Friday the 13th.
Mine was great. How was yours?
I’ve never been especially superstitious, but I do remember a time when numbers, bridges, black cats, and ladders made me think twice. Now they make me smile.
So, in honor of Friday the 13th and all the good gifts God gives on any given day, here are
13 of My Favorite Ways to Fight Anxiety
- Positive messages. Start pumping them in. Right now. Whatever. Whoever. A comedian you love, songs, speakers, TED talks, podcasts, redemptive movies and television shows. Tons of great preachers have free videos on YouTube.
- Pump OUT the positive messages. Fill up on joy to spread joy. Make yourself a veritable font of joy. LAUGH. Joy is strength. Learn from people who make you laugh, listen to speakers who make you laugh, create a culture of humor around you. Plan to make someone else laugh. You reap what you sow. So, instead of ruminating on negative statistics, politics, news, gossip, and complaints, sow some joy, and reap some strength.
- If fear does not budge, you may need a deep healing work in your life. Most Christians believe that God does deliverance, in other words, cleanses us of any spiritual influence that is causing fear and replaces it with peace. Get counseling from someone who understands emotional healing and deliverance.
- Hope. For something. Believe that things can get better. Believe that you can be free and victorious. Believe that your dreams can come true, in some form. Believe that you were made with a plan and a purpose and that God has not brought you this far to drop you.
- Do something. Don’t give up. Don’t back down. Just keep swimming. Forward movement is always better than wallowing in emotion. Remember, no matter how little you are able to do, doing something means you are running circles around the guy sitting on the couch.
- Raise up your voice. Talk back to anxiety. Recite scripture. Just say “no.” Just say “Jesus.” Say something, anything, to cheer yourself on and give yourself much needed strength. The most powerful people I know speak over themselves constantly. It’s a habit that has to be learned and practiced—put up post it notes with verses and sayings, and then SPEAK THEM! Don’t let random thoughts rule your life.
- Move in the opposite spirit. This means that when circumstances look bleak, you look for the rays of sunshine. Stop blaming everything on the devil and looking for demons in every drawer. It is not about being Pollyanna, it is about looking for the Easter egg, the silver lining, the hidden treasure of goodness, and focusing on that instead of anything else. If you can’t see it, ask God to show you. Ask Him to tell you what moving in the opposite spirit looks like right now.
- Watch the crowd you hang with. If everyone around you is constantly spewing negativity, fear, and doubt, it is going to be harder to find courage. You don’t have to drop everyone, but make your inner circle a circle of courage.
- Watch the influences you allow. So many of our emotions flow from things we did yesterday or last week, or things that happened to us years ago. We can’t control everything, but we can control some things. What are you reading, listening to, watching, thinking about? Watch your responses to movies, conversations, news reports, etc. How is your heart rate? Are your palms and pits cringing with sweat? Are your shoulders tense? Do you feel restless and wish you could get away? Are you reading/watching/listening out of obligation or peer pressure? What is your body telling you? Listen, and limit influences that rob you of strength.
- Love and draw near to God and draw identity from Him. The more time spent in His presence, the more like Him we will be. There is no anxiety, fear, stress, or frustration in God.
- And, as God reveals His identity to you, saturate in that. Pay attention to His love languages with you, like armor, doves, hearts, thunder, etc. What do “God winks” look like to you? And then watch for these things. Billboards, radio, people, little signs. Wear them, find clothing that reminds you of what He’s shown you. Jewelry, stickers, artwork, furniture. Let Him weave His message into every part of your life. Write down every instance and reminder in a journal, and pull that baby out and read it often, not just on the bad days. And spend time with people who understand identity. Celebrate these encounters and reminders with them. It’s amazing and encouraging to see how much He is communicating with us when we plug in.
- Forgive. Yourself and others. Confess something if you need to. Let old and new things go. Quickly. Don’t ruminate and take offense. God is for you. Forgive and move your focus to the plans God has for you.
- Know your why! You’ve heard me say it before: Your why will help you with your how. Why do you want to beat fear? Who is watching your example? Kids, family, friends? What are your dreams? What do you long to do? As the old question asks, “What would you do with your life if you had no fear?” Knowing why you’re fighting the good fight will help you push through the hard days.
What habits do you cultivate to keep anxiety at bay and your mind on things above? When anxiety creeps in, how do you kick it out?
Anxiety is doublemindedness. –Neil Anderson
Peace I leave with you; my peace I leave with you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not be troubled, and do not be afraid. Jn 14:17