Although everyone has a unique journey, the themes that compound anxiety are similar among us all. When it comes to healing and eradication of anxiety, one core factor stands above all the rest/ But at the same time, there are layers to the healing process that are important to understand.
Anxiety and Safety
The greatest factor that perpetuates anxiety has to do with your sense of personal safety. Do you feel safe in relationships with God, yourself and others? Wherever you don't feel safe is a place where fear wants to steal, kill and destroy.
There are many factors in life that can influence your sense of safety. The good news is that God can heal those places and rebuild your safety in Him. But the unloving experiences, traumatic moments and dark seasons of loneliness can contribute to a lack of safety and welcome in a work of fear.
Where fear seeks to work, a greater revelation of safety needs to be built in someone's heart.
The Remedy that Drives Out Anxiety
When it comes to the healing of anxiety, we have to ask the question, "What does love mean in your heart and life?" Are you able to access the safety of God's love? For this is greatest antidote over anxiety. In fact, love actually has the power to cast out anxiety. It establishes that you are safe in love."There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. Whoever fears is not perfect in love" (1 John 4:18).
In the fight to overcome anxiety, we need to get more familiar with the experience of love in our hearts. Most people live with a broken heart, mainly because love has been compromised in their life. They've had experiences that have either robbed them of love or left them empty of love. Quite often, it's both.
Many are disconnected to their need for love because they know it in their head, but not their heart. It's not been an ongoing experience.
Wherever you are anxious is a place in your heart that has not been loved. Locate your fear, and I can show you where love is missing. Anxiety is all about torment. Love is all about safety.
The love from God is perfect. It carries the capacity to drive fear and anxiety right out of your life.
The Spiritual Battle of Anxiety
Anxiety is the looming presence of fear. But you need to know that fear is not just a physiological symptom. It can also be a spiritual attack.
Too many Christians are actually not prepared for the spiritual war that comes against them. One of the frontlines of attack is fear. It's a No. 1 weapon that is used against you.
This is why we need to be armed.
I am often asked to pray for people regarding anxiety, panic attacks or other mental health issues. People are often thinking, If someone can just pray this off of me, I would be so much better. Yet the reality is, they are not personally equipped for war.
But I get it. The person is seeking prayer, and I don't have time to teach them a seminar or take them through the training they need.
In about three minutes, I walk them through a prayer. To this day, I have not had one person tell me they did not experienced a noticeable difference. They often say, "Wow, I have more peace and clarity."
Developing References of Freedom
In that moment, I let them know: "The peace you are feeling right now is a reference for what is possible all the time. Soak this in as a reference point that you can come back to when the fear factor and anxiety rises.
"But you need to know you have a fight on your hands. You need to get equipped. It's not as simple as just praying this monster off of you. It's about renewing your thinking and living into a new lifestyle that goes against the grain of anxiety. That is going to take some time.
"You need to get equipped so that when fear rises up in the morning, you have a battle plan in place. You will have tools."
Breaking Agreement with Anxiety
One of the greatest tools you can activate is the power of repentance, which involves breaking agreement with anxiety. For years, it never crossed my mind to break agreement with anxiety, to repent of it. "Of course I want anxiety gone!" But I never realized I had agreements that allowed anxiety to continue.
So i learned the power of repentance, which means "turning from one way of thinking and into another." It really speaks of "to think differently afterwards."
I had to learn to repent of anxiety. And I actually had to do it repeatedly. Why? Not because God was not listening. I had to get the new belief into my system and really breaking off those agreements, because they got ensnared into so many different areas of my life. Anxiety became an instant reaction through so many circumstances.
Renewing and Retraining
Here is where the rubber meets the road. Once you break agreement with anxiety, you have to begin renewing those areas that were conditioned to live in anxiety's ways.
You must realize that as human beings, we are highly conditioned; meaning we come under the influence of certain thoughts and beliefs very quickly. They form patterns that we repeat over and over again. Renewing your mind to live without anxiety's influence takes some patience and time, but it can be done.
What Would You Do Without Anxiety?
During my deep struggle with anxiety, God spoke to my heart. I felt Him say, "If anxiety was completely taken off you, what would you think about?"
This was a sobering question. At the time, I did not have an answer. It made me realize that I spent most of my day entertaining what anxiety had to say.
So I had to learn to cultivate new thoughts, while at the same time, the thoughts of anxiety were still pummeling me.
I had to learn to develop a new focus, to retrain myself into dwelling on thoughts that were built on power, love and a sound mind. I had to develop stronger muscles in my perspective and the story I lived by.
So I took a strong stance. I said, "No more fear is allowed in my life. If it's fear-based, I'm chucking it. I want faith, hope and love-based thoughts."
I also know that our bodies need to come into alignment with peace, while detoxing the anxious responses out. When you have lived with chronic anxiety, it takes time and intentional strategies to help train your physiology into a new way.
It takes time for your body to be convinced that you're walking out of agreement with fear. The new way of God's peace needs to get settled into the cells of your being. That's why certain practices like stillness and personal affirmations can help tell the body that it is time to come into peace.
To renew my physiology, I had to reorder my day and structure my life in such a way that combats fear.
The Biggest Problem
The biggest hindrance with the anxiety battleground is that we don't see the growth that is available. We just want to feel relief. And we want the relief quickly. We don't see that beyond the anxiety is an identity upgrade that is available.
We don't realize that overcoming anxiety is a journey, a process of learning, healing, growing and maturing.
I thought I just needed to get free of anxiety. I didn't realize that I need personal reconstruction. There were many areas of my life that had not been developed. I needed to come to terms with my need for maturity. So I rolled up my sleeves to let God do the renovation work He needed to do.
The Journey for an Anxious Heart
The call for the anxious heart is to learn what it means to delve into the depth of the Father's love for you. He has the power to cast out fear.
He carries perfect love. Wherever you're anxious, is an area that God's love needs to come in and perfect.
But in order to experience that love, you will have to face your brokenness. You will have to get out of denial and realize, "OK. There were some things I am missing. I didn't get them. I wasn't equipped, and I need to embrace this learning journey."
So what started off as anxiety battles now become your overcoming journey. Then what you gain becomes how you help others.
This isn't just about finding relief. It's about gaining a grid for the peace of God and His love that cultivates a "bold you" who rises up.
If you will see your battle with anxiety as an invitation to overcome, buckle up and get ready for an adventure of freedom that you can deposit to your generation.
Are you ready? Get equipped for your journey today!
Mark DeJesus has served as an experienced communicator since the 1990s. As a teacher, author, coach and radio host, Mark is deeply passionate about awakening hearts and equipping people towards transformational living. His message involves getting to the core hindrances that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day-to-day peace. He is well-versed on struggles that originate within our thoughts. Through his own personal transformation, Mark is experienced in helping people overcome and live fruitful lives. He is the author of five books and hundreds of teachings. He hosts a weekly radio podcast show called "Transformed You" and blogs at markdejesus.com. His writings have been featured on sites like charismamag.com.
This article originally appeared at markdejesus.com.
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