Is How You Think Causing Fear?

Think GraphicDo you have anxiety disorder or struggle with fear? Have you ever paid attention to those words that stream through your mind before, during, or after a panic attack? I’m willing to bet a lot of those are lies. Are you willing to look up, to God, for His truth instead?

When we experience fear, why do we tell ourselves we’re weak, worthless, and abnormal? Can we possibly find some new adjectives? (There are dictionaries full of them!)

Do all of those defeatist words build up your self-image? Do they help you? Of course not! Most importantly, they are lies. If I don’t put up with listening to lies from other people, why on earth would I put up with them from myself? And why should you?

When I was in the heat of battling my anxiety disorder, as fear would overtake me, I’d listen to lies. It became such a habit that I believed every word.

How can we rise above anxiety and fear when we don’t believe we can?

Are you a victim of the lies your mind feeds you? Does your fear grow because of the thoughts you are dwelling on? Our minds need to be retrained so we won’t fall victim to the power of our thoughts. This is an important skill to master. It was key to my recovery.

ASSIGNMENT:

Make a list of all the lies you tell yourself when you are experiencing fear or panic. 

Refute the Lies with God’s Word.

Now take the time to look at the lies that stream through your mind, and search the Bible for the truth about the situation. It’s best to rewrite these lies while you are NOT in the middle of an anxiety attack. You can put them on note cards and have them on hand to use in the heat of a battle with fear instead.

I will show you two examples below; I have many more in my book Finally Fearless.

 LIE: Everything I tell myself, in my mind, is truth.

TRUTH: Many lies that stream through our minds are from the devil himself, who wants us to be defeated. He is the author of lies.

John 8:44b: “[The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

***

LIE: Anxiety lives in me, and I can’t get rid of it.

TRUTH: We may feel like anxiety lives in us because it takes over our whole body. But it doesn’t need to stay there. If we’ve asked Him to, we have a Savior who has taken up residence in our hearts.

Galatians 2:20a (kjv): “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (kjv): “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

***

If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

FF Front             Front Cover Workbook

Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

FTB FF Cover FINAL

Watch the Finally Fearless Video:

Advertisements

Fear or Faith?

Fear in Bible

Considering the volume of material in the Bible devoted to such commands as “fear not” and “trust God,” this must have been something people struggled with a lot. We are not a unique generation. Clearly, God knew this would be an ongoing issue for generations. Recognize that you are not alone. People in the Bible panicked or allowed fears or a lack of faith in God to drive their actions as well.

Think of Adam and Eve, who, as soon as they sinned for the first time, hid from God. That was the beginning of fear in the Bible (Genesis 3).

Think of Abraham and Sarah, who feared they would never have an heir. Their lack of trust in God drove them to take action into their own hands, which resulted in Ishmael’s conception (Genesis 16).

Think of Moses, who kept asking, “Who am I,” citing his many personal inadequacies to lead the Israelites. When God turned Moses’s rod into a snake, Moses ran in fear (Exodus 4:3). Moses feared public speaking (Exodus 4:10). Moses begged God to use someone else, letting his insecurities overpower him (Exodus 4:13). Doesn’t Moses sound like a man with an anxiety disorder?

Think of Gideon, who feared his limits and doubted his abilities. He questioned if God was going to help him. He was afraid God had abandoned him and the Israelites (Judges 6:13). God counseled Gideon with the words, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die” (Judges 6:23). Then Gideon built an altar and named it “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24). Gideon had the right reaction and became a man of faith. God’s counsel sunk into Gideon’s heart.

Think of David, who attempted to cover up his sin with Bathsheba by arranging the murder of her husband Uriah. David feared the consequences he’d have to face if his sin came to light. It drove him deeper into sinful behavior (2 Samuel 11).

Think of Elijah, who after working so closely with God to take down Baal and his prophets, ran, fearing for his life after Jezebel threatened him (1 Kings 18–19).

Think of Jeremiah, who cried out to God, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child” when God told him He’d appointed Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5–6). He was afraid of the work God had for him.

Think of Peter, when he stepped out of the boat; he was fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. Then, he saw the waves around him and panicked (Matthew 14:22–33). And let’s not forget when Peter feared for his life and denied Christ three times, running away from the courtyard (Matthew 26:69–75).

