By the time 1991 rolled around, I had struggled with anxiety and panic attacks most of my life. Yet, 1991 was a pivotal year for me. That’s the year I gave my heart to Christ completely. I was 26 years old.
When I became a Christian, I expected the fear and panic to go away. I expected those daily battles with anxiety and panic to stop. But, they didn’t. My logical mind really struggled with this. After all, didn’t Jesus defeat death on the cross? If so, then surely anxiety and panic were easy for him. Right? Yet, I prayed. I begged. I pleaded with God to free me for the fear. But, nothing happened. God was not moving on my behalf.
Or, so I thought.
Turns out, God already moved on my behalf. God already defeated fear and panic on the cross 2,000 years ago. You see, I was waiting on God, but the whole time, he was waiting on me.
Let me share a scripture with you. It starts out like this: “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” Ephesians 3:20a. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Here’s what God is able to do:
- Above all.
- We can ask or think.
God can do a lot in our lives; yet, there is one thing that can limit him. There is something that can still the hand of God. That “something” is described in the second half of that scripture: “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.”
The word “according” here means “to the limit of”. God can do amazing, wonderful, powerful things in us, but we can limit God with our thoughts, our unbelief and our choices.
When it comes to panic and anxiety, we can’t wait on God to answer our prayers. You see, he’s already answered them. Through Christ, we have the power in us to stand against fear. We have the authority to resist the enemy. We have everything we need for victory.
It took me a few years to grasp this truth after becoming a Christian, but once I did, fear lost its power in my life. Fear no longer told me how to live. Fear lost its grip in my life, because the power of Christ was already inside of me, and if Christ lives in your heart, then you too have the power of Christ in you.
Let me share a recent example of how this work. Years ago, when fear reigned in my heart, I was terrified of driving. I hated driving long distances, and I hated going to places I had never been. Panic would sweep over me as I drove. Often, I would give into the fear, and it would consume my body and mind. Total panic.
When I realized that I had the power of Christ in me, I decided to no longer obey those fearful thoughts. Sure, they still came, but I wouldn’t give in to them. Fear would say, “Don’t go there. Don’t drive. Don’t leave your house. Don’t go this way.” But today, when I hear those thoughts, “I make it a priority to do those things that irrational fear tells me not to.”
In the summer of 2006, my wife was finishing up her one-month stay in Mexico. She had flown down Guanajuato, Mexico to study Spanish. She was scheduled to fly home on the weekend, but my son and I decided to drive down into deep Mexico and surprise her. Now, fear was saying, “That’s stupid. You could get lost or hurt or worse.” And, others around me spoke similar words of fear. But, the more fear spoke, the more determined I was to go.
My son I and made the 17 hour drive into Guanajuato, Mexico and surprised my wife. Then, we drove 18 hours back. It was a wonderful trip! We had the best time. My wife was so surprised, and this is now one of our most cherished memories. It was a great time! The drive was amazing, peaceful and beautiful. There was no fear.
But, if I had listened to fear, we would have never had such a wonderful experience. My son and I documented our entire trip on video. So, if you would like to share in our journey, check out this link.
Prayer: Father, show me where I have limited you. Teach me to release your power through me so that you can do exceedingly, abundantly above all I can ask or think, in the name of Jesus.