Anxiety can rob you of peace and joy. After all, it’s not possible to continually think negative thoughts about yourself and your situation and expect to be happy. But when anxiety isn’t dealt with properly, it can grow into a full-fledged thief.
While there are some cases of anxiety where medication is needed, many times, you can get it under control with a few simple (although, I admit, not always easy) steps.
Years ago, I was the type that would get into a tizzy if an employee told me they needed to talk. My mouth would say, “Okay,” but my mind would say, I wonder what’s wrong? Maybe she’s going to resign. What will I do if she resigns? Why isn’t she happy? Then my mind would search for evidence to support my worst-case scenario. As a result and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy anything else in my life.
What I didn’t realize then was that I wasn’t asking the right questions, and I was making negative assumptions. I didn’t even realize I was making assumptions, it happened so automatically. It was only after I learned that these assumptions were coming from somewhere—they weren’t just part of my mental landscape that I had no control over—that I started to break free from anxiety.
Here’s a secret for you: To be able to break up with anxiety, you must first identify where it comes from.
Here are three possible sources:
Anxiety can come from worry
If you are the type who thinks that the more you worry, the more you care, you will likely suffer from anxiety. God tells us that we are to be anxious for NOTHING. Nothing! Instead 1 Peter 5:7 says we are to cast all of our worries onto him. I realize this sounds trivial, but God desires to take care of your every need.
So if you are struggling with worry, ask yourself, What am I worried about? And when you get the answer, turn it into a prayer. Once you’ve given it to God in prayer, resist the urge to take it back.
Anxiety can come from a perceived lack of control.
When you don’t feel in control of yourself or your situation, it can lead to anxiety. But God doesn’t command us to take control of our lives; He commands us to surrender to our life. Many who suffer from controlling natures often grew up feeling powerless. If this is you and you wish to break up with control once and for all, ask yourself:What do I feel I’m losing control over?
When you get the answer, give it to God in prayer and ask for Him to handle it. He can cause things to work out for your good and His glory better than you ever could.
3. Anxiety can come from the fear of the unknown.
Most people who fear the unknown don’t like change. But change is not only good, it’s necessary. Don’t agree? Then why aren’t you riding around in a horse and buggy? Because things have changed… for the better. Things weren’t meant to last forever.
This goes back to lack of control. How can God bring anything wonderful in your life if you always have to be in control? When you let go of the death grip you have on change, you can open yourself up to a whole new world. God is always looking to do a new thing (Isaiah 43:19).
If you suffer from anxiety, no matter where it comes from, here is a prayer you can say:
“Father, thank you that you love me so much. I’m sorry that I’m struggling with trusting you. I want to believe that you have nothing but good for me, so please help my unbelief.
I give ____ over to you and ask that you have your way. I may not understand what you do or why you do it, but I chose to trust you. Please take over.”
He is faithful to answer your prayer.
If you’re not sure where your anxiety is coming from, take this assessment that accurately determines the level of toxicity in your thoughts and how much they might be holding you back from living a joyful life.