Some of these illustrations of people from the Bible were legitimate situations to feel fear or panic (unlike most anxiety disorder situations). However, they still illustrate that big reactions to fear have been around for a long time. Our loving God cared enough to leave us these stories about people we can relate to, along with hundreds of verses encouraging us to trust God, not to live in fear. Our fear must be replaced with faith.

And thankfully, many of those people represented here who experienced moments of fear also moved on to have some amazing moments of faith. Some are even listed in Hebrews in the look back at the “Faith Hall of Fame.”

***

The above was excerpted from my book Finally Fearless. If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

FF Front             Front Cover Workbook

Watch the Finally Fearless Video:

Breaking the Silence

Break Silence Graphic

Have you ever had a problem and you didn’t know why or even what it was called? That’s what having a panic disorder was like for me. I found that people were so private about this problem that, even though I had people in my life with the same challenges, I didn’t know it. The problem was so embarrassing, none of us were sharing with each other what we were going through.

When I was twenty-one, almost ten years after my first anxiety attack, I still had never been diagnosed, still hadn’t seen a counselor. So, how did I finally find out I was having panic attacks?

When I was in grad school in 1993 at Regent University, I came across old episodes of a spin-off of The 700 Club. It was called Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh. Sheila had Christian music artist, Michael English, on her show. He was discussing his struggles with a panic disorder. When I heard him describe his struggles—the sudden nature of a flood of symptoms coming out of nowhere—I was fascinated with him. His experience sounded so familiar. I looked up articles on him at the library to get more information. I had never heard someone talk about panic before. I thought, Wow! I wonder if this is what I have. The more I read about Michael and his struggles, the more I became convinced that I had some kind of an anxiety disorder.

While I am glad someone like Michael English decided to come forward with his story, it still didn’t encourage me to talk to anyone about it. I finally had a name to my problem, yet I was still silent with most everyone I knew. That drastically slowed down my healing from panic and anxiety.

My encouragement to you, if you have a problem, is start talking about it. Talk to trustsed friends, family members, or a counselor.  If I hadn’t broken my two decades of silence about my challenges, I never would have healed.

***

If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

FF Front             Front Cover Workbook

Watch the Finally Fearless Video:

Do You Battle Fear?

Battle Fear Graphic

I did. Very much so. And for twenty years. I have to admit sharing this particular story was probably one of the most vulnerable choices I’ve ever made. But my drive to help others who are trapped by fear, anxiety, and panic, and unable to live the life they desire drove me to share my story. I never would have gotten married to Chris in 2011, had I not gone through this healing journey to get over my fears.

Slide6          Slide6

I want to share the opening of Finally Fearless with you, excerpted from Chapter One:

***

I thought I was getting married.

I also thought I was finally putting my panic disorder and anxiety issues behind me. I can’t seem to climb out of this deep, dark pit. Yet, I feel God is prompting, calling to me:

“Write about it. Tell your story.”

I wrestle with Him, asking, “Why? Why should I share my story when I feel so unhealed myself?”

Maybe in telling it, I will find healing. There’s only one way to find out.

It’s late 2003 as I embark on this journey to pull together the pieces I already started, and to write anew. To make this story whole.

Only I don’t have an ending.

Until I get married, I will not be able to test whether or not I’m truly healed of my anxiety disorder. I promise; that will make sense soon enough.

But everything just fell apart.

I’ve never felt more alone in my life. This natural life. Physical, tangible life. But I’ve also never felt God’s presence this closely. His voice clearer.

Maybe this is the season. Maybe my healing is finally within grasp. Maybe in sharing my story so openly, others with similar problems and challenges can also find healing. Maybe that will make the past twenty plus years of pain worth it.

I don’t want anyone else to suffer the way I have.

***

Cheryl’s Journal, a short story (2003)

When she found herself at the crossroads, she didn’t know which road to take. To go left meant running from her feelings, her fears and pain. But the path was so dim, faint, colorless the entire way. There was no light at its end.

To go right meant jumping straight into a long stretch of darkness. Mile after mile. There would be fear and trembling with every step. But at the end of the road to the right lived colors, hues, the light.

She asked herself, “Which road should I take?”

She chose the left. It may have been dim, but at least it wasn’t terrifying. 

For years, she dragged her feet down that road. With each step, she saw nothing of the life she craved. She felt no fear, yet she also felt no joy. Her life was changeless. Predictable. As she looked ahead, the future held more of the same—nothing of the life she hoped to reach. The path led her down the dead end road.

