Anxiety is something that a lot of people struggle with in everyday life. Some people will avoid going places, doing good things, and being around certain people because of anxiety. It really can be a difficult thing to wrestle with. What exactly is anxiety? Anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.” Do you struggle with anxiety? If so, how are you to fight it biblically? What are the symptoms of anxiety? We hope to answer some of these questions in this blog.
There are many symptoms that someone with anxiety can have whenever they are feeling anxious. If you struggle with anxiety, do these sound familiar?
Worry– Worry about what might or might not happen.
Restlessness– Feeling like you need to get moving or going. Staying in one place drives you crazy.
Fatigue– You feel more worn out than you should after being involved in something that causes you anxiety.
Irritability– Getting annoyed over something that you should not cause that much irritation.
Tense Muscles– Your muscles become tight whenever you’re in a stressful situation.
Trouble Sleeping– You cannot sleep because you dwell on the things that cause you anxiety.
Panic Attacks– an intense sensation of fear that is typically accompanied by rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chest tightness, & even nausea.
Irrational Fears– Being fearful of things that are highly unlikely to happen or fearful of something that the average person should be afraid of.
Many things can spark anxiety in the person that suffers from anxiety. The triggers are as follows:
Health Issues– Either having a health issue or stressing over potential health issues can trigger anxiety.
Food– When you’re hungry, you can have anxiety trigger in you. Also, worry about where you will get your next meal can trigger anxiety.
Negative Thinking– Thinking the worst possible scenario in any given situation can trigger anxiety.
Financial Concerns– Wondering where you will get money from to pay a bill or debt can trigger anxiety.
Parties or Social Events– Being around a lot of people, especially those that you don’t know can trigger anxiety in a lot of people.
Conflict– Relationship issues, arguments, & fights can trigger anxiety.
Stress– Being caught in traffic, having a lot to do, and being too busy can cause anxiety.
Public Events or Performances– Public speaking, public singing, public praying, and public reading are some examples of triggers of anxiety.
Fear– Sometimes, specific phobias of things like heights, bugs, or loneliness can trigger anxiety.
Personal Triggers– After something traumatic has happened to you, and you’re reminded of it through a smell, song, sound, or place it can trigger anxiety.
Should I Feel Anxious?
A lot of famous biblical characters struggled with anxiety in one way or another. David, who may have had the closest relationship with God in the entire Bible, struggled with anxiety. Anxiety is something that anyone can struggle with. Notice the anxiety triggers that David faced and how he fought it.
David would have struggled with anxiety when running from Saul, who was after him always. David would have had fear for his life, conflict with Saul, and stress from always running and hiding. Some of these emotions are seen in the psalms that he wrote.
“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 2 from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” – Psalm 61:1-2
In this particular psalm, David was probably off by himself somewhere and felt lonely. Loneliness can bring stress and anxiety because you don’t have anyone who can be with you whenever an enemy comes. That is why David then said, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I (vs. 2).” David struggled with anxiety; his heart was “faint.” We see that even one of the strongest saints that ever existed struggled with it. However, he fought it with his faith in the Lord. He reminded himself that God was a rock. God was a safe place. God was one who was able to help him. This is theology. Theology of who God is and what he is like helped bring courage to David despite being in a state of anxiety. At the end of Psalm 61, he says “So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day (vs. 8).” Theology and faith in God lifted him.
David is a member of the faith hall of fame in Hebrews 11:32; however, he struggled with anxiety. You are not less of a Christian because you struggle with anxiety from time to time, but you must learn to fight it with faith otherwise it will rule your life and cause you to never walk in faith. Anxiety out of control can lead you to have an unhealthy addiction to cover it. However, anxiety doesn’t have to rule you. It can be fought with theology as David did.
How else can you fight anxiety in your life? One way to fight it is by memorising and quoting yourself passages of scripture that address it. Consider 1 Peter 5:5-7, which says “…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” This verse has powerful lessons on how to overcome anxiety in your life. Let us look at some of the lessons.
Whenever you’re feeling anxious about something in your life, it is important to humble yourself before the Lord. Humble yourself before Him and tell Him, “God, I am anxious about what my situation right now, and I don’t know what to do, please help me.” Prayer is a way that we cast all of our anxieties onto the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). Prayer is practising humility. Anytime that you ask God for anything, it is showing humility. Without humbling ourselves before God, we will not get divine help with what is bringing us anxiety. After all 1 Peter 5:5 says that “God opposes the proud.” Whenever you’re feeling anxious talk to God in prayer, you may find that it will bring you relief. Consider Philippians 4:4-7, which says that anxiety is relieved by the peace that comes from God. The relief comes through prayer. Humble yourself by giving all your anxiety to God in prayer. Cast it all upon Him.
2. Giving it ALL
Notice in 1 Peter 5:7 that it says “casting ALL your anxieties on him…” This is significant because we can think that God is bothered by our prayers. Sometimes we feel that the thing I am anxious about is silly or foolish, and God should not be bothered by it. Other times we may think that I will give God only one thing that is REALLY stressing me, but the other things I can push through myself. All three of these scenarios are based on false feelings. If you analyse these feelings, it is based on pride. God wants us to cast ALL of our anxieties onto him. Doing so is humbling yourself. We need to humble ourselves completely, and that means we give him ALL of our anxieties.
3. Trust in God
After you have humbled yourself and given all of your anxieties to the Lord, then trust in faith that he can carry your burden. Consider in 1 Peter 5:6 where it says that we’re to “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the MIGHTY HAND of God so that at the proper time, he may exalt you.” This phrase “mighty hand” refers back to how God delivered the Israelites with a “mighty hand” from the slavery imposed on them by the strongest king in the world, Pharaoh. So now if God was able to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh, then what about your anxieties? There is nothing too big for God to deliver you from. He has unbelievable strength and ability. He can deliver you from all the things that bring you anxiety. Remember this next time you are struggling with anxiety.
In 1 Peter 5:7, we learn that God “cares for you.” This phrase comes after Peter encourages us to cast all of our burdens onto him. This shows the concern of God to take your anxiety. This is important to match this up with the “mighty hand” of God (1 Peter 5:6). Consider the fact that someone could have great power, but they may not have the care or concern to help you. However, God does have the concern to help you with what brings you anxiety. Give it all to the Lord and trust in faith that because he cares he will bring you relief. Holding onto what brings you anxiety is a sign that you don’t believe that God cares. Fatih in God is casting your anxieties onto him. Have faith that he cares.
1 Peter 5:6 says the God will exalt you in the “proper time.” The truth is that He WILL exalt or deliver you from all anxiety one day, whether now in this life or while in heaven. That should bring you comfort. Trust in his strength to bring you deliverance from what brings you anxiety. It may not be now, but it will happen one day. Trust in his sovereignty to deliver you at the proper time. God may leave what brings you anxiety just the same way that he left a thorn in the flesh for Paul, to humble you and make you rely on his grace more. If you, like Paul, are still having the thorn in the flesh, it just means that you can experience God’s grace in more powerful ways. However, this is contingent upon you behaving like Paul and accepting the fact that God is sovereign and has the best plan for you. Take courage in the fact that whatever brings you anxiety will be taken away at some point.
Anxiety is something that many people deal with, and if you don’t deal with it biblically, then it can lead you to sin. Anxiety demands to be dealt with, and someone can develop unhealthy and sinful habits to make it go away. Let’s fight it with faith because that will not lead to addiction; it will lead to a stronger relationship with the Lord. Fight anxiety with faith using 1 Peter 5:5-7.