These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
This verse in the Bible is one that many people are familiar with. For those that have not yet stepped into a trial in their life, real suffering, this verse hasn’t yet settled into their heart. For those experiencing hardship, this verse can cause one to pause and question why.
Why, Lord, if you love me so much, would you allow me to suffer?
The truth is, this question is multifaceted. The reason I’m suffering is not why you suffer and what God reveals to me through my trials will be different too. There is hope, though.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4
No matter why we suffer, the Lord still wants us to be of good cheer because our hope is in Him. And what is this Hope?
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
We have a living hope in an eternal life. Our hope in Him is our assurance of salvation.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. – John 11:25
The thing about anxiety and a mind wrestling with anxious thoughts is that one can’t get away from over-thinking, especially on oneself. With a mind swirling in thoughts, It’s very difficult to be cheerful as one is literally being swept away by senseless thinking that leads to fear.
In this state of mind, it’s nearly impossible to recognize that God works all things for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). It becomes too difficult to see that He may be trying to teach us something about ourselves, mature us, refine us, or even that our anxiety is self-inflicted and by allowing us to walk in anxiety and overcome it with His strength, we may be able to minister to others walking in the same trial.
Unfortunately, without a sound mind, it’s difficult to recognize that God is working in our suffering and so instead, fear sets in.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7
It’s this fear, that those walking in anxiety need to address. As you can see from the scripture above, God did not give us a spirit of fear.
He did not give us a spirit of fear! No, he gave us a spirit of power, love, and of a sound mind!
With an anxiety disorder, fear dwells in the deepest of one’s soul. It anchors to one’s spirit and spreads its roots entwined with feelings of doom.
Can you relate?
Usually, what I’ve found through communicating with others experiencing the same symptoms of anxiety, is that the fear one is constantly dwelling on is dying while still young. As we age, people around us die and seeing that causes one to evaluate their symptoms of anxiety and compare them to what others with terminal illnesses may have.
As you can see, this suffering is no longer biblical. This suffering has turned into fear and there is only one type of fear that is to be encouraged – Fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord leads to life,
And he who has it will abide in satisfaction;
He will not be visited with evil. – Proverbs 19:23
Any other fear that reigns in our heart is not from the Lord. However, we’re flesh and God knows us so much better than ourselves so He has graciously sprinkled beautiful promises throughout scripture to help us overcome fear.
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ –Isaiah 41:10
For me to overcome anxiety and begin my recovery, I had to regain a sound mind. I had to relinquish my fear and completely surrender it to God. Most importantly, I had to believe that my God loved me so much, that he sent his son Jesus to die for me.
He loves me. He thinks about me. He yearns for me. He is jealous for me.
It’s so easy to brush aside that he knows each and every single one of us specifically by name when we can’t touch the untouchable or see the unseeable. From a young girl I understood and recognized that the Lord came to save everyone and I felt a piece of something larger than myself, however, I felt a number and not completely and specifically known by name.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:7
Like the time when Jesus spoke to Nathaniel (John 1:43-49) or when he spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4: 18), he knows me by name and he knows you too.
He died for Diana and he died for ______________ too.
I’ve Given You Hope, Believe it!
For me, true recovery started when I accepted that I was physically okay and leaned on Jesus to get me through my days. For me, that meant getting into His Word every single morning, starting in Genesis and working my way through the Bible. As the Lord was showing me through His narrative how much he loved those who belonged to Him, He spoke to me one day; in a cemetery.
You see, close to my old home, behind a large community garden, lies a cemetery with a bike path that runs through it. My kids and I rode our bikes all the time around our old neighborhood and usually made our way to the gardens and into the cemetery, sticking to the bike path.
That day, however, the boys wanted to stop and look at a section of military headstones. I really didn’t want to, but they jumped off their bikes and headed toward the stones. My boys started reading the names engraved on the headstones and quite enjoyed finding out what positions they held in the military. They especially found fun in figuring out how many years each person lived. We were filled with such joy to see that many of these people had lived well into their eighties. I remember my youngest boy saying that they must have honored their mother and father. A commandment and promise we had read about in Exodus.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12
We kept walking through the cemetery and made our way to a section of very old and large sculpted gothic style headstones. My oldest son stopped at one that had a large sculpture of a crucified Jesus on the tombstone. He stopped and stared at the image of Jesus with a crown of thorns plunged into his head, sadly hanging on a cross and looked at me oddly. I asked him if he had anything on his mind. He looked at the tombstone once more and then said,” Mama, they forgot the rest of the story.” “What do you mean?” I replied. “Well, Jesus didn’t stay on the cross, he went to heaven after he died. He’s no longer dead, He’s alive.”
I wasn’t expecting that. My oldest boy was seven at the time and even at that young age, the Holy Spirit was speaking into his life … and mine. I said, “you’re right, babe. You’re right.”
As we continued walking, I started to pray and in that instance, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “Diana, you’ve been looking down for much too long. I no longer want you to look down at these graves, where mere bones lie, I need you to look up, where I Am and where I have promised you a life everlasting.”
I looked up and saw a beautiful clear sky, sparkling blue, and felt hope.
I felt His hope.
I started to cry. I’m sure my boys think they have a crazy Mama. I looked them in the eyes and said, “You know what? We are so stinking special! God loves us so much that we don’t have to fear these graves because we know that Jesus has promised us a life in heaven, forever.”
We found our bikes and rode away. As we rode back home, I no longer feared death but instead found joy and excitement in thinking about my eternal home in heaven.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
After two long years, I had a sound mind. I could now begin my physical recovery of anxiety.
In What it Means to Suffer
I’m not sure what has led you to your anxiety. This world is so busy, full of stresses, that it’s no wonder so many of us are plagued with anxiety and depression. However, in looking back, I can now see that it is true. We can be cheerful, even in the midst of anxiety when we realize that the Lord is doing something so much more in our life through this trial.
It took an anxiety disorder in my life to bring me close to God. To bring me to the feet of Jesus. To strip my fear of death and to have found that Hope that dwells in us. For that, I will be forever grateful for this trial.
If you’re in the midst of anxiety, please know that this is just as much spiritual as it is a physical battle. I would encourage you to pray, read your Bible, and spend time at the feet of Jesus. Open up with your fears. Tell someone. Cry with someone. He loves you, He will get you through this! Pray for a sound mind and remember to meditate on good things.
Look up, He’s there!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:6-9
My next post in this series will be, Anxiety and Hormones. I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned about hormonal imbalances, perimenopause, adrenal fatigue, sleep and how it all plays a role in anxiety and depression.
Please remember I am not a medical doctor so I will just relay what has helped me.
I will get into supplements in my next post but for those that need some immediate relief, what has given me the greatest relief has been taking magnesium daily. 400mg. Either magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate. I started by taking Natural Calm (citrate) and I’m now taking Doctor’s Best (glycinate). I will get into more detail with magnesium and other supplements that have helped me in a later post in this series.
*Update, I now make my own homemade magnesium oil that bypasses my digestive system altogether. It’s a simple oil that’s made by boiling 1/2 cup of filtered water. Once it comes to boil, turn the heat off and add 1/2 cup of Ancient Minerals Magnesium Bath Flakes. I let that cool down, place in a glass spray bottle, and spray myself 20-30 pumps per day. 10-15 in the morning and 10-15 right before bed. I spray myself on the legs, arms, and stomach. A recipe post will come soon!
What is the Lord showing you through your suffering?