Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Depression, Anxiety, and the Fear of Nothing

This is my story of overcoming.

Despite the fact that my business was successful, my home was beautiful, my family was healthy and God’s favor and mercy was obvious in my life, I was very unhappy. Some days were worse than others.

I’d wake up some mornings and feel so ill at ease that I had to force myself out of bed. There was a deeply seated sadness trapped just beneath the surface of my conversations and I lived just “one more thing” away from losing my mind altogether.

What’s the matter with you, family would ask.

“Nothing.” Nothing caused my heart to palpitate during the day and panic at night. Nothing numbed my soul while keeping me lacking the energy to fall to my knees and call out to God. Nothing gripped me and held me in a place of despondency, shame, and secrecy. I was caught up by nothing. And nothing kept me silent until nothingness swallowed me up.  

And then there was the anxiety. I couldn’t stop thinking of my own death; sometimes even planning my own funeral. It’s hard to explain, but while it was not my desire to die, that feeling of impending doom was always suddenly with me. I thought that every pain, every hiccup, and every knot in my stomach was potentially fatal.

Television triggered it. Ordinary conversations triggered it and almost every time my son left the house, I’d obsess and have to talk myself down off the ledge of gloom and doom.  My heart would race. My chest would pound and I’d even need my inhalers. I felt defective and I worried that people would think I was embellishing my fears or make light of them.

Thought REPLACEMENT VS. Brain Transformation

I read article after article, and one book after another on the subject of overcoming depression and anxiety. I researched medications, quoted scripture, changed my diet to the so called “happy foods”, and even exercised to get those endorphins flowing...

Still somehow the depression and anxiety would creep up again. And I didn’t even see them coming.

Then one day, I was sitting in my bedroom watching HSN, when out of nowhere my heart starting racing, my chest felt tight, and I was completely spent. I starting weeping from my gut and then—came—the release. And the presence of the Holy Spirit of God changed my perspective.

I thought to myself, what if instead of trying to replace the negative thoughts that cause my issues, I destroy them altogether? For years therapists have stressed the importance of thought replacement; which first acknowledges the negative thought or fear and then we replace them with positive ones. What if I actually renewed my mind?

What if I finally believed God enough that instead of battling anxiety and confronting depression, (Matthew 6:25, Proverbs 12:25, Mark 12:30, Ephesians 4:22-24,) I prevent them from entering my mind in the first place?

Here’s what I mean. You see in real-time, when panic grips our minds and fear overwhelms our thought process; trying to replace those thoughts can seem impossible. Once the fear or panic grips you, it holds on and breaking free, well, let’s just say that it would be easier to boil an ocean and serve it up in a single cup of tea.

Fighting against something, especially something that is already in motion, takes a lot more energy than avoiding the fight in the first place.

A Lifestyle of Worship - Avoiding the Fight

In the 16th chapter of Acts, we see Paul in yet another prison facing death. He was beaten and starved and in chains. But instead of struggling, he sang. Acts 16:23-26 (NKJV) says, “And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.”

Paul and Silas lifted their hearts above their troubles and entered into God’s presence and power. Through worship their hearts were raised into the joyous presence and peace of God.

The psalmist writes, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” Psalm 100:4 (NKJV).

Praise magnifies our awareness of our spiritual union with God and connects us with His power. It ends the fight for our minds before the fight ever starts. “Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance” Psalm 89:15 (NKJV). And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom; freedom from depression, anxiety, and negative thoughts, freedom from heart palpitations and loneliness and yes, even fear.

I went with those thoughts and downloaded dozens of worship cds that I could dance to and loaded them on my iPod. I downloaded the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, as well as short sermons of some of my favorite teachers like Ravi Zacharias.  

And “Oh my” how things have changed!

These days I start my day with those playlists; listening as I go for walks, shop, and even meditate. I have them playing in my left ear while I work and at the end of the day, I listen as I fall asleep. I fill my mind consciously and subconsciously with so much truth that fears, doubt, darkness, depression, worry, and negativity have no place with me and I become light. I become light.

Ephesians 5:8 (NIV) says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”

Live as children of the light. Decide for yourself that there IS a way to healing and you don’t have to suffer anymore. Decide that God has designed our minds to be brilliant instruments of light, envisioning and speaking life, not death, joy not happiness and soundness not confusion.

It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.  The first day won’t see butterflies landing on your hands and birds encircling your head in song, but eventually you will wake to the sound of your own spirit singing praise to God and the darkness will at last and forever be gone.

You, my friends are light.

Copyright © 2016 Leslie Haskin. Used by permission. Visit Leslie's website - http://www.lesliehaskin.net/ 

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