Trading Worry for Trust
I was in my fourth year of University when I started having panic attacks. One minute I would be at peace, and the next I would be running outside to catch some air. Worry, fear and anxiety seemed to overwhelm me. No matter how hard I tried, fear would wash over my mind at the uncertain future. One time I ended up driving to the emergency room at 11pm at night wondering if maybe I was having a heart attack.
Worry stayed by my side almost my whole life. Over the course of my life I lost much sleep because of worry, inflicting me with years of insomnia that only left me fatigued and unable to carry out my daily duties. Years later, I thought that I was finally done with worry but this spring I was unprepared for the spiritual battle that was waiting for me. The stress of starting a new job combined with an intense health condition that was worsening, took a toll on me. Not only was I unable to function physically because of my illness, but I became so overcome with anxiety over what the future held I could hardly function emotionally.
Although I had a consistent prayer life and had been seeing lives touched by the message we spoke at M4M, behind the scenes I wondered how much longer I could go on. What future could I possibly have with such a health condition? How much of this did He think I could take? Worry and fear skewed my perspective of God and hindered my walk with Him. I pulled away from a personal relationship with Him, I did not trust Him with all of my heart. His Word instructed me to trust him, “Trust in the Lord” (Pr 3:5-6 ) but how could I trust Him when he seemed to let me down?
I spent several months crying out to God for answers. Jesus, I prayed, show me what is standing in the way of my ability to completely trust in you and of living in the victory and peace you won for me on the Cross.
As I looked back over my life, I began to realize that I had been never truly been set free from worry and fear. It had been my companion, through different situations in life since my childhood.
It started taking shape in daycare when my grandmother left me alone with the the daycare supervisor. Tremendously attached to my grandmother, I had experienced a crisis too much for my 3 year old heart. I asked what if my grandmother doesn’t return, over and over. From that day forward I had been shaped into a fearful little girl. As I entered my adult years, I struggled with anxiety over my relationships, my health, and the future. The what ifs I learned that day in daycare followed me year after year. What if I fail in class? What if I don’t get a job? What if I don’t get married?
I didn’t know why I was enslaved to fear but I knew that I couldn’t continue living this way. I spent much alone time asking God for freedom from worry and fear. He answered this prayer in my heart gently and lovingly. He took me through a journey of overcoming fear:
- Entrusting to him every care- about my health, finances, relationships and future and walking forward in confidence.
- Resting in the Truth that He knows what is best for me. Even when challenges come my way, I can learn to rest that I will triumph over my foes when I put my hope in him.
- Taking worry and fear captive. When thoughts of worry and panic seem to wash over me again, I kick them out of my mind as soon as they enter by turning them over to Christ and begin reflecting on his promises.
Whenever you’re tempted to dwell and fill your heart with worry and fear, choose to fill your mind with Truth. A good way is to memorize some Psalms or begin praying for someone else. When we begin intercessory prayer, we take our eyes of ourselves and turn outward.
God has called us to be fearless women of God. By his sacrifice on the Cross we can be set free from worry, fear and anxiety. It may be a work in progress but with His strength we can overcome!