When it comes to struggling with panic attacks, anxiety and fear, we often believe that if we try harder, work smarter and be stronger, we can overcome the crippling fear. But, I don’t believe we can beat this in our own strength. For most people, the harder you try, the worse you become.
When you attempt to overcome this condition in your own strength, you often find yourself frustrated, confused and beat down, because you weren’t designed to fight this battle. God wants to help you overcome fear, anxiety and panic. He wants to be your Source of freedom, but you have to ask him. And, you have to surrender.
If you need God’s help, ask him. Engage him. You need to dedicate time to connect with him, pray and listen.
While this may sound very simple, it is very important. If you don’t ask God, he won’t help you. In fact, I believe he can’t help you until you ask him. Look at these examples in the New Testament.
When the disciples were in the boat during the storm, they were greatly afraid. Jesus was walking on the water, but the Bible says that he “would have passed them by” (Mark 6:48). Did you catch that? He would have kept on walking past them. It wasn’t until they cried out to him for help that he changed his direction and came to their aid.
Another example is the two men on the road to Emmaus. While they journeyed along the way and talked with Jesus about all that happened in Jerusalem, there came a point when Jesus “would have gone farther”, but they “constrained him to stay” (Luke 24:28, 29).
I believe there are spiritual laws in place that keep God from intervening in your life until you ask. You have to initiate the relationship. God will never force himself upon you. We have this incredible gift of choice, but until we choose invite God into our life, he can’t help us.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7-11).
Surrender to God
Have you ever noticed that things seem to be backwards in the Kingdom of God?
- To be strong, you must be weak (2 Corinthians 12:10).
- To keep your life, you must first lose it (Matthew 16:25).
- To win the battle, you need to stand still (2 Chronicles 20:17).
When it comes to fighting fear, you need to stop fighting. First, you cannot beat it on your own. Secondly, your fighting is most likely feeding the fear, making it worse. When you fight, you release adrenaline into your body, which causes it to scream, “Danger! You need to fight more!” When you fight, you put your body into this “fight or flight” mode, releasing more and more adrenaline, which creates more panic and fear. It’s a horrific cycle!
The key is to surrender, give up, stop fighting and trust God to fight for you. I have found this to be absolutely essential in my battle with panic and fear. Fear is a very physical response, and when you engage it at a physical level, you will never win. You have to surrender to God and rest in him. When you do, he will fight for you, and “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Prayer: Father, I give up. I’m tired of fighting this battle. I’m weary and exhausted. I need you to fight for me. I surrender my strength, my will and my efforts. I put all my trust you.