“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.

John 12:27 (NIV)

So often I think that what we know and what we feel are at war with one another. Even though I know that God is always with me and I know that He works out all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, I still struggle with anxiety. I can read verse after verse about anxiety in the Bible and yet I’m still plagued by it in dizzying doses. I have briefly written about the life-long sleep disorder that God delivered me from in this last year. When I had that issue I took medication for it. Specifically, I took Clonazepam, a drug that is often used to treat anxiety. In the 20+ years that I took that drug, I had so many problems with doctors who didn’t understand my sleep disorder and thought that I took the medication because of anxiety.

When I think about what it was like to be healed from that sleep disorder what stands out to me is how it was done. For years I had prayed to be delivered from sleep issues and my dependence on Clonazepam. I remember years ago, a doctor at the clinic I used to work at said that I was addicted and that shook me up. I remember feeling helpless about my condition and asking God to heal me. My doctor, later on, told me that the other doctor shouldn’t have said what he said because he was wrong. However, it still bothered me. That first doctor had said something I had felt for a long time because of the way that most doctors had treated me when I needed a prescription filled. If I hadn’t had anxiety before I started taking that medication, I certainly developed it over time due to the stress of trying to get a prescription filled on time.

I always thought that I would be healed from the sleep disorder and somehow “notice” that I didn’t need to take the medication anymore. It seems silly when I think about it like that now. The actual process of being healed was more of a deliverance from a dependence on the drug than changing my brain to produce the proper amount of REM sleep. I read a lot about Clonazepam and the withdraw from it. Although my anxiety levels went up as the amount of medication I took decreased, I continued to rely upon the healing power of God each day as I took it to Him. It was during this time, I believe, that I noticed that Jesus had expressed anxiety.

I’ve read about the moment in Gethsemane so many times, when Jesus falls to His knees and prayed, “‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will'” and it never hit me as it did last year (Matthew 26:39 NIV). Even now, as I write this I am so thankful for our Savior. Jesus really does know our fears. I will confess that I’ve wondered before how could He be anxious about what was coming when He’s God? Yes, there’s a crucifixion coming up with torture and shame before that but He knows what’s going to happen afterward, doesn’t He?

When I’ve thought about Jesus’ anxiety over what was to happen to Him I’ve thought that perhaps He didn’t feel so anxious about the physical issues. Instead, maybe it was the fact that God would turn His face from Him. He’s always known the Father and something like that has never happened before. What mattered to me most, however, is that Jesus felt the way that I feel every day. Realizing that I wasn’t alone with what I know conflicting with what I felt has been a tremendous help to me. I’m in good company with Jesus.

Like doubt, anxiety is one of those things that I think Christians don’t like to talk about. Ask us if we’ve had any sexually immoral thoughts and we’ll talk your ear off but doubt or anxiety? No, sir, those are taboo subjects. We’re quick to point out the verses if we know them, that tell us not to be anxious or to doubt, but I think sometimes we’re lacking in our compassion for these issues. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we want to help each other and we honestly do feel compassion for one another when someone confesses to these fears. I just think that we don’t like to spend much time talking about these things because we all feel them and if we discuss them, well, we might be admitting that our faith isn’t as strong as we believe.

And that’s an issue. Not one of whether or not our faith is strong, but believing the lie that, if we talk about these things that we’re going to somehow be diminished. We’re to “carry each other’s burdens” because “[we] will fulfill the law of Christ” when we do so (Galatians 6:2 NIV). We also need to remember to “confess [our] sins to each other and pray for each other so that [we] may be healed” (James 5:16 NIV). The sin here isn’t doubt or anxiety. It’s pride. Our pride is what keeps up from sharing our troubles with one another. If you have someone that you can pray with regarding these issues then I think it would be good to do so. Regardless, I want you to know that I have prayed to the Father for you and I know that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV).

If you have suffered or suffer from anxiety then I want you to know that you are not alone. Sometimes it brings us comfort to know that other people suffer as we do. However, while I am thankful for all of the support that’s out there available to us, you must know that Jesus knows anxiety. He knows your anxious thoughts and He loves you. He wants you to be delivered to walk in the freedom that He has for you right now. Freedom of life without anxiety or fear. As a Believer, you are not defined by your anxiety. No, you and I, are defined by our identity in Christ Jesus. Allow me to encourage you to do what I do, when my heart starts to race, my temperature rises, and my breath seems to escape from me, I think of Jesus, His face to the ground, giving up His fear to the perfect will of God that casts it out.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.