You are meant to live with a sound mind, full of God’s power and love. You are to be so full of the Holy Spirit and the presence of God that everywhere you go, God leaks out and gets onto others. People are to be transformed by being around you because you are so radiant with the Holy Spirit.
The world doesn’t see a way to live without anxiety. The world says you have it, so accept it and learn to deal with it. But the Bible has a different story to tell. Philippians 4:6 says to be anxious for nothing, but pray about everything. So, what do you do when you are “feeling” anxious? You hold onto the hope of what the Bible says as a bridge from where you are to where God will get you – you have faith and then take the steps to move out of anxiety into confidence
So what does God say about confidence? “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Eph. 3:12). The veil was torn, y’all. We can come boldly into the presence of God with full assurance of our right standing in Him through the finished work of the cross. As Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. There is no distance between us and God”. Jesus made a way for there to be zero distance between us and God.
So why aren’t we confident? If we have these amazing promises and full access to God, why do we still struggle with anxiety? Our soul. Our soul gets wounded by things in this life like hurt, abuse, loss, disappointment, and pain. And all these wounds get in the way of us not walking with the confidence God intends for us.
Here are five ways that we can increase confidence and decrease anxiety:
- We need to talk. One of the things the enemy likes is to be kept secret. Shame likes to be kept small. That’s why, when we feel shame, we don’t get out what we are feeling shame about because it feels “icky” or uncomfortable. We don’t like feeling shame because shame says we are unworthy of love. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Find a trusted person to share some of your unfiltered and messy thoughts. Or journal it. Sometimes when we journal, God gives us revelation that moves us beyond what we originally wrote, beyond shame, and into His everlasting peace and love.
- Feel our feelings. A question often comes up when discussing walking in the Spirit: so if we walk in the Spirit, we aren’t going to feel shame in our lives? Well, we still may “feel” shame because we are human and God is continually transforming and renewing our mind. But we need to allow God to prune us and take away the dead branches (John 15). So that means when we notice those uncomfortable feelings, perhaps some shame or guilt that could be causing anxiety, we need to get it out. Don’t hide it. Just be curious. Allow yourself to sit in the feeling. Don’t push it away. Declaring Bible verses is powerful, but God wants us to be seen. When He sees us, the truth of His Word manifests more powerfully in our body. The Word becomes alive in us. If we don’t allow ourselves to feel the anxiety, the Bible verse will have a hard time getting into us, and God will have a hard time getting into the depth of our souls to heal our wounds. We end up putting walls up between us and God. We may think we are being good Christians and are doing the right thing but we’re actually putting distance between us and God. When we feel our feelings and allow God in and truly experience Him, we gain confidence in His revelation of who we truly are – sons and daughters of Christ.
- Allow God in. After we notice the emotions and the anxiety and allow God to come in, He might highlight a thought or a lie that is showing up in your mind and heart. Ask the Holy Spirit where you first learned to feel that way. When did it start? Where is the root? Once He reveals something that happened in your past that hurt you (this could be a person, a phrase, a situation), invite Jesus into that moment. Have Him reveal where He was, identify any lies, break them off and declare the truth over you. Allow Him to comfort you as you see the truth over your situation. God may also have you forgive the people who wounded you if you are ready. Then renounce any lies that were there and replace them with His truth.
- Change what needs to be changed. Take a step back and take a look at your life. Do you like your schedule? Do you like your job? Do you feel like you have a good balance of work and play? Do you have a good devotional life and spend a good amount of time with God every day? If there are things you can change, change them. If you can’t, ask God to give you the grace to accept it. Eventually you’ll learn to love it as He does. Maybe ask someone else to see if they identify something you could do differently. Sometimes a little tweak and tune up to the schedule is all that you need to do.
- Release control to God. One very key feature of anxiety is control. If someone is controlling, they are most likely struggling with anxiety. Is that you? Most people want full control and fight with the anxiety to stay in this position. But if we do that, we aren’t truly trusting God, and His work on the cross. I encourage you to see all your struggles going to the cross right now. Your work, your stressors, your family, everything. Wait until it is all gone. Then repent for holding onto the control and not trusting God. Ask God to fill you up with His truth and His presence.
Isaiah 40:31 says, “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.” This is for you! You are confident. You are a daughter. You are a son. You are a part of a confident and peaceful family. Know who you are and Whose you are. You are loved. You are enough. You are going to do more than you could ever think or imagine. You are capable. God’s grace is all over you to improve your relationships and bring amazing men and women of God into your life. You are a leader. Your mind is being renewed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. You are His!
Heidi Mortenson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of a mental health clinic in Minnesota. She is host of the Strong Tower Mental Health Podcast produced with Charisma Media and the author of the book The Brave Encourager. Heidi is ordained through Patricia King’s Women in Ministry Network, and is a second-year student of Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry online.