Here she was again, back to the hospital with same complaint “ I can’t breathe, I feel like I am dying”. Night after night they nebulized her only to have her return again and again until one day a brilliant doctor figured it out.
Her diagnosis? Panic attacks. A panic disorder is a form of anxiety disorder, The National Institute of Mental Health states that 31.1% of adults in the United States experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Mental health is not a topic that people openly discuss owing to the social stigma associated with it, however on the blog this week I will discuss how to coping with anxiety and fear as well as share with you some of my favorite Bible Verses about anxiety and fear.
What is anxiety? Is anxiety a sin?
Let me start off by answering one of the top questions asked by Christian’s who suffer from anxiety. Is anxiety a sin? Let me let the bible answer. Open your bible and read with me 1 John 3:4. “…for sin is the transgression of the law. “This scripture clearly states that sin is the transgression of the law. In my own words it means when we sin, we break or violate a law which God gave.
What are the laws that God gave in the bible? Traditionally the law of God has been seen as the Ten Commandments because this is the only law that God wrote with his own finger and put on tablets of stone. So, is anxiety a sin? Does anxiety break one of Gods commandments? If it does then it’s a sin but if it does not it’s not a sin.
The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines fear as anxious concern and it defines anxiety as fear . So we can say that fear and anxiety are similar. As per Goleman in his book Emotional intelligence, our basic emotions are fear, anger, sadness and contentment. So we can safely conclude that fear and anxiety are just emotions which takes on many forms. For some people their anxiety is exhibited as nail biting or hair pulling while for others its hoarding. Anxiety Canada lists other anxiety manifestations such as panic disorders where an individual gets a sudden rush of intense fear and discomfort. Having a fear of flying or needles is also listed as an anxiety disorder so the way anxiety presents itself is very much varied.
What Does The Bible Say About Anxiety And Fear?
Overcoming the emotion of anxiety and fear is something to be worked on as in general, the bible encourages us not to be anxious or fearful in the same way it encourages us to love our enemies or to be kind and tenderhearted. Philippians 4:6,7 tells us not to anxious for anything. God wants us to be at peace that’s why in 1 Peter 5:7 he tells us to cast our anxiety on him. God made us with emotions and he knew fear was one of them. This emotion may have come after sin entered our world but God wants us to overcome it, that’s why in Psalm 34:4 he says he will deliver us from our fear.
I would love to turn your attention to Matthew chapter 14. This is a spooky chapter, there is a cold blooded murder, we see females scheming, people defying the laws of science and walking on water. There is even what we would term in modern day as a magic show. Head on over to Matthew chapter 14 and read the amazing adventure yourself.
What I like about this chapter is that we get a first hand glimpse of the disciples struggling with fear. You would think the disciples were pretty macho having seen all the miracles that Jesus had performed alongside them. Even that very day that they experienced fear they saw Jesus bless five loaves and two fishes which fed around five thousand men with left overs. Can you image that?
When you add women and children to that, can you just image the number of people that were fed? Totally surreal if you think about it. I would have loved to be there to see that miracle happen first hand. “Dude! You got skills yow how can I do that”, I would have exclaimed.
After feeding the multitude, Jesus ushers his disciples into a boat. He stays back to send the crowd away but also to have some alone time to pray. In the hours that passed, the disciples must have been talking among themselves about the days events. As the story goes, in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus approached the disciples walking on water.
At first they thought it was a ghost. Like seriously, you believe its a ghost and you are going to say let me come to you? But that is exactly what Peter did, he stepped out of the boat and started walking on water to meet Jesus. I would have been so lofty, thinking “look at me”. In the instant Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he started to sink. Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him saying, oh ye of little faith.
Peter may not have had mountain moving faith but he had some faith. It is comforting to know that the disciples too struggled with fear and their faith. Just because you are a christian doesn’t mean you won’t experience fear or struggle with your faith. I take comfort in knowing that we need not go about our struggles alone, just keep our eyes on Jesus and he is right there ready to take your hand.
Bible Verses For Fear and Anxiety
If you feel overwhelmed by fear and anxiety the bible does have words of encouragement and strength that you can commit to memory and utilize in your fight against this emotion. These scriptures to overcome fear and doubt have all been taken from the King James Version.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.“
2 Timothy 1:7 says that God did not give us a spirit of fear. This therefore tells us that fear is a seed the enemy has planted in our lives but we can be victorious over it.
“The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:4
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalms 56:3
God says in Exodus 14:14 that he will fight for us so we can say “when I am afraid I will trust in you” Psalm 56:3.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9
Bible Verses About Anxiety and Fear
Isaiah 41:10 reminds us not to fear for God is with us, in fact Joshua 1:9 reiterates that God will go with us wherever we go.
David in Psalm 23 let’s us know that even if we go through the valley of the shadow of death we need not fear because God still goes with us.
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” Psalms 118:6
“ Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5
We can therefore declare as David did in Psalm 118:6 that the Lord is on our side so we will not fear.
When trying to cope with anxiety you may wonder how you can trust God. However remember that God first loved you. That means he was searching for you even before you realized you needed him. So when he says in Hebrews 13:5 that he won’t leave you it’s a promise you can count on.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” Luke 12:2
Just focus your mind on God as he says in Isaiah 26:3, he “ will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed” on him. So keep God’s word close to your heart, meditate on him day and night and when you can’t handle your fear, cast it all on Jesus because he cares for you, 1 Peter 5:7. Know that if God provides for the ravens as he says in Luke 12:2, He surely will provide for you.
Dealing With Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Seek Professional Help
Stereotypes exist the minute you tell your friends or family that you will be visiting a psychologist or other mental health professional. Don’t let this deter you, your sanity is much more important. While at first I was hesitant to seek professional help for my personal struggles with panic attacks, a visit to the psychologist proved to be eye-opening. It can help you discover your triggers and unearth underlying causes as well as provide solutions to help steer you along the path to controlling your fear and anxiety.
If your fears and anxiety have gotten to the point where they are interfering with your life, confide in your family doctor and let them make a referral recommendation for you. You can also try online therapy. Talkspace is one I have come across recently. They can match you with one of their over 2000 licensed therapists to give you the professional counseling you desire. If you have used Talkspace I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below, in using Talkspace in managing panic attacks. There is also an app which is available from your app store called MindShift, it could really change how you start coping with anxiety.
Combined with counseling , self-talk is a very effective method in riding out the unpredictable waves of anxiety. Self-talk isn’t an overnight cure, but with time, you will realize you have a better handle when an attack does arise.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
If you are looking to say good bye to pills or just looking for a way out, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a good choice. As a first step, learn about your problem, so if you suffer with anxiety, research what anxiety is. Find support groups that can help you and confirm that you aren’t the only one going through this problem.
Support system & Self Care
Have a support system and practice regular self care to ground your mindset. This could be exercising to uplift your mood , for me my that’s Zumba or journaling. Find something that you love that brings you joy and try to do it regularly. It could be calming music or going for a walk in the park or even reading a book.
Face your Fear
Yes its uncomfortable but you must step outside your comfort zone. The only way to conquer your fear is to face your fear. Here is my challenge to you, make note of 10 things that scare you, rate them on a scale of 1-10. Challenge yourself to do the least scary item on your list and then work your way up to the most scary. Continually try to challenge yourself. This won’t mean you will 100 percent cure your anxiety but it allows you to live your life without it running it for you.
If you relapse don’t be too hard on yourself, instead reach in your back pocket for the tips you learned along your journey to help you get back on track. In managing panic attacks and anxiety, relapses can occur especially if you stop challenging yourself.
I left this as the last resort as it’s not an option I hold highly as medications are not without their side effects however they can help you get your life back to normal.
Bible Verses About Anxiety And Fear Toolkit
The Hope Toolbox is a toolkit to help you refresh your spirit and find encouragement.
What’s included in The Hope Toolbox?
You’ll receive 20 helpful, beautifully designed pages including:
- Your Hope List – On the bad days, getting up and going can be incredibly difficult if not impossible. One proven strategy is to create a list of small things that bring you joy. The key is to create the list on one of your better days so that you have it for reference when depression or sadness hit hard. Need help creating your personal Hope List? We will guide you through the process.
- Daily Journaling Pages – in 5 color choices. Keeping a journal (even if it’s not every day, that’s okay) and a gratitude list is scientifically proven to improve mood.
- Bible Memory Verses Note Cards – Use these printable note cards as a physical reminder of God’s grace and healing at work in your life. Soak your mind in the truth of God’s Word.
- My Healthy Living Plan weekly Planning Chart and so much more!
SEE THE HOPE TOOLKIT IN ACTION
You don’t have to struggle with fear and anxiety alone. Do you struggle with or know someone who struggles with panic attacks or anxiety? What are your favorite Bible verses about anxiety and fear?