Article by: Robin L Seaton
I sat in the parking lot watching Christmas shoppers come and go like bees from a hive—hurrying to finish their shopping and get out of the weather.
I wanted a peaceful Christmas for my son, our first since my husband had passed.
Yet, I dreaded entering the masses of people.
Anxiety pulsated through my body as though I was being electrocuted without any capability of shutting it down.
Just when I thought I was about to have a full-blown anxiety attack, my ear suddenly tuned into the pastor on the radio, retelling the story of Jesus asleep in the boat.
“If you feel like you’re drowning, remember Jesus is with you. His presence keeps you safe; just ride out the waves.”If you feel like you’re drowning, remember Jesus is with you. His presence keeps you safe; just ride out the waves.
I sensed God speaking, and as I pondered the pastor’s words, feelings of anxiety diminished with newfound realization.
I began experiencing full-blown anxiety attacks six months earlier. As my husband faced his last months of life, I faced raising our teenage son with autism and mood disorder without my spouse. I was terrified!
Yet, as I heard these words, I finally had an idea of what to do when anxiety overwhelmed me:
Ride it knowing it’s only emotions. And emotions can’t harm me unless I let them. Jesus is always with me, and He will guide and protect me, just like He helped the disciples in the storm.
This profound concept changed everything. It gave me the power I needed to battle anxiety.
Building My Anti-Anxiety Toolbox
Since that incident in 2008, I’ve learned much about how my body and emotions interrelate.
I’ve learned my triggers, and more importantly, I’ve learned how to find peace.
With my anti-anxiety toolbox filled with helpful questions and biblical truth, I’m able to live almost anxiety-free.
I still have occasions where I struggle, but I haven’t had a full-blown attack in years.
I’m grateful for what God has taught me, for the healing He’s brought, and the tools He’s given me. I hope they help you too.
Because Christ offers us perfect peace, internal peace is my primary indicator as to how well I’m stewarding what God has given me.With my anti-anxiety toolbox filled with helpful questions and biblical truth, I’m able to live almost anxiety-free.
Anxiety strikes hardest and most frequent when I’m not caring for myself physically, emotionally, or spiritually. When it hits, I ask myself the following questions:
Anti-Anxiety Toolbox: How am I doing physically?
- What are my current sleep habits? My anxiety tends to worsen when I’m routinely going to bed too late or getting too little sleep.
- Am I taking time to breathe? We all need moments of respite to be creative, dream, and build relationships.
- Am I eating properly? It is critical that I consistently nourish my body with the supplements/medications that allow me to function optimally.
“After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.” – Ephesians 5:29-30 NIV
Although this passage is about marriage, it assumes that we’ll minister to our own bodies as well.
Anti-Anxiety Toolbox: How am I doing emotionally?
- Do life’s circumstances have me on an emotional roller coaster? If so, I need to take some extra time for respite and emotional rest.
- Am I carrying too many burdens on my own? If so, who can I ask to lift me up in prayer, provide wise counsel, and offer life-giving encouragement?
- Is there real danger? If so, what can I do to protect myself?
- Am I taking captive thoughts that feed anxiety by focusing on God’s truths?
“Then Jesus said, ’Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’” -Matthew 11:28-29 NLT
Not all anxiety is emotionally-driven. Mine isn’t. But there are times when my anxiety is exacerbated because I’ve chosen to believe the enemy’s lies about myself or God. I’ve found it’s critical to surround myself with those in Christ who can uphold and nurture me in the truths of who I am, and who God is.There are times when my anxiety is exacerbated because I’ve chosen to believe the enemy’s lies about myself or God.
Anti-Anxiety Toolbox: How am I doing spiritually?
- Am I spending daily time with my Lord, the source of all peace and rest? This will not only feed but strengthen and protect me when struggles arise. Always better to proactively prepare than wait until the storm hits.
- Am I living in Christ? Or, am I living in reliance on myself, hoping God will bless my efforts?
- Am I under spiritual attack? What do I need to do to prepare and equip myself for battle?
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” –Psalm 23 NIV (emphasis mine)
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:7-9 NIVWhen I rely solely on myself, failing to consider God made and wired me to depend on Him, my resources will eventually fail, leading to anxiety.
Prayer is Essential in our Battle with Anxiety
If I continue to struggle after addressing these questions, I make it a matter of prayer.
- I ask God to pinpoint what’s triggering the attack, and I keep on praying until He reveals it. I must be willing to receive whatever answer He gives and quiet myself until I’m attuned to hear His voice.
- I choose to receive from God and act on His direction—whether He points to needing repentance, making a course correction, asking for backup prayers from others, or resting in the waiting.
If I’m unable to quickly pinpoint a cause for the anxiety that looms, asking for wisdom from God makes all the difference.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” -James 1:5 NLT
God made us, and He knows us inside and out—far better than we know ourselves.
When I question what’s going on inside, all I need to do is ask. He faithfully answers and allows me to then act in wisdom rather than speculation.If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. -James 1:5 NLT
If you lack peace or battle anxiety daily, I hope and pray this anti-anxiety toolbox packed with questions, Bible verses, and spiritual insight will help you through the storm.
Is there an area of self-care you’ve neglected? What can you do today to remedy this? If you are uncertain, go to your heavenly Father and ask.
Here are some other things you can do to walk in victory over anxiety:
- Participate in Christian counseling when necessary.
- Take daily supplementation to strengthen your endocrine system.
- Get adequate rest and take short breaks when emotional stresses loom.
- Nurture and be nurtured by building a strong community of support in your life.
- Most of all, stay rooted in the God of peace, spending time regularly in his presence through his Word, prayer, and worship.
As multi-faceted creations made in the image of a multi-faceted God, we must care for every area of our lives. Our Maker designed us so – for His glory.
-Robin L Seaton
Robin is a published author, Bible study teacher, speaker, mentor, and blogger who loves to point those battered by life to the hope she’s found in Jesus. She relaxes by photographing nature, traveling, gardening, and spending time with friends. You may follow her blog at RLSeaton.com. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter,