Fear, Anxiety, and Panic (Part 12) - Overcoming Anxiety (Part B)


Fear, Anxiety, and Panic (Part 12) - Overcoming Anxiety (Part B) 2. Never forget that God has allowed fear and anxiety to afflict you for a purpose. A. God does everything with purpose (Isa 14:24, 27; Eph 1:9; Eph 3:11). i. We might not know what God’s purpose is in our suffering, but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a good reason for it. ii. If we are mindful that God is afflicting us for a purpose, it makes the suffering easier to bear. B. One purpose God may have in allowing us to suffer with anxiety is to draw us closer to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. i. Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer with severe anxiety (Mar 14:33-34; Luk 22:44). a. Amazed adj. – 1. Driven stupid; stunned or stupefied, as by a blow; out of one's wits. 2. Bewildered, confounded, confused, perplexed. Of things: Thrown into confusion. b. Agony n. – 1. a. Anguish of mind, sore trouble or distress, a paroxysm of grief. c. Anguish n. – 1. Excruciating or oppressive bodily pain or suffering, such as the sufferer writhes under. 2. Severe mental suffering, excruciating or oppressive grief or distress. d. When we suffer with anxiety we are partaking of Christ’s sufferings (1Pe 4:13). e. We have fellowship with Christ when we suffer like He did (Php 3:10). ii. Jesus has considered our trouble and known our souls in adversities (Psa 31:7). a. Pour out your concerns to Jesus in prayer (Psa 31:9-12). b. Trust Him to deliver you from your fears (Psa 31:13-15). c. Ask Him to shed His mercy upon you abundantly (Psa 31:16). d. Call upon Him for deliverance and trust that He will not let you be ashamed for doing so (Psa 31:17; Psa 31:1; Rom 10:11). e. Jesus will help you if you ask Him (Heb 4:15-16). iii. A sister in the faith told me that she suffered with dreadful anxiety for many years, and she was never closer to the Lord than during that time. a. I experienced the same thing. b. Suffering causes us to draw nigh to God, and God draws nigh to us when we are broken-hearted (Psa 34:17-18; Isa 57:15). iv. God will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will give you a way of escape so that you will be able to bear it (1Co 10:13). v. Our greatest desire should be that God will be glorified in our suffering. a. Even while suffering with anxiety, the Lord Jesus’ chief aim was that the Father’s name would be glorified (Joh 12:27-28). b. Let this be a lesson to us to always have the glory of God as our chief aim, even when suffering. C. Other purposes that God allows us to suffer with anxiety. i. The following are some reasons that I think God allowed me to experience anxiety attacks. a. To understand what it’s like so that I can help and comfort others (Lam 2:13 c/w 2Co 1:4). b. To be an example to others of how to suffer (1Ti 4:12; 1Pe 5:3; 2Ti 3:10-12). c. To humble me and let me know that I am not above suffering with anxiety (Deut 8:3). d. To help me learn to be more empathetic toward others (1Th 5:14; Rom 15:1; 1Pe 3:8). e. To make me rely on God’s help and not my own strength (2Co 12:7-10; 2Ch 33:12-13). f. To give evidence that I am an approved minister of God by way of enduring distresses faithfully (2Co 6:4). ii. Some of these may be reasons that God has allowed this dreadful suffering into the lives of others as well. 3. Remember that distress (anxiety) will not separate us from the love of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:35-39). A. God loves you whether you are suffering with anxiety or are of a peaceful mind. B. The love of God is shown to us by what Jesus did for us on the cross, not by our circumstances (1Jo 3:16; Ecc 9:1-2). 4. If you have taken on too much, reduce your workload. A. Get enough sleep. i. “A sleep-deprived brain is an anxious one―and a disturbed one. Neurologists and sleep researchers are uncovering shocking links between chronic lack of sleep and a host of health problems, including depression and anxiety. One study found that after a night of being subjected to no sleep, brain scans of participants showed decreased activation of the medial prefrontal cortex (that’s the decision-making part of the brain that normally helps keep our anxiety in check). Additionally, the study found that while the thinking part of the brain slowed down, the brain’s deeper emotional centers were overactive. Sleep researcher Dr. Matthew Walker explained, “Without sleep, it’s almost as if the brain is too heavy on the emotional accelerator pedal, without enough brake.” “Another study tracked sleep and saw anxiety levels change over four consecutive days. A lack of sleep or poor sleep quality was a reliable indicator that the participant would feel more anxious the next day. And on the flip side, those who got sufficient deep sleep had better moods and less anxiety. Dr. Walker sums it up best: “The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night of sleep.”” (John Delony, Redefining Anxiety, pp. 52-53) B. Anxiety keeps the mind running and often prevents sleep. i. I have experienced this on a few occasions, and it is miserable. ii. To mitigate this, don’t read, watch things, or talk to people who are going to stress you out late in the evening. iii. Spend time in the evening relaxing, reading the Bible, praying, or reading a good book before going to bed. iv. Once in bed, read a book until you fall asleep. C. Take time to rest physically. i. Remember that one of the causes of anxiety is being cumbered and troubled about many things (Luk 10:40-42). ii. If you have been working too much or doing too many things, reduce your working hours, your work load, and your activities. iii. Take a whole day off per week to rest. God Himself did this (Gen 2:2). D. Take time to let your mind rest. i. Anxiety is the result of a tired mind which cannot process fears correctly. ii. Watching TV, reading news, listening to Podcasts, and other such things that keep the mind active are not activities that let your mind rest. iii. Take some time after work to sit and think about nothing. iv. If you have a hard time doing this, then focus your mind on your breathing. E. Exercise F. Get outside G. Eat healthy food and avoid caffeine
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