Bravery for The Anxiety-Ridden {Five Ways to Be Brave}

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

As Beth Moore has said before, "I have anxiety about my anxiety!". Life isn't easy when you live with a constant foreboding. Just getting through a day can be a challenge. Just getting out of bed is a challenge on certain days. I am pretty sure I was born nervous. It is so natural for me to fear. As a young child, I remember the fear. It didn't change as I hit the teens years. It actually got worse. By my thirties I was dealing with some really hard relational angst that only intensified the fear. In my early forties I was having panic attacks in the very place where I should have felt safe and loved. But my biggest challenge hasn't been the anxiety, it has been learning to be brave. No small feat for a girl whose storehouse of courage is non-existent. 

So how do you fight the fear and battle to be brave? After forty plus years of struggling I now have a few weapons in my arsenal...

Realize Who is really in control. Anxiety is really a control issue. You want to dictate the outcome so that it is always a good one. You want to make sure you are safe. You desire no pain. No heartache. No conflict. The fact is that you are NOT in control. You need to trust the One who is. When I came to realize that God really had my best in mind the anxiety started to fade. Even the worst event can be used for our good. Which leads me to my next point...

Understand that the very thing you fear will be the thing that conquers your fear. I still don't understand this concept, but it has totally played out in my life. My biggest fear? People. Let me restate that: Rejection from people. And that is exactly what happened to me. I was massively rejected by about four or five people that I cared about. When I say "massively" I mean they tore me apart. My biggest fear became my reality, but then God used it to break the fear. Do I still fear people? Yes, at times. I don't think I will ever be totally rid of it this side of heaven, but I have become braver with people. After the rejection it is easier to tell myself that if I can survive what happened then I can survive future run-ins with others. These days I stand up for myself more and worry less about what people think.

Tell yourself that fear is not a reality. Maybe you have heard this acronym for FEAR? False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. Fear is really a made-up scenario in your head of a potential disaster. It has nothing to do with the facts at hand. Anxiety-ridden people are great "fortune-tellers"; however, they tend to be wrong most of the time. Worrywarts are people with great imaginations. Just because you can imagine it doesn't make it so.

Remind yourself that "This too shall pass." Part of my anxiety is hormone-related. So there are times when I just have to tell myself that there really is nothing to fear and these feelings will pass. I choke down the fear by telling myself to hold out a little longer until I get past it.

Camp out on God's Word. Ann Voskamp writes, "All fear is the notion that God's love ends." Running with that idea, I have made the conscious effort to search God's Word to find out how much He loves me. Whatever it takes I need to know His love because His perfect love casts out fear. {I John 4:18} 

Here are a few of my favorites:

The Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession... Deut. 26:18

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine." Isaiah 43:1

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 {NOTE: With this verse I always interpret it this way..."If God is for me, then what does it matter that others are against me?}

In a desert land He found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of His eye. Deut. 32:10

The Lord God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Hebrews 13:6

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Psalm 27:10

It is my prayer that if you struggle with anxiety that He will make you brave!


Beth Willis Miller said...

Debbie, I live your open, honest, transparent writing...Beth Moore and Ann Voskamp's have been very inspiring to me on my journey, as well. Resting in God's love for me today. Many blessings to you ❤️

Linda VanDeusen said...

Hi Debbie! Wow, 2 of your posts in the last few minutes that really speak to me, I have terrible anxiety. Most of it comes because of my job. I was searching for some Scriptures today to ease my anxiety. Thank you so much for tackling this topic.

Debbie P said...

Hi Beth and Linda- Thank you for stopping by and reading. It is my prayer that what I write helps others in some way.

Linda-I will be praying for you. Anxiety is such a hard thing to live with as I struggle every day with it.

Blessings to both of you!

Jen said...

I can totally relate to this! Although my challenge tends to be more physical (I'm severely anemic due to stage 4 kidney failure) I know what it's like to not have to energy or the willpower to get out of bed and face the day. My situation is about to change, as I get ready to start dialysis to treat my kidney failure. I've been really anxious about it. But somewhere along the way the notion got into my head that dialysis won't be so scary if I find out more about it and what's going to happen. So that's what I did. i joined some support groups on Facebook and I educayed myself. As you said, the thing I feared most helped me to conquer my fear.

Debbie P said...

Jen- Thanks for stopping by and reading! I will be praying for you as you go through dialysis...praying He will make you brave.