Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold
I remember my first panic attack. My husband’s international flight was leaving in four hours. I needed to be out of bed, dressed and taking my two children to two different soccer fields. Instead, I was laying in my bed in my pj’s sobbing. I felt like I was having a heart attack. I had pain in my chest was short of breath.
That’s the tricky thing about panic attacks – the symptoms often mimic life threating ones. While I laid bed my husband got rides for my children, packed his suitcase and made a hard decision to get on the plane. My job was to get dressed and get to my mom’s house. Could I do that?
As I walked into my mom’s house I felt my body relax and the sensations leave my body. The only way I can explain it is that her home is full of truth and life and I could feel God’s love surround me as I sat with a cup of tea in the comfort of her kitchen. I felt so humbled that day. I needed help – I couldn’t do it on my own.
In the next few years, I tried everything to free myself from anxiety and fear. Medication made me feel dulled inside. Wishing it away made me more anxious. Praying and memorizing Scripture brought relief until the next set of circumstances rocked my world.
I got to the end of myself – my ability to fix myself. My pray was “God, I can’t. You can. Help me.” In that surrender, He became my deliverer. While I still struggle with anxiety, it doesn’t control my days. I have a toolbox of tools to help me set my mind on truth.
Tools for Anxiety
Be honest. Admit to God what you are afraid of. I’m glad He already knows whatever I’m going through and nothing I say will shock Him. He is GOD – He has the power to help. Honesty puts a face on fear instead of it being an unknown force we are powerless to fight.
Practice acceptance. Don’t resist the anxiety. The more I tried not to think about it, the more I thought about it. Instead, it helped to realize I am not my anxiety. I often visualize my anxiety as the toothless abominable snowman from Rudolph. It isn’t going to hurt me. It’s just trying to help me, even though it looks like a monster running around screaming like a chicken with its head cut off!
Practice truth. God is good and works all for good, even if circumstances don’t change. Romans 8:5 says “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” I choose to believe God is good and is working all things for good.
It’s a daily process of setting my mind on truth and accepting what I can’t change. I find freedom when I transfer my fear to trust in God, realizing I am safe. It helps me to let go of the need to understand why and turn my focus to God’s power and help.
Thank you, Jesus, for being my deliverer. You have freed me from the chains of fear. I am no longer a slave to fear. When trials assault me I run to the one who is higher than I. You are my rock, my fortress, my strong tower. You deliver me, you save me, my Savior and my God.
*This is my story. I recognize anxiety can look differently for everyone. I am not a doctor. If you have concerns you should see you doctor to rule out any other medical condition.