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Overcoming my Struggle with Anxiety

on August 27, 2012 by Jami Balmet 25 comments

I struggle with anxiety. I have for as long as I can remember.

Learning how to overcome your struggle with anxiety

I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I used to wake up as a teenager with panic attacks. I dwell on things and let them consume my mind.

About 18 months ago I was having a pleasant day at home with my husband and brother in law. When I suddenly was having heart palpitations. I didn’t know what they were and it scared me!

I thought something was wrong with my heart. I had anxiety over it and rushed to the doctor first thing Monday morning.

The doctor asked if I was under a considerable amount of stress? Me? stress? No not really!

I mean okay, I was taking 21 units at the time, preparing for college graduation in a few months, perhaps a bit anxious about money, working 30 hours a week with a ton of homework-but I wasn’t stressed. This was just normal for us! I brushed it aside that stress was causing it. It had to be a physical cause!

Source

I graduated college, got an excellent full time job the week I graduated (praise the Lord), and suddenly had a considerable amount of free time on my hands. But from February until the middle of summer I constantly had chest pains.

I thought I was Going to Have a Heart Attack

I had tightness in my chest. Shooting pains in my chest. No more palpitations thank the Lord, but I was always waiting for them to begin again.

And this definitely wasn’t stress related right? I mean, my life was so easy compared to a few months ago. This had to be physical – just had to be.

I feared for what this meant. I spent considerable time in high stress anxiety over the pains. I couldn’t stop thinking about what this meant. The pains would start and my anxiety would shoot through the roof! I had an EKG done. Nothing, my heart looked just fine. I started going to physical therapy because they thought my pain might have to do with my posture.

Finally I switched doctors and ended up at a cardiologist. I was hooked to a heart monitor for 24 hours, I did a running stress test, I had an echocardiogram…and nothing. It all came back that my heart was normal.

This landed me back at the doctor talking about stress.  The doctor suggested prescribing me pills to help me stay calm and avoid stress but said that this was basically a life sentence of the medicine if I started down that road.

I did not want to go this route. I firmly believed that if this really was stress induced pain, then medicine was not the way to heal my pain, God’s word and his faithfulness was.

God Helped Me to Heal

Over the course of this journey, I had been trying to rely more on God. Throughout all this I saw my own blatant sinfulness. I saw how little I was trusting in the Lord.

I tried to come to grips with the fact that maybe my heart did have a problem, it was all God’s plan. But I struggled with it and didn’t truly give my anxiety over to the Lord.

Throughout my many tests at the end, I started memorizing God’s word. My husband was always a constant reminder to me that I need to trust in the Lord. But when I was at work and the chest pains started, I was convinced that a heart attack was right around the corner and left no room for God’s work in my life.

Until I started memorizing God’s word and what HE had to say about stress and anxiety. I made scripture cards on anxiety, and started memorizing passages in the car at stoplights, during breaks at work and whenever stress started creeping into my heart.

During this time, I learned that in fact, my heart was fine, and the physical root of my pain was in fact all physiological. I was able to finally see God’s plan. I wish that I could say I had more faith while waiting the test results but the true faith didn’t come until after.

But I see that through that, God had finally given me the tools to combat fear and anxiety. I can finally place my faith and trust in Him. I did study on God’s providence and His faithfulness but mostly storing His precious words in my heart concerning anxiety helped me to deal with it.

Luke 12:22-31 is the first passage I memorized and to this day I repeat it to myself to help dissolve my sinful anxiety.

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.   Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Consider how small an hour is in compared to our entire lifetime. It’s tiny and yet God promises that by nothing we do can we add even a single hour to our life. Having anxiety over the big and the small things will not add an hour to our life so we better serve His Kingdom  by placing our trust in Him.

Learning HIS Lessons

I see now why God had me walk through that valley. He was teaching me to place my trust in Him. Now when I face anxiety I can better serve and worship Him. I can give the anxiety over to Him and place my trust in Him.

Now, anxiety does still set in. I’m not perfect and it’s still an area that I struggle. I am 19 weeks pregnant with twins and I am fearful for the rest of this pregnancy.  Will I have to be on bedrest? Will they come too early and have to be in the NICU? Will I have to have a C-section?

