My Secret to Overcoming Anxiety

If you know me, you know that I don’t like to stress about the issues of life and about the shenanigans that people can often pull. In fact, I feel as if there are more productive ways to expend one’s energy, like: using my thoughts to bless others, or to focus on my daily work or to be uniquely creative in a new way. It’s hard to do those things when we lack peace, when we have anxiety knocking at our door.

 I'm finally anxiety free before hitting the stage! Woot! 

I'm finally anxiety free before hitting the stage! Woot! 

Being able to say that I am a peaceful person is a huge step for me and has taken a bit of work on my part to get to. After all, I’m often on stages as a musician and the temptation to freak out and hide in a corner before a show can be unbearable at times. I also deal with the normal everyday stuff like paying bills on time, family “dramatics”, and the list goes on. Anxiety used to very much wake me up at night, try to rob me of all my peace, keep me frozen, make me scramble for answers and steal my focus. And you know what? I would often let it win.

Why?? Why would you let it win??

Well, I just didn’t know how to beat anxiety. Nobody had ever told me what to do when it knocks at my door or slaps me in the face right before I’m about to go to sleep. I was clueless. Therefore, if you can relate and deal with anxiety, let me tell you one thing: you are not alone. I’m no researcher or scientist, but I can assure you that if we surveyed all the people we know we would surely find out that many of them have dealt with or are dealing with feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease. Some of just feel it stronger than others. These feelings typically come when we have issues that have an uncertain outcome. Having anxiety try to come and take over your life is nothing new, it is something that is common to man (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Phew. Someone had to say it. If you’re dealing with anxiety you are no strange cat and you are not some weaker than average being. You are normal. End of story.

Understanding the truth of why you’re dealing with anxiety is one thing, but what is the secret to overcoming it? Is it even a secret? I call the one thing I used to help me get over anxiety a secret because it’s not commonly talked about and is something that is way more powerful that the typical coping methods. In fact, it’s something that I stuck with while the temptation to be anxious was its strongest in my life and it has absolutely changed the core of who I am as a person. Are you ready for what it is? It’s simple and you deserve to know it.

It’s meditating on the word of God in the bible.

You might not have been expecting me to say that and perhaps you were expecting a 5-step plan or a song you play while you’re sleeping, but this is the method that trumps all others. It’s a powerful way to beat anxiety (and any other overwhelming temptation you might face) that is simpler than anything else you’ll ever hear about. In fact, it’s so simple that many of you who are reading this right now might be convinced it doesn’t work.

Let me tell you something: just because a method is simple does not mean you should devalue its effectiveness. God’s way of doing things is simple. We’re the ones that make things so complex. His methods beat out our’s and society’s every time. The best way to find out is to try it so that you can be a legitimate source of truth regarding its ability to work in one’s life. So before you tune out, keep reading and let me explain how this worked for me. You don’t want to miss out on the very thing that could set you free.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably want to start memorizing the New Testament as soon as you hear that meditating (which simply means constantly thinking and focusing on a thought in your mind) on the word of God takes away anxiety… but it’s way simpler than that.

When I was dealing with anxiety, it was regarding my enormous debt to pay and family craziness. I would think about those things constantly, which would lead me to feeling tremendously overwhelmed, which would lead me to feeling paralyzed… and it just went downhill from there. Sound familiar?

Then one day my pastor gave the most beautiful talk that brought so much clarity to what I needed to do. Here’s what I did to get free from anxiety that was trying to overwhelm me:

(1) Searched for a truth from God to counteract each of my fears: I Googled (thank you Jesus for such a tool!) scriptures regarding God’s provision for my bills and His plan for my family. My Google searched looked something like this: “scriptures on provision” and “scriptures about family”. Not everyone needs to use Google, but at that time in my life-- I did. There’s no shame in searching for clarity and truth. I refused to let any fear haunt me without finding the proper truth from God to lean on. Searching for scriptures helped me do that.

(2) Committed to memorizing those truths: I took a look at the scriptures that Google brought up and chose the best one to begin memorizing for each fear I had. Choosing the best one is totally up to us. There’s no method to it. I wrote each of them down on an index card, which was me telling myself that I was committed to fighting for my freedom.

Making a commitment looks different for everyone. Some people do this by writing on their mirrors, getting tattoos, painting a mural and doing other tangible actions. The thing we do is not as important as the commitment we make to replacing the lies and fears that are harassing us with God’s truth.

(3) Remained disciplined and fought: This is the part that might seem the hardest, but it is worth it. Remaining disciplined in doing something is a rare occurrence these days, but when we want to be free bad enough we will do it. Seeing the results of anxiety being driven out of your life can take months… perhaps even years. No matter how long it takes, tell yourself that you’re down for the long haul.

Despite not knowing how long it might have been before anxiety lifted from me, I began memorizing those two scriptures I had written on my index cards every morning right when I woke up and every evening before I went to bed. I would even personalize the scripture and declare its goodness over my life. I did it at these times because those were the times when I was most susceptible to feeling anxious. I knew that I had to start my morning off on the right foot by renewing my mind and ending my day with God’s truth. That was where the discipline came in. Where the fighting came in was a little different.

The fighting happened every time I encountered my fears. Every time those fears would come knocking in my mind or try to attack me throughout the day, I would say the truth of God I was memorizing that counteracted the fear that I was overcoming.

At first, it felt like a major workout and I felt absolutely CRAZY saying (well, let's be honest, it was more like praying) a scripture hundreds of times a day, but this action was major for me when it came to getting passed anxiety! Every time we declare God’s truth over a fear or temptation we are dealing with, we (1) make that fear come face to face with Jesus who is our hope for change (Jesus IS the living word -- John 1:1) and (2) we unleash the power of God to take control of anxiety (the word is the power of God -- Romans 1:16).

You may not conquer anxiety fully in a day, but trust me-- every time you fight a fear or lie with God’s truth you are one step closer to freedom and one step closer to conquering. And remember, don't do this alone. Invite not only your friends to stand by your side, but God to be your strength throughout this battle. 

You’re a winner and you deserve the freedom to live a life without the monster of anxiety in your face at all times. And even more, God wants to give you the freedom you crave. He loves you and desires great things for you. I hope my story gives you clarity, heals you and sets you free. Let me know your thoughts!

Praying for peace and freedom to be the mark of who you are,

Martay