- BFF Home
- About Us
- Life Truths
- RSS Feed
Paul J. Bucknell
We do not like to use 'steps' to describe how we overcome anxiety. It seems to gloss over all the emotional and spiritual changes taking place. However mechanical the process might seem, it is not when God is working. Note the advantages of detecting these steps.
When we step back and look at how God takes us through these times, we can see a certain pattern develop. We clearer we discern this pattern, the easier it is to be helped the truths reflected therein. The steps at some points might merge together or even be mixed up. That is fine. The steps that are mentioned in the next section will typically happen, however.
Another reason for clarifying this process is that you yourself will be better able to communicate what God is doing in your life.
As one sees how God works, then we can naturally put our confidence in this process. Only by seeing this process happen again and again can I fully share these things with you (actually not only on overcoming worry but also in avoiding worry).
When you can see how God has worked out the worry in one area of your life, you will want to attack the other worries too. As one's faith is increased, he will be able to see and deal with other areas that he could not before. Carefully observing this pattern also can help us see why another area might not so quickly find a solution.
The other reason to understand these steps is so that God can begin to use your experience to share with others. Many people are troubled by serious worry. They have no hope. They are either medicated or troubled. You, however, have seen how God works. God can and will use your experiences to help others.
The next time you hear someone sounding worried, ask him or her if you had a difficult time with worries and if they would like, you could share your experience with worries. This is the place we can see the full power of God at work. Remember how Jesus saw those people who had needs come near Him as those that God sent for help. Let Christ live through us. If we have never combatted worry, perhaps we cannot speak so fully, but if we are humble, we can still share how God keeps us from anxiety.
We will go through this chart assuming you are the one worrying. We understand it might be another.
This is not so easy as it seems. One person sitting in our Overcoming Anxiety seminar observed a list of five descriptions of anxiety. She started seeing that point 3 was just like her. Point 4 was too. Then she went back and discovered all the points describing anxiety were true about her! She said, "I must be an anxious person." She never realized that she was an anxious person. Neither did her husband (me). We knew there were some problems, such as packing for vacation, but didn't realize just how much at home anxiety had made itself in our hearts and home.
She never knew anxiety was a sin and just by acknowledging this sin in her life made a huge improvement on her handling anxiety. She finally got God's view of her life that led to repentance and confession.
Remember every doubt is a statement against both God's character and His ways. Assuming we are believers, if we doubt God can take care of us in a certain situation and depend upon our own schemes, then we are essentially stating that God is not faithful and not a good Father.
I find that discovering the places that I doubt God are the best places to find humility. I usually don't think I am 'that bad' until I discover how much I have denied His character and more than often thought my handling of the situation better than His (which is equally ridiculous since I am usually worrying!). The third step is dependent on this discovery.
Instead of defending ourselves, we should simply admit that somehow, even though we know all these truths, we do not trust Him. It is critical that we accept this and begin confessing this to the Lord. As specifically as possible, from the doubts that you have about God, tell him and ask for forgiveness.
Our solution does not stop at this confession, "O Lord, I have failed you again. I am such a sinner." Actually, some people hang their heads in guilt and leave themselves there. That is exactly what the Lord saved us from!
We do need to start there, however, fully recognizant that we have doubted that our loving God would or could care for us. But we dare not stay there. We have the cross by which we find cleansing. We even have cleansing for all the ways we affected others by our anxiety. How refreshing and comforting are the words of John the Elder,
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Instead of burying ourselves in our worthlessness (which is true), in faith we go on and acknowledge the truth about His love, mercy, faithfulness and greatness. Some people end their confession in misery, but it should always lead us in victory as our soul sings out the truths of God. This is the next point.
God is very interested in the truth about ourselves and Him.
When we think of the the truth about us, our sinfulness, weakness and frailty is all clearly seen.
When we think of the truth of God, His glory, power, faithfulness, mercy and goodness are revealed.
Truth is an usher that leads us to the gates of God's peace. Paul speaks of it this way right after his words on handling anxiety.
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
The truths about our selves humble us so that we can see ourselves as God does. We are dismayed we would ever rebel against God. We see that prideful revolt for what it is and confess the sin and ask for forgiveness.
We also, however, begin to accept and embrace the truths about God for what they are. We remember God's goodness, faithfulness and power. As we look to Him, these truths strengthen our faith. Instead of going off with guilt written all over our hearts, we are full of the Spirit confessing the greatness of God.
Now, no doubt, we will still need to face our trying circumstances, but now we are equipped with faith. Faith always displaces anxiety and worry. Worry only dwells where there is no trust in God. As light enters, the dark veils of worry are taken down and we abide in the delight of God's care. Nothing has changed on the outside, we only are changed within and can see things as they are.
We know that just knowing the truth is not quite enough to help us believe. This is why we have added on a fifth step. Step #5 might just happen by doing the prior points. That I fine, but if it doesn't, people can get very confused and feel locked out of God's peace.
Paul says, "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be make known to God" (Philippians 4:6). The apostle tells us that anxiety cannot be properly defeated without prayer. It is through this verse that I have been strongly helped in handling worry. He helps me as I bring everything together in prayer. He will do this for you too.
So in our prayers we are first confessing our worries and our lack of trusting God. Then we go on and begin to adore and praise Him with thanksgiving how He will in His own time and ways care for your needs. I often realize that without Him I cannot go on, I cannot handle the matter. That is fine. I do not need to pretend that I am able. I tell the Lord these things. The world has to boast about itself even if it lies. We can be honest.
I have come to love this truth. I begin each day now by such a humbling of my circumstances (I cannot live a victorious life without the Lord) and a time of exaltation (He is the great One who has and will help). I tell Him I can't do this without Him. I need Him to help me. I want Him to help me. And then proceed to praise Him for the way that He has helped me in the past and will help me now and in the future.
This builds up my faith in such a way that I can go into very difficult situations full with confidence, not in myself, but in God Himself. It is in this way we steer ourselves away from pride which is so devastating.
Don't be troubled at these five steps. They can be simplifed! See how you can share about overcoming worry with others more simply by sharing about entering the 'Gates to the Lord's Peace.'