Fears creep in and I have to go back to God’s word and His faithfulness! Some excellent verses to memorize are:

  • Luke 12:22-26
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • James 1:2-5
  • 1 Peter 1:6-7
  • Philippians 4:4-7
  • Matthew 6:28-33

What You Can Start Doing TODAY

If you struggle with anxiety then I would challenge you to memorize God’s word! A wonderful way to combat sinful thoughts is to instead fill your mind with God’s true and faithful word!

Will you join me today and start memorizing God’s word? If you struggle with anxiety then look up the verses above and get to memorizing! Do you struggle with anger? Lust? God’s has given us the tools to combat those things we struggle with the most: His Word. Open it today and start memorizing His healing words!

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Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers
  1. I was like this for a long time too. I would have chest pains whenever I got stressed. I have begun to see someone every three months to to talk about what is causing anxiety and that has actually helped. I always talk to my husband but, talking to someone that understands what anxiety is all about helps. I have not had any chest pains for months now.

    • Glad to see that I am not the only one!! Talking it out really helps me too. I find that I really bottle it in a lot. I haven’t had chest pains since last August 🙂 Praise the Lord!!

  2. Thanks so much for the encouragement this morning Jami Leigh. I am actually taking some extended time to spend alone with God today because of a culmination of anxiety from the last week. I have always struggled with anxiety too, as long as I can remember. The parallel passage to Luke 12 in Matthew 6 has always been an encouragement to me. I have grown a lot in trusting the Lord, but still struggle with worry and anxiety a lot lately…I have even been noticing some palpitations the last year which has been scary for me. I am so glad that you have shared this this morning…I think I will spend time memorizing some of these verses today and really praying over them.
    Praying for you, and grateful for your encouragement!

  3. This is a little bit of a tangent, but I want to recommend this book. http://www.amazon.com/Youre-Expecting-Twins-Triplets-Quads/dp/0061803073 I had twins last time and I was shocked that every book I picked up was so doom and gloom. This book definitely discusses the risks of multiple pregnancy, but she has done a whole career’s worth of research and work on how diet effects outcome. It was really helpful to have something useful I could be doing to reduce risks. I didn’t eat quite as much as she recommended (Oh the heartburn), but I did change my eating because of her and worked hard on protein. I had two six and a half pound, full term, healthy babies. You might find that book helpful in bringing you some peace, as I did.

  4. Anxiety is one of those tough temptations to beat. Scripture memorizing has been one of my main tools to fight it. I normally write my own scriptures out on index cards but the ones you’ve made are so cute and would add a nice touch to my memorizing plan! I’m heading over now to place my order!

  5. This same thing happened to me when I was pregnant. I started feeling a tightness of chest and freaking out that something was wrong with my body. Went to the Dr, nothing. You’re right about memorizing Scripture being helpful. I tried that and it was very soothing, even if at the beginning I couldn’t really remember the verses because I was thinking about what was happening to my body. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I struggle with anxiety (and have shared some of my stories on my blog). I was diagnosed sixteen years ago and it’s been a journey of on again and off again anxiety/depression. The positive side is I have been able to function pretty normally as a wife and stay at home mom. I have turned to Scripture and was part of a Beth Moore Bible Study last year that really helped. I have seen two different Christian counselors and took a cognitive therapy course about twelve years ago taught by two very godly women. I have learned SO much about anxiety (and I have several family members who struggle with it too) that God has used that opportunity to help others.

    I know some people are against medication. I realize it can be overdiagnosed or used too much of a crutch. I have found much success with it. I have a hormonal imbalance and the medication has helped me focus, think more rationally, and not have a fight/flight response to everything. People who are diabetic need to take insulin to compensate for a poor functioning pancreas. I don’t see mental health as any different. I need to compensate for a chemical imbalance.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience! I praise the Lord that he has helped you and that medicine was helpful!

      I’m sorry if my comments came off as anti-medicine! I think it definitely has it’s place. But that’s not the case for me. I was letting anxiety take me over (motivated out of fear and not trusting the Lord). The doctor was talking about giving me Zanex (which is highly addictive) and would help “calm” me. I had taken it once in a pain setting and new that it does indeed “calm”. But for me it was an artificial calm and not getting at the root of my problem at all. My real problem was not having trust in the Lord and being sinfully anxious. The medicine for me would have simply masked the symptoms instead of curing the problem. God’s word and the Holy Spirit helped me to heal from anxiety more than that medicine every could.

      So simply, in my situation, medicine was NOT the answer. But for some, I agree, it works wonders 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your perspective!

      • I understand what you mean. A doctor prescribed me a medication back in college to take before I took an exam/test in my college class. I didn’t feel right about taking it. I felt like I should develop better coping mechanisms in preparing for tests. I am currently on a sustained release med (and I’ve not been on meds since 2000–went 12 years without) that I take daily. And it helps. I can see myself not needing it when all my children are in school and my days are not quite so busy at home.

  7. Amen! I’m so glad you resisted the Xanax (which is a pretty dangerous drug!) and worked on the root of the problem and found healing.

    I also tend to get anxious. I carry prayer beads in my purse and use them regularly when I am walking somewhere or waiting, to help focus my prayers. When I feel overwhelmed with worries, I use 2 sets of 7 beads to set down my worries at the feet of the Lord–just state one thing that’s worrying me for each bead. It’s funny, but even when I think I have a zillion worries on my mind, I find it’s difficult to actually come up with 14 different things that are worrying me! Then when I get to the large bead, I say, “Jesus, I am turning over my worries to you. I trust you to take care of them. Please lift them from my mind.” Then I use the other 2 sets of 7 beads to list 14 things I am grateful for–and this is the opposite kind of experience; I always run out of beads before I run out of blessings in my life! It makes me feel so much better!

  8. It is amazing how many people struggle with this. I have had lots of people kind of “confess” to me that they struggle with anxiety. When I’m able to say, “Me too! It’s so hard, I know,” and genuinely mean it, they always look at me like, “What?! I’m not crazy?! This is awesome! Someone else gets it!” and it’s actually been a great inroad for getting to know people better.

    Thank you for sharing the verses that have helped you! Anxiety definitely fits in to the category of one of those “fiery darts” of the Devil. Scripture combats them, but we have to learn how to use it effectively!

    • I know Diana! I think women feel ashamed sometimes to say they struggle with anxiety. Or perhaps they feel judged by it. Of course, we don’t want to live in anxiety but as women we can join together and be an encouragement to one another to help combat anxiety! Thanks for stopping by Diana 🙂

  9. Thanks so much for this article! I have been researching anxiety a lot recently and have been wanting to find a biblical perspective from another Christian, but most of what I found online didn’t seem biblical at all. I have been experiencing horrible anxiety recently, mostly due to the fact that I just got married, quit school a year ago and am working full time, and have been having a lot of sinus issues. Every time my head hurts my heart starts racing and I know I am ready to have a full blown panic attack if I don’t pray and remember scripture. It’s such an encouragement to read the testimony of a sister who has overcome her anxiety simply by trusting the Lord and His promises. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Hi!! I’m going through this exact same thing right now and my dr couldn’t find anything wrong with me and they did tests but everything was fine so I would get even more scared and stressed about it and it’s been horrible. I couldn’t even explain it to people and I really thought there was something other than my heart wrong even though the tests said it was nothing. I’m so sorry you went through this because it is horrible but reading this article helped me feel so much better because you were able to put it into words how I feel. After work I went to class and then came home and my dad was there and I started telling him about this and I told him about everything I’ve been feeling lately and it was just so great. My dad reminded me that God is so much bigger than my problems and He can help me if I will put it in His hands (I’ve really been struggling with that ) but thank you for writing this because it has really helped me!!!

  11. I know you wrote this quite awhile ago, but I am thankful I came across it tonight. Anxiety has kept me homebound (literally, not leaving our property) for the last two years. I am going to look up, and start memorizing, those verses tomorrow! <3

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