I’m a woman who has been changed and saved by the wonderful grace of Jesus Christ. Reading and memorizing the truth of God’s Word (the Bible) has relieved me from my anxiety. Without God and without His word, I honestly don’t know if I’d have the life I have now. However, not everyone understands what it’s like to have anxiety, and good-natured people will try to “fix me” instead of help me. I’ve come to think of the following verses as “spiritual band-aids”:
This verse is the reflex answer. This verse is one of the first that I have memorized. It truly got me through some rough times when I was younger, but I’ve heard it so many times it makes me cringe now. The rest of that passage in Philippians reminds us to be joyful and thankful, since God is with us. If that doesn’t relieve my anxiety, I don’t know what else will! I don’t believe that people take this verse out of context so much as they use it in the wrong context. On my average panic attack, my stomach will become a rock, my throat will close, I’ll have trouble breathing, I’ll get dizzy, and I’ll start sweating. Although I may not be having a full-blown panic attack in front of you, I experience some level of anxiety on a pretty consistent basis. Quoting Philippians 4:6 to me and telling me not to be anxious is like telling someone who is having an asthma attack to get over it. When I tell you I have anxiety, meet me where I am. Trust me when I say that I know all the Scriptures about peace and not worrying. Ask me what I need, and pray with me as needed. (Thank you!)
1 John 4:18
When I’m afraid, I’ve heard people quote this wonderful verse: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I guess I’m not very loving, right? Wrong! In context, this verse says that God’s love is so great that He casts out our fear of judgment when we die! Our sins make us worthy of condemnation and death, but because of the sacrifice of Christ and the glorious love of God, we don’t have to fear that anymore. Understanding 1 John 4:18 in context, instead of as a quick-fix answer to anxiety, truly heals me.
“Don’t be afraid.” I love Matthew 6:25-33; this passage about God’s provision is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. However, when I am having a panic attack, I don’t need to be told, “Do not worry.” If I’m choking, you don’t smack me across the head and tell me to cut it out; instead, you make sure I’m breathing, you call for help, and you get out whatever is obstructing my breathing. The same should be true for when I have a panic attack. Telling me to stop panicking doesn’t help; the only thing that helps is treating it like a problem. Breathe with me, help me get my mind off of it, and listen to me.
Just like how someone with heart problems shouldn’t be reminded that he shouldn’t have had that cheeseburger while he is complaining of chest pains, someone with anxiety shouldn’t be reminded that he should have more faith or she should pray more. Those with anxiety are experts at their own anxiety, so they know what’s wrong with them. To really help anxiety victims in every situation, take the following steps:
- Pray, because the other points need wisdom and discernment to know what to do in each specific situation.
- If someone says, “I struggle with anxiety,” and you want to whip out a scripture about anxiety, ask the person what he/she needs from you. Does she need advice? Does he need to vent?
- If the person wants to talk about his/her anxiety, ask about triggers: “What gives you anxiety?” “How do you cope with anxiety?”
- People who have anxiety want to know that their friends are on their side. Assure your friend that you are there for him/her as needed, and that you will continue to pray. If you are a Christian, this is a great time to bring up (after gaining the person’s trust) that God is near to the brokenhearted, and that He cares about His people. (While I’m writing this, Rend Collective’s “You Will Never Run” is on Pandora. What a great reminder when I feel like my life is spinning out of control!)
-If you have anxiety, what is your deepest need?
-How do you cope with anxiety? How do you cope with panic attacks?
-How can I as a blogger, Christian, and friend help you to cope with your anxiety/panic attacks?
-What Bible verses help you to cope with anxiety?