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.”

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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.”

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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:

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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.

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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:

Father Knows Best, Right?

(This article originally written by Cheryl McKay in Sept 2009, revised June 2010, before her “wait to find true love” had come to an end. It was written after the release of the novel version of Never the Bride and some parts are excerpted from her book, Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting. It was originally published by In Touch Magazine, Feb. 2011.)

Learning to Let God Write Your Love Life Story

By Cheryl McKay

Lord, there must be a reason that You want me alone. You must be shaping me for something. I’ll be honest; I’m sick of it. But as I always say, You know best. I know it will be special when You finally bless me with marriage and a family. My future is in Your hands. I don’t know where it’s headed, but I’d like for You to use me for Your sake and glory.
Cheryl’s journal (June 1994)

When I wrote that journal entry, I had no idea that over 15 years later I’d still be waiting. I had no clue I’d still be taking up the challenge to say, “Lord, You know best.”

Now, if I had been the one writing my “love story,” I would have been married in my early 20s and had at least two children by now. But obviously, that wasn’t God’s plan for my life this far.

For those of you who, like me, still aren’t married but want to be one day, consider asking yourself a few questions. What would you do if God showed up in person and asked to take control of your “love story”? What if He asked you to surrender your pen to Him? You know the pen (mine is purple!)—the one you use to write your version of how you think your story should unfold. Would you need to know exactly what He had in mind before you handed it over to Him?

And if so, what would you do if His answer was “no,” “not now,” or “you’ve got 15-plus more years to wait, kiddo”? Would you still believe that He knows what’s best for your life?

The real question is, Can He be trusted with this part of your life?

Dear God, Please bless what I want—right now.

While I don’t know if every individual out there who desires to be married eventually will be, all of us can take encouragement from this: At the end of the day, God is worthy of our trust. I know now that I’d rather be single than in the wrong relationship because I simply got too tired of waiting on the Lord. Often, when we decide we’re sick of waiting for Him to show us what He wants, we jump into the best-looking (and often completely wrong) situation in front of us—and then ask Him to bless it.

It can become so easy to convince ourselves that God orchestrated a certain relationship for us when it couldn’t be further from what He really has in mind. It may feel great for a while. But eventually, we can pay serious, lifelong consequences. (I have more than one friend who married an unbeliever and now knows by experience why Scripture urges us not to do this.) Have you tried to “help God along” to speed up the process? He needs our help about as much as He needed Abraham and Sarah to hurry the whole “promised heir” story along. (We all know how well that worked out!) Though I have to say, I do understand why Sarah laughed after the Lord told them she was finally going to get pregnant and have a son within a year. Oh, sure, God. Now that I’m 90, You’re going to bless me with the thing I’ve wanted forever?

One thing we can glean from this story is that God really did deliver. They might have waited many years to see the fulfillment, but He gave them their promised son, Isaac. I don’t want to believe the lie that God can’t be trusted simply because, thus far, marriage hasn’t been part of my life.

Dear God, What are You trying to give me— right now?

So what’s our role in this story? And how can we discern what actions the Lord is directing us to take? If we believe that He’s active and involved in our lives and loves to communicate with us, we can’t not ask Him for direction about His will in this area. When we put our whole heart into building a close, honest, and communicative relationship with Him, we’ll see how He’s teaching us right now the way we’re to love—and recognize the love He’s offering us on a constant basis so that we can receive it. Right now we also have the opportunity to learn that God is enough for whatever voids exist with or without a spouse—no matter how big or small. When it comes to meeting all our needs, He surpasses anyone we could find, and that wouldn’t change even if we were married.

But for those practical, tangible things we need human hands and feet to help with, He can provide the right community to fill in those gaps, if we’re willing to be a part of one. Recently, I had to have foot surgery, which I knew would make me dependent on others—try not being able to drive for two months when you live alone! I was fearful about going through it as a single person; my family lives 3,000 miles away, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get enough help. I even said to a friend, “Remind me next time I have surgery to be married.” My mindset was that having someone obligated (by vow, at least) to take care of me would make the process less difficult than having to go through it “alone.” But a very different reality unfolded during my recovery.

The first week or so, I couldn’t cook for myself, get drinks or ice packs, do laundry, wash my hair—pretty much anything. I needed rides to the hospital, people to grocery shop for me. Plus, I really did need company and prayer. But I have to admit that God came through, providing through friends (married and single alike) in wonderful ways. It didn’t matter that I had no husband to support me through that time. When I was honest about my needs, I saw an outpouring of love from so many people who really did want to help.

There was one afternoon that the friend who’d planned to help me had to cancel. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to feed myself. Feeling helpless, I used crutches to hobble to the fridge to see if there was anything I could reach without falling over—but couldn’t stay up. Frustrated, I prayed, “Lord, help me!” Right at that moment, someone knocked at the door. It was a neighbor I’d told about my situation, and she was holding a warm, home-cooked meal—enough for lunch and dinner.

I realized that even in those situations that seem to particularly underscore our singleness, the Lord is there, offering us all the grace we need—if we’ll simply receive it. (My recuperation also reminded me to keep my eyes open to the needs of other single people in need of extra help. Remember: just saying you’ll pray for someone going through a trial isn’t enough!)

It’s true that waiting is never easy, especially since God’s ultimate plans are unknown and can never be second-guessed. And surrendering control is a daily choice, not a one-time thing. But waiting with Him is so, so much better than being outside of His will. It may not feel that way when the temptation to write our own story is so alluring. But I’ve learned that merely seeking His quick stamp of approval on what we want, when we want it, never pays off—even if it temporarily satisfies. But no matter what God chooses to do with my life in any area I yield to Him, I’ve come to experience this: regardless of how it initially feels, my perfect Father really does know best.

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Finally the Bride is available on Amazon.com. Never the Bride is available at most book retailers.

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