our own destiny, and that we are completely responsible for our fate. While there may be some truth in those statements, the key to surrender is learning how to let go of control. To surrender, you have to give up control to God.
Here are three ways to surrender:
- Learn to focus on today. Jesus encourages us not to live in tomorrow, but live in today. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things” (Matthew 6:34). If you find yourself worrying about tomorrow, ask God to help you focus on today.
- Don’t rely on your own knowledge or understanding. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” You don’t have to figure everything out. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Rather, trust God.
- Don’t give into the fear. Fear will scream, yell and roar, but you don’t have to give in. Don’t let fear tell you what to do. I have found that facing my fears head on has been wonderful in my path to freedom. “You are a slave to whatever controls you” (2 Peter 2:19).
As you learn to surrender your life to God in Christ, the more peace you will experience.
Prayer: Father, I’ve been doing all the work in this pursuit of freedom, and I’m tired. I need you to take over. I surrender to you. I give you control. Teach me how to completely surrender my life to you in Christ.