How I became free of Anxiety Series By Brian Kerkhoff - Part 2 of 13
Learning to trust God and do what's right. Choosing God, not anxiety.
One day I watched a Joyce Meyer show on TV. In this sermon she said she could boil down all she had learned into “trust God and do what is right”. During her speaking she challenged the audience to take an honest look at their personal level of trust with God. I felt motivated to honestly evaluate my trust level with my God, my Father in Heaven. To do this I started paying attention to how I tried to solve the problems I faced. I was surprised to find mostly I tried to solve the problems by MY self. In the situations I experienced failure and reached the end of what I could figure out then I would beg God for help in the crisis. Not really knowing if help was coming or if I was on my own. Thinking of the verses in Proverbs 3:5-6 I could see my way of tackling problems was leaning on (trusting) my own understanding and relying on what had worked or seemed to work in the past, and/or what seemed to be working for other people. This put a lot of pressure on me to know more than I could possibly know. Quite often I was frustrated and stuck with problems I had no real answers to, or my solutions simply did not work. In Psalm 37:3 in the first part of the verse it says, “Trust in the Lord, and do good”. When I heard Joyce Meyer speaking I didn’t know at the time about Psalm 37:3. I was surprised to find her statement agreed with this verse in Psalms.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV)
3 You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. (Emphasis mine)
Trust definition: Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something.
I had to decide whether to trust God. Was I determined to work through all the areas of my life where I had mistrust or suspicion with my God. Especially those areas where I believed I was on my own with no help. I found I must become willing to root out any false view of God, any accusation against his character that I harbored in my heart. I learned it was up to me to “discover and relinquish” should I have built a case against God over the course of my life somehow bringing his character or ways into question. See the story of Job and his accusation against God. Read the book The Story of Job by Jesse Penn Lewis, this book was very helpful to me to understand my own case against God. I chose (in my will) to know his word, to believe what He says about Himself in the Bible. Even if this was contrary to what my own interpretation of my life experience was telling me. My view of God was something I had to resolve within me, or I certainly would find myself relying (trusting) in my own "intellect" and be my own authority through the experiences of life. Deciding to confidently trust God was up to me, no one else could decide this for me. However, sometimes I needed help when I ran into “I don’t know what to do, or how to think or how to feel” situations Journaling/prayer/counsel/ministry became necessary to turn away from deep rooted, distorted, ways of viewing God that I can't see clearly because of wounding I experienced at a young age. I blamed God for the hurt I experienced at the hands of people when in truth it was Satan working through the free will of those people to afflict me at a vulnerable age.
I had to learn to trust God in the storm. Of course, life flowing along wonderfully versus being caught in a storm presented a very different challenge to my wholehearted trust of my Father in heaven. The most enlightening circumstances for the revealing of my actual trust level were the situations in life that presented potential scary scenarios and upset feelings. I found I needed an answer to the question “where were you God when I was suffering?”
Learning to trust God, I think, was the very important second step in moving away from anxiety. In my experience turning away from anxiety by working through my trust issues with my Heavenly Father was the last step I did. In hindsight I wish trusting God had been at the beginning of the process rather than late in the process of becoming free of anxiety. Sort of like building a house and going back later to put a foundation under it. I see now being skittish of God hindered me in all the rest of the process and I tended to rely on human advice and wisdom instead of just experiencing the peace that comes from confidence in God as I turned from anxiousness and negativity to God. I learned to invite God into my life at the outset of situations, not waiting until after everything had blown up. I learned to believe HE is with me and cares about my life, my story, my troubles and will be my redeemer, my defender, my provider. I had difficulty believing HE is an ever-present help in trouble? (Psalm 46:1) The mistrust I had about God helping me were clues for me for what I needed to journal1 about.
A favorite saying that I learned during this process was “Anxiety sees the problem, Faith sees God!” I could use this phrase as a pause button while reacting to life to consciously choose faith, not anxiety. When faced with perplexing, confusing or “I don’t know what to do” situations I can say this phrase to myself and choose to go forward in faith and confidence in my Father doing the best I know how and leaving the “I need to know everything” stress out of the present moment.
The journey to freedom took me a while. Trusting God's way over my way was difficult for me. I received some immediate relief knowing there were steps I could take to unlearn anxiousness and learn peace. Studying the Truth and daring to live in intimacy (trust and confident expectation) with God was the answer. I will elaborate in my testimony series on each of the 13 areas I had to learn/change. We are not meant to travel the road to freedom alone. Invite the Holy Spirit to help with your anxiousness, go get ministry (be a seeker), ask for prayer, fellowship with other believers regularly and KNOW that God has a plan for your life and that plan is a GOOD plan. Is Romans 8:28 true? Get into agreement with His work in your life and ask for help when you need it. LITS would love to walk with you on your journey to freedom, we have programs just for you. See our website www.lifeinthesprings.org
1If you are unfamiliar with the journaling process see the excerpt on "The Journal" on our website: http://www.lifeinthesprings.org/resources/the-journal-from-mercy-triumphs-over-judgment