When Anxiety Assails

I went through a horrible period of panic/anxiety attacks when I was a young mom. And the worst part of it all was that I thought God was punishing me.

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When I get really afraid, I come to you in trust.
I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God.
What can mere mortals do? (
Ps. 56:3-4, MSG)

I’ve always been prone to anxiety. As far back as I can remember, I have been nervous about all kinds of things — quizzes, tests, performances of any kind, upcoming unfamiliar events, putting my face in water, amusement park rides, and other “stupid stuff.”

Then in motherhood — that my kids would be kidnapped, that they would be “dead in a ditch” somewhere, that I would die and some other woman (who didn’t love them near as much as I do) would raise them … You moms know we could go on and on.

Even as an adult teacher, whether teaching my kids in homeschool, other kids in PK, adults in GED or ESOL classes, and especially teaching the Bible in some way, shape, or form, I have struggled with nervousness, anxiety, and inadequacy.

And now in senior adulthood, there’s the waning of energies (previously counted on in younger years), current or impending debilitating illness, and eventual, sooner versus later now, death.

But more bothersome than all of that, I’ve found that anxiety creeps up on me all of a sudden … not even provoked by conscious thoughts of one kind or another. Just seemingly out of the blue! I remember my homeopathic doctor years ago telling me that the body has a “memory.” And seemingly unprovoked (consciously, that is) it can go into panic or anxiety on its own.

And lately, maybe because of fatigue, some new increasing age-related physical issues (dizziness, vertigo), a fall, family stresses, anxiety comes on me “all of a sudden,” even sometimes in the middle of the night. So I am getting re-schooled by my Abba Father God on what to do when this happens to me.

Long ago, I quit beating myself up for being nervous and anxious. I went through a horrible period of panic/anxiety attacks when I was a young mom. And the worst part of it all was that I thought God was punishing me for not “doing” the Christian life perfectly. On top of that, I judged myself severely for even having the panic attacks to begin with. After all, mature, spiritual Christians don’t have anxiety attacks! That must mean I’m not trusting God (or so I very wrongly thought!) But it was in the midst of it all that God gave me a Scripture that the Holy Spirit used to deliver me from those attacks and set my heart free:

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee
(Psalm 56:3, NAS)

Did you notice that first word? WHEN!

Not IF, not SHAME ON YOU.

WHEN!!!!

God knows that I will be afraid, nervous, anxious. This is a scary world with lots of dangers! But what He did in that time of panic was give me the key, a signal (so to speak).

My Child, when you feel that anxiety, fear, nervousness, use it as a signal to turn to ME. Focus on ME, not the anxiety!

And so I did … over and over, time after time, again and again. And each time, I was rescued and set free.

And now in my current, spontaneous, even middle of the night or early morning anxiousness, God has met me again through His indwelling Holy Spirit. The Scripture that sets me free now is one that the Lord taught me years ago but lately has taken on a new urgency and desperation. So even in my waking thoughts, because of the Holy Spirit reminding me that I have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:13), I almost automatically go to my Abba Father God,

…casting all my anxieties on HIM …

WHY?

… because HE cares for ME!!!

Little ole anxiety-prone me!

So then HE takes my anxieties and carries them and sets me free.

And He will do that for you, too, my friend. He will meet you right there IN your anxiety, panic, nervousness. HE will be your Peace and will speak words of truth into your mind and soul and body.

Don’t beat yourself up — run to Him, turn to Him, cast your stuff on HIM, because He cares for little ole anxiety-prone you, too!

Now here is the entire passage for my current verse. I’ll loan them out to you, too, if you want someplace to start.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen (1 Pet. 5:6-11, NLT).

 

God bless you! Amen.

 

 

This is an updated edition of a post originally published on abranchinthevine.com

Featured Image by Priscilla Du Preez 

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About the Author

Jan Loyd is a child of God, a disciple of Christ, a Jersey girl, a former nun, a teacher, and now a wife of 48 years, mother of two, grandmother of 5 boys and finally a baby girl...these are just some of the hats she wears or has worn. Her hat as teacher has seemed to be one she’s worn her entire adult life, ranging from teaching elementary school, homeschool, adult ESOL and GED language and writing. But along with all of these opportunities has been her favorite above all the rest: teaching women the Word of God in various ways, Precept Upon Precept and Bible Studies she’s developed by the grace and tutelage of God along the way. The heart of the message that she delights to share is that we are in union with the Living God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Currently you may find her on her devotional blog “A Branch in the Vine” where she shares several times a week and in her Bible Study/ devotional book The With-ness of our God: Relationship in Every Dimension.