If you struggle with worry or stress has its grip on you, then you are on a path I have walked. From time to time, this path still emerges and beckons me down it’s shadowy corridor. But now, I have employed solid, daily practices that have helped me not to be gripped by anxiety.
I first dealt with acute anxiety and panic during a challenging season years ago while living in a foreign country. I was trying to learn a new language, start a business, be the light of Christ where there was virtually no church present, and father twin, one-year-old boys with my wife. I felt like I was slowly descending into a dark valley.
Over the course of several months, I suffered from chest pains, headaches, and other illnesses that served as a catalyst for fear and concern. Up until this point in my life, I had never experienced anything like it and never really battled worry. If I’m honest, I prided myself for being a courageous risk taker. But I soon began to dwell on worst case scenarios. I was convinced something serious was wrong with me or that something terrible would happen to my family.
People will ask whether my anxiety was circumstantial, psychological, or spiritual. Having contemplated this quite a bit, I am convinced that the answer is “yes.” I believe that often there can be multiple things contributing to our anxiety. Stress has a way of boiling to a point where even those with the highest tolerance are susceptible to its building force. Also, like other physical limitations or illnesses, some of us experience times when our bodies’ chemicals are out of balance. In addition, our spiritual enemy seems to be an opportunist when it comes to his attacks; striking us in our areas of weakness at the lowest moment in our lives.
All causes of anxiety nor all solutions to this common struggle. I don’t pretend to offer a gimmicky formula that, once performed, guarantees a carefree life. But I do believe that the principles contained here offer pathways toward victory inasmuch as they are adopted and walked out. They continue to help me as I’m repeatedly tempted to slide down the slippery slope of fear and anxiety. I pray that they will help you as well.