Full disclosure, I’m writing this in the midst of an anxiety attack.
Not a statement I would typically lead with, but I’m hoping that my transparency will help other men out there that face this same type of battle. This attack came as soon as I received news that my wife’s grandmother had passed. Anxiety hits me in a very physical way and I experience the fight or flight response full throttle. My heartbeat becomes elevated and an overwhelming, all-encompassing sense of fear sets in. Oftentimes when this happens, I have to get up out of bed and start moving. When my anxiety is especially strong (like it is tonight), I have to get dressed and actually get outside for a walk. The most frustrating thing is that I know it’s an anxiety attack and that there’s no real sense of danger, but there is a very real feeling that I will lose the battle. I hope this post will provide guidance and encouragement to others who also struggle with similar experiences.
“My God is more powerful than Satan”
This is a mantra that I rely on heavily during difficult times. I worship the Creator of the heavens and earth. He measures time much differently than we do on this side of Heaven. To us, the attacks may seem like an eternity, but to God, they are just a blip in time. I often ponder the juxtaposition of our concept of time versus God’s. However, I relish in the fact that I do not need to waste time trying to comprehend this concept, as it is outside of my human ability to understand. The incredible truth is that I’m on the same team as the Creator, and His strength will see me through.
I find strength knowing how Jesus defended attacks.
My next thoughts often shift to when Jesus was being attacked in the wilderness. He didn’t run. He went straight to scripture and used the Word to fight His attacks. This brings me peace as I can see first-hand how the Lion of Judah was vulnerable to attacks, despite his strength. The fact that even Jesus faced these attacks proves that when Satan wants to strike, he can and will. He often strikes when we are at our weakest moments as well as the times we’re closest to God. Think about it – why would Satan need to attack someone who is not living their life in accordance to God’s will? In those cases, he leaves them alone, because they are right where he wants them, which is on the path to hell and in jeopardy of being separated from Jesus forever. My salvation is far more critical to me than forging my own path, so I choose to stand with my Savior and use His power to fight against the forces of this world.
I find comfort from my wife, who is also a source of strength and a mighty prayer partner. She’s a wonderful example of how the more scripture we have stored in our hearts, the more equipped we are to fight. For me, the only way through these battles is to lean on the Word of God and to be in continual prayer. Are you familiar with the anecdote, “where worship is, worry cannot exist”? It’s a phrase that’s beginning to resonate with me on a deeper level. Worship may look like reciting the Lord’s Prayer, it may be speaking out individual scripture that you’ve memorized, or connecting with God through worship music. All forms of worship are powerful tools against these attacks. I consider it an amazing blessing to be married to a woman that leans on the Word of God. She is the one person I can rely on to pray for me in any circumstance. I pray that you and your spouse cultivate a strong prayer life together and fight the battles alongside each other.
In our weakness, He is strong
It’s taken a while for me to recognize the fact that my weaknesses don’t make me a weak man. For those that battle anxiety, I want you to hear this: you are not alone. My anxiety isn’t always predictable, in fact, it can be years between attacks, which is even more reason to be prepared. When attacks come, tell yourself, “this too shall pass”. I might go as far to say to perceive attacks as a backhanded compliment, because I fully believe that we’re more prone to spiritual attacks when we’re living in God’s will and advancing the kingdom.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and rely on His power
My encouragement to you is to stay the course, lean on the God of Israel, memorize and use the scriptures as our Messiah did, and always take your concerns to Him in prayer. Give God the honor and glory He deserves. Take comfort in how He has fearfully and wonderfully made you. He knows every hair on your head and your deepest thoughts. He knows you in the most intimate way. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear, because I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.”
You’ve got this, and we are here to support you. Comment below and let us know how anxiety effects you and what steps you take to fight off negative thoughts and fears during those dark moments. Stay strong, be encouraged and unleash the Lion within.