She knew she had to turn back and go right, down that road of darkened, unmapped territory.

She traveled back, mile after mile, before she returned to that fork in the road. Then, she chose the right path. It was dark, daunting, lined with fears to face. But if she refused to walk through these shadows, she’d never find the light. That’s the hope she held so tightly.

***

A Small, Small World

Have panic attacks destroyed any of your dreams? Has fear and the experience of anxiety shrunk your world down to a few safe places? Have your fears caused you to modify where you can go, what you’re willing to do, whom you’re willing to be with? If so, there’s good news: you don’t have to stay that way. You can seek healing. There is a way to restore your world back to its normal size with the breadth that includes all the treasures life has to offer. If you’ve been stuck on the dim road where anxiety gives you limitations and few safe places, it’s time to choose a different path. Now is the time to choose the path that leads toward the light. For me, that light came through God, Jesus, and the healing balm of the Holy Spirit.

Through this book, I will share my story. I’ll share how I let anxiety rule my life, choosing the dim road that held no hope. I’ll share how I finally chose to face my fears and walk toward the light no matter how frightening the path was. I was able to change from the road on the left to that road on the right because God held my hand every step of the way, even when I didn’t feel it. I hungered badly enough for the kind of peace that only God could provide to walk through storms, refining fire, and every dark place to reach it.

I hope you’ll open your heart’s door and journey with me. Perhaps together we can change the way you face your anxieties. Wouldn’t you love to be on the path towards freedom from the debilitating effects of fear?

An estimated forty million Americans suffer from some form of an anxiety disorder. It’s the most common mental condition, yet only one-third receive treatment or help.

Keeping our disorder a secret is destroying our spirits, trapping us in a jail cell barred with panic, fear, and anxiety. It’s time to break the silence and reach out for the help that’s available. That can only begin when we first admit we have a problem: to ourselves, to other people, to our healing God.

I am not a psychologist or medical doctor. Most of the time I struggled with an anxiety disorder, I had no idea what was wrong with me and felt alone.

Have you ever felt like you are the only one in the world who has this challenge? Have you kept it a secret because you feel like no one will understand? I hid my problem because I didn’t know there were forty million others who had it, too! And for at least ten of the twenty years I had an anxiety disorder, I didn’t even know what it was called. That is why I decided to write this book. I want you, my readers, to know you are not alone anymore.

Throughout this book, I will share words I believe God has spoken directly to me during prayer or through dreams. God spoke to me in ways that were able to heal my heart and heal me of my anxiety disorder, freeing me from living with panic attacks and irrational fears. If you don’t know how to already, I encourage you to learn how you can hear God’s voice so you can welcome Him to heal you divinely. If you read any of the books I talk about, put Dialogue with God by Mark and Patti Virkler on the top of that stack. (Please note: Dialogue With God now has an updated version since I penned this book, called 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice. I also recommend The Holy Spirit: Amazing Power for Everyday People by Susan Rohrer).

Hearing what God has to say heals us because God is the Wonderful Counselor. When we learn how to hear and discern His voice, He can speak healing and encouragement to our hearts. He can offer comfort and advice. But if we are not listening, we will not hear. And for many of us, it’s simply because we don’t know how or we’ve never been taught.

I firmly believe I would have recovered a lot sooner if I had known how to hear God’s voice earlier. I know His counsel helps with emotional struggles because I’ve used this to help with other emotional problems, like depression. I never would have crawled out of that dark hole without God’s intervention and words spoken to me. But God wants to talk to all of us, not just me! Don’t think of this as some special gift I have. God loves all of His children and wants nothing more than to be in communication with us.

I don’t know if panic ever goes away. The only test is living and seeing if you ever have an attack again. Since none of us know the future, it’s hard to tell if panic is ever gone from our lives. I can testify that what used to take over my life is now in the background, a distant memory.

However, if panic or anxiety are at the forefront of your life, there are so many different things you can do to walk actively toward the healing God can give you. That walk will be explored throughout this book.

Let’s journey together on the path toward healing, toward a life that is fulfilling and free from overwhelming fear. Notice I didn’t say anxiety-free, for that would be tough for anyone who breathes.

***

If you or someone you know battles this problem, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

FF Front             Front Cover Workbook

Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

FTB FF Cover FINAL

Watch the Finally Fearless Video: