Anxiety in anyone’s life can feel consuming and awful. Feelings can seem to cause symptoms that make you feel like you’re losing control, which is common amongst people with anxiety issues. I have suffered anxiety my whole life, including childhood, so I’m all too familiar with the ugly symptoms. For this reason it is my hope to provide some bible based Christian advice on anxiety. There is hope.
Symptoms of Anxiety:
Fear of panic
Feeling of doom
Fear of leaving home
Paranoia over symptoms
Fear of illness
Fear of death
Fear of hospitalization
Sitting around a lot
Panic attack symptoms can come on too, if the anxiety spikes to periodic high levels. Panic attacks feel horrible, and make one feel like they are in an emergency situation. Symptoms of panic attack can be:
Heart pounding or palpitations
Pain in areas of chest
Lack of appetite
Nausea or upset stomach
Breathing feels constricted
Feeling like you might faint
Shaking or trembling
Inability to calm yourself
Feeling of doom
Feeling like you can’t sit still
Doing things to try to make the anxiety stop, such as counting, cleaning, or getting your mind off it somehow.
Many people begin googling symptoms, which may convince them they’re dying within the first page of Google results. While it should never be taken lightly because some physical symptoms can mimic some more serious health problems, someone with a history of panic and anxiety usually knows that their anxiety is the culprit of their physical symptoms. When in doubt, it is always recommended to talk to a doctor, to be sure something isn’t causing your symptoms. However, if you’re used to anxiety and the feeling is all too familiar, the onset of another episode or phase on anxiety can be frustrating and unnerving.
Some of these symptoms keep us from doing daily activities, sleeping right, breathing right or eating right. This can lead to symptoms that make us panic even worse. The result is what seems like a never ending mess of negative state of mind and physical symptoms that can make you feel like you’re doomed. But.. There is hope.
In the worst of my anxiety phases, which was after a bad relationship which ended making me feel as if I had no options, I had the worst symptoms of my life. I began to sit around a lot, and couldn’t seem to work up the nerve to travel any more than 5 minutes from home. I had terrible physical symptoms daily, multiple times a day, to the point where it seemed my life was one huge panic attack until at least 11pm when I was situated quietly at home. Because I’m a night owl, my best times always seemed to be at night, when they world was quiet and I knew I could calm down. However, once I woke up the next day, the misery would repeat itself. I tried everything from researching new topics or hobbies, thinking about other things, reading the bible, writing my feelings down, saying a bunch of short prayers, talking to friends, complaining, and anything else that I could think of to fill my time. What’s worse, I worked from home so while I felt “safe” not having to leave home, I still had symptoms that intensified.
Finally, I ended up in the emergency room, thinking I was dying. I couldn’t take it anymore and had convinced myself I had one foot in the grave and one foot on a banana peel. I was exhausted, and felt like I had gotten gravely ill. Until of course the doctor told me: “Your heart is fine, your EKG is fine and all other tests are fine. You have anxiety”. At first I thought there must be some kind of mistake. Next, the feeling of humiliation sunk in as my parents sat there listening to the doctor advising me to go on medication. I had driven my parents crazy with constant complaining. My anxiety had seemed to only get worse over a couple years time. And there I was being told I had no choice but to go on medication. Medication? I feared medication because I feared the side effects! You don’t know what that did to me. It was as if meds were in no way an option and I had no choice but to suffer. That night, my parents, who came back to my place after coming home from the Emergency room, told me they were going to take my prescription for anxiety medication down to the pharmacy and have it filled if I refused to do it myself. At that point, I began to get angry at what my life had become. My mother said, “You don’t have a choice. You have to go on medication.” That’s when I realized, at that very moment, I did have one choice left. I said to my mother:
“I do have a choice. There’s one thing I haven’t tried yet. I’m going to give it to God.”
My father suddenly seemed to change his tune about going on medication, and he seemed to feel that if I wanted to give it to the Lord, that was what I should do. And this is my Christian advice for anxiety sufferers who feel they are at their wits end.
I kneeled down on the floor, bowing all the way down, complete with head covering. My face was almost touching the floor. I was in full submission to Christ. I cried and told Him I could not handle this anymore. I was suffering and needed His mercy. I told Him of everything I had gone through. I asked for the faith of ten thousand armies. I begged Him to hear my prayer and show me His power. I told Him:
Lord, I give you this problem and I thank you that you will take it away completely. Not part of it, but take all of it. I cannot do this without you. I am yours to do with what you wish. Take this anxiety from me, I beg of you. Please do not let me take it back out of your Hands. I know I do not deserve such a gift, but I know that I cannot do this on my own. Remove this from me completely Father, and give me peace.”
I cried and cried during that prayer. I truly felt like I was giving it all to God. I went to bed feeling exhaustion.
The next day, I woke up. My typical day suddenly seemed different. I remember moving around carefully, making my coffee, thinking, “This is weird… I’m not dreading anxiety today.” I didn’t feel any nervousness. Only calm. After coffee, it was time for my shower, which was always the guaranteed daily trigger to a mild panic attack. In the bathroom, I stood at the window, looked up at the sky and said,
Lord, I thank you so much that you’ve given me this feeling of calm. Thank you for taking this away from me. Thank you that I have no worry at all about my shower, and that this will be my first shower in ages without a panic attack. Your mercy knows no bounds, Father. I thank you for bringing me peace!”
I stepped into the shower and enjoyed my first panic free experience. I wasn’t dizzy, and felt no dread. The warm water felt wonderful. I could’ve stayed in there all day, when just the day before, the shower was my place of doom. I smiled, and continued to thank God for His mercy. The panic and the anxiety was over. The rest of the day rolled on, and not a second of anxiety. No panic, no feeling of dread. Nothing. This was the first day in probably 2 years that I had felt such a calm. What had become a daily struggle with anxiety, was now gone. And for the first time I felt true peace.
I am 100% sure that my prayer of submission is what cured my anxiety. I did not just pray lazily this time. I gave that prayer my all, and begged the Lord, knowing He was listening. This opened my eyes to the realization that I had been praying with half a heart for so long. It was about time I had learned the meaning of submission to Christ.
My anxiety-free days lasted for a few years before another slight bout of anxiety returned. It has not been nearly what it used to be. Sure, I have some anxiety and nervousness while standing in a line at a grocery store now and then. However, the anxiety seems to no longer be debilitating the way it was back then. Just in the last few days, I have experienced slight anxiousness. In submission to the Lord I go, remembering that if the Lord could remove it from me before, He will remove it from me again.
I never went on medication. I didn’t change my diet. I had tried cutting out caffeine, which also didn’t work. The only thing that worked for me was my full submission to Christ, giving Him the problem, and doing so in a broken spirit of helplessness. I do not believe that the Lord would’ve taken away this demon if I had only spoke a prayer as I did lazily for so long. A very special kind of prayer was necessary for this thorn to be removed from my flesh.
While I am not telling anyone not to see a doctor, and not to go on medication, I am advising that in addition to your addressing your anxiety and panic, you be in full submission to Christ. Give your problem to Him in full recognition of His power. You’re not alone. Millions deal with anxiety in their lives… some worse than others. Jesus is known as the Healer of men. I do believe in receiving medical attention when needed, however in my particular case, what the doctor in the emergency room prescribed was in given a bottle. And what the bible prescribes is given in Christ.
May the Lord receive you in grace, providing you the fruits of His Spirit, so that this problem is soon a memory. May you be blessed in prayer as the Holy Spirit intercedes and allows you to speak the deep things of your heart. May Christ act in your life in a way you have never known. God’s grace to you always.