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What is Anxiety?

The dictionary has these definitions of anxiety:

A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.

"he felt a surge of anxiety"

A strong desire or concern to do something or for something to happen.

"the housekeeper's eager anxiety to please"

The NHS says this on anxiety: 

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life – for example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. 

Anxiety becomes a disorder if you have these symptoms, long term or repetitively. 

Imagine worrying about something all the time, or feeling that something bad will happen for periods of hours, days, weeks or months.

Imagine what it must be like to feel you have got to do something or have to complete something that is probably not possible for you or most likely completely unimportant to the rest of the world, imagine the isolation of feeling like that. 

That is what it is like to suffer with anxiety. 

Your anxiousness has worked your mind into a state of “emotional hijack”, a state where an individual's cognitions are overpowered by their emotions. It is usually referred to in the context of aggression or fearfulness.  

When in this state you are unable to hear any sound logical advice or help that is being given to you. We might better recognise this state as something like a panic attack. 

It is why in films you see people in states of shock or hysterics being slapped hard across the face. This is an attempt to snap the person out of the reality they are experiencing in that moment back into the reality that everyone else is experiencing; an attempt to bring the person into a place to start dealing with facts over feelings. 

Another much gentler way of achieving this is to have the person breathe quickly in and out into a paper bag, or count backwards from 100 in fractions of 7.5. 

This is done to force the mind to think on something else, not on the issue real or imagined. 

In my eleven years as a prison officer I have seen and used variations of both methods with varying levels of success.

Whether we shock the mind back into reality or help it back there gently, this is the process to freedom from anxiety. 

The steps are the same as they are to find freedom from anything:

Believe, repent, and follow.

Believe God is sufficient to deal with your fears, problems and situations. Repent from old habits, fearfulness and sins ways of coping; then make the conscious effort to turn away from them and turn to God.

Following this is the one that everyone falls down on; we need to apply what Jesus teaches, live out the wisdom that the Bible gives in your everyday lives. Nothing changes unless we change something. The practicalities are different, but the steps are always the same.

  • So what does the Bible tell us about anxiety? 
  • How does God deal with it? 
  • How does He want us to deal with it? 

Let’s start here:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 4:6-7

Being IN CHRIST is very important, in fact the most important thing we can do to overcome anything. It is the only thing that brings us salvation.

Maybe you don’t think it can work for you? Maybe you are anxious about it because nothing has worked before? Read this verse:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”

  • Believe 
  • Repent 
  • Obey 

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.
1 John 4 v 18 

​ But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed, 
“Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened”
1 Peter 3 v 14 
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, 
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1 v 7 

Say to those with fearful hearts, “
Be strong, do not fear; your God will come,
He will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
He will come to save you”
Isaiah 35 v 4
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40 v 31

As you can see the Bible has a lot to say about fear and anxiety, this is only a tiny portion; there are hundreds of verses in the Bible telling us to not fear! 


For me the way God deals with anxiety is shown best in the story of Elijah. This one story tells us everything we need to know about how God deals with anxiety and fear; it also tells us what we should do about it IN CHRIST. 

The crisis of Elijah – 1 Kings Chapter 19

Elijah was a human being, just like you and me. He was not superhuman yet through him God did great things, in spite of all his problems God chose him.
Our fears, worries and anxieties do not bar us from the works God has for us, unless we let them overtake us. If we do God has a plan to restore us, we see that in six key ways in this story: 
1 - Talking to God: 
Elijah never stopped the conversation, if you want to get through it do not shut God out 
2 – Listening to God:
Make time to Listen, lose the distractions. Be sure of what you’ve heard, use discernment. He might not be in the big stuff, no matter how impressive it seems.
3 – Rest: 
Take time to rest, get away from it all. Remove yourself from the situation for a while.
4 – Physical needs: 
Take care of yourself; you need to be strong for the journey.
5 – Help: 
Seek out help; talk to people and share your problems. 
6 – One to one support: 
Find someone of the same sex is best for sharing what you don’t want to disclose in a group.

Most often I come across people in recovery crippled by fear and stunted by pride.

  • Fear to face the pain that causes them to use an addiction for escape. 
  • Pride to admit they need help and cannot deal with the fear on their own. 

Both of these stop recovery and restoration in Christ and as I said when I began these series of studies; shame is the doorway to all these other emotions.

Shame holds the door open for anxiety/fear and pride.

The next topic we will look at is the same one action we can take that closes that door. It is more than an idea, more than an emotion and more than an action; at the same time it is all of them. 

It is at the core of Believe, Repent and Obey; Forgiveness


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