As most of you know, the cycle of anxiety, fear and worry can be exhausting. We try hard to break the cycle, but it seems like peace eludes us. Is there hope? Can we break the cycle of anxiety, fear and worry?
I believe you can! There are so many areas in my own life that have changed over the years–even the past few months–in this area of fear and anxiety.
Anxiety has a way of grabbing hold of your mind and not letting go. Most of you know what I’m talking about. You’re sitting at home reading a book or lying in bed about to go to sleep and WHAM! you’re hit with a tornado of anxious thoughts. All of sudden, your mind is spinning and your body starts to get jittery. The harder your fight those thoughts, the faster they come. You quickly spin into full blown panic.
There are two specific areas you need to address to break this cycle: the trigger and the root.
What is triggering the anxious thoughts?
Understanding the triggers of those anxious thoughts is important. You need to pray through what’s causing fear to arise in you. For some, it may be physical like too much caffeine or sugar. Or, it could be something mental like stress or wrong thinking patterns. Whatever the situation, it’s important for you to learn what is triggering the anxious thoughts.
There was a time I had to stop all caffeine, because it was pushing my body too hard, releasing adrenaline that was not good for me. Today, I’m back to one cup of tea in the mornings, and that’s all. No sodas, no coffee, and no energy drinks.
Another trigger for me is stress. I run my own business, and things are booming right now. I’ve never experienced such growth as I have the past year. It’s been wonderful but it has also been quite stressful. I’m learning more each day on how to delegate and how to say no (which is very hard for me). But, my emotional and mental health is far more important than just making money.
Take a moment during or after the anxiety attack to write down your thoughts. What were you thinking before the rush of anxiety? What emotions were you feeling and experiencing? Was there something that happened during the day that caused you stress, or got you thinking about about something? Write down your thoughts, your ideas, and your emotions. See if you can start to recognize a pattern.
What root is there in my soul that is causing these anxious thoughts?
Getting to the root cause of anxiety, fear and worry is absolutely essential if you want to find true freedom. Most people stop at the first step. Once they find out what’s triggering the anxiety, they simply avoid those triggers without ever dealing with the root cause of the anxiousness.
It’s like a splinter in your finger. You can clean it, numb it and cover it, but if you never remove the splinter–the very cause of the pain–it’ll never heal. It’ll just get more painful. In the same way, until you properly deal with the “splinter” in your mind and thoughts, you’ll never really find true freedom from anxious thoughts and worry.
How do you start?
There are lots of great resources available to help you learn how to break the cycle of anxiety, worry and fear. There are books, freedom ministry teachings and blogs. Find out if your church has a freedom ministry or counselors who can help you tear down the strongholds of fear and anxiety.
I’m reading a great book by Greg Boyd called “Escaping the Matrix: Setting Your Mind Free to Experience Real Life in Christ“. For those of you who are fans of the movie, The Matrix, Greg uses illustrations from the movie to talk about “patterns of thinking” or strongholds, as the Bible calls them. And, he walks you through how thoughts get lodged in your mind, and how we can break those patterns (or matrixes) of our mind. It’s an excellent book, and I highly recommend it.
Romans 12:2 explains, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We must renew our mind. We must break those unhealthy patterns of thinking that are often rooted in lies that we believe about ourselves and about God. We must fill our minds with truth because if we know the truth, the truth will set us free (John 8:32).
Prayer: Father, show me how to renew my mind and break down these strongholds, these unhealthy patterns of thinking.