How I​​ Became​​ Free of Anxiety Series​​ by​​ Brian Kerkhoff

Part​​ 4​​ of 13: ​​ Comforting​​ myself with the Truth, how to tell myself I’m going to be okay.

I had learned scary, negative, catastrophic thinking​​ because of fear and my​​ overall​​ experience​​ as a young child​​ and teenager. ​​ I​​ was instructed​​ through an anxiety program I bought years ago I must learn to tell myself I’m going to be okay​​ during challenging life situations. ​​ In another place in this self-help program I learned my own voice is one of the most believable. ​​ If I’m telling myself I will​​ not​​ be​​ okay, then​​ I will have difficulty believing others who may be telling me​​ I will​​ be okay.

Joyce Meyer said one time “anxiety sees the problem, faith sees God”. ​​​​ At a young​​ age,​​ I had taken on a view of life where I could only see​​ the difficulties of life​​ and I was overwhelmed​​ by​​ them. ​​​​ I did not have a close supportive family and​​ consequently​​ I believed I was on my own​​ processing​​ the complexities of life.

Telling myself​​ habitually​​ I was NOT going to be okay kept me in​​ the​​ “danger” mode of anxiety. ​​ I​​ experienced a feeling of being​​ in “danger”,​​ but​​ could​​ not​​ pinpoint​​ where the “danger” was. ​​ Like storm clouds on the horizon​​ this “danger” was​​ a vague​​ feeling of​​ impending​​ calamity.

Choosing to believe​​ God’s word​​ in the areas of who I am, what I can do, what I have and where I’m​​ at​​ -AS​​ TRUER-​​ than​​ my own perceptions and​​ interpretations​​ of life​​ allowed me to quit relying on myself and look to God for help understanding my life. ​​​​ Telling myself His truth​​ and following His instructions the best I​​ knew how​​ led to confidence I was cared for​​ and​​ I​​ could know​​ what to do in confusing situations. ​​ Even in difficult, seemingly impossible, situations I could​​ choose to​​ have confident expectation (faith) that my Father in Heaven was with me. I​​ could​​ stop​​ attempting​​ to stay one step ahead of everything. ​​​​ I​​ learned over time I​​ needed to do what is right, in each moment,​​ the best I knew how. ​​​​ My Father was with me, sometimes correcting, sometimes defending me. ​​ My part was to TRUST​​ God even when my feelings didn’t agree!

By the time I reached adulthood my life was a conglomeration of past experiences,​​ disappointments, failure to get what I wanted, difficulty with family, difficulty in school, lack of belonging, emotional upset, anger at family,​​ and anger at God. ​​​​ My experiences were telling me a story which I interpreted through lenses of fear and believing I was unlovable. ​​ I had become vulnerable to disappointment in my youth and​​ I​​ allowed​​ these disappointments​​ tell me​​ I could never be successful.

I​​ became convinced​​ I had a​​ CHOICE​​ during the study of anxiety and how to become free of it. ​​ I could entrust myself to my unsuccessful way of negotiating life or I could commit to God’s instruction for life, letting​​ Him speak over me​​ by reading His word​​ and​​ choosing​​ to be teachable. ​​ Not as a fearful individual,​​ but as a faithful individual. ​​ I​​ made​​ changes that went against my interpretations of my life​​ and how I felt about life in a big way. ​​​​ This is the decision I made: ​​ God’s word is​​ TRUER​​ than my interpretation of my past life experiences. ​​ My​​ adverse​​ childhood​​ experiences,​​ disappointments, failures, lack of belonging, emotional upset, isolation and fearfulness could no longer tell me​​ who​​ I am or​​ what​​ I can do. ​​ Only my Heavenly Father can tell me​​ who I am and what I can do. ​​ I learned to become open to Him instilling a new identity and purpose in me.

I watched a news story one day about a group of soldiers involved in a firefight in Afghanistan. ​​ One of the surviving soldiers interviewed was asked the question,​​ how​​ were you able​​ to​​ get​​ through this life or death situation? ​​ He answered,​​ I kept telling myself I’d be okay. ​​​​ Bam! ​​ Pay​​ close​​ attention to what you​​ are telling yourself​​ and “where those telling yourself statements originate”! ​​ But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you]. ​​ And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore life to your mortal (short lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. ​​​​ Romans 8:10-11 AMPC.​​ ​​ For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14 AMPC. ​​ Romans 8 is​​ a​​ specific and purposeful instruction on how we are to see ourselves, our relationship to Father God and our interaction with each other. ​​ I decided to only tell myself what my Father says about me. ​​ I can live apart from Him, or​​ together​​ with​​ Him,​​ I realized this is my simple choice, and only I can choose. ​​​​ 

I write this in a few convenient sentences like it happened suddenly, quite the opposite. ​​ I face this choice daily and the process​​ of turning from anxiety went on for​​ a period of​​ YEARS. ​​ For starters I’m stubborn. ​​ So was Israel! ​​ Please​​ let go​​ needing to have​​ your own way. ​​ Let go of​​ attitudes toward God!​​ I decided to “choose to trust” my Heavenly Father,​​ despite​​ my questions, my uncertainties, my hurts, my understandings​​ and lack of understandings, how I had been treated by people or anything that caused me to question​​ His Goodness​​ toward ME. ​​​​ I Chose to believe the answers were coming! ​​​​ I CHOSE God! ​​ I CHOSE to let go of my ways​​ that did not agree with His Word! ​​ I learned 1 Peter 4:1 To​​ “choose”​​ to suffer rather than displease My​​ Heavenly​​ Father! ​​ Allow Father God to take your hand today and help you, His Way! ​​ For the​​ time being​​ no discipline brings​​ joy,​​ but​​ seems​​ grievous​​ and​​ painful; but​​ afterwards​​ it​​ yields​​ a​​ peaceable fruit​​ of righteousness to those who have been​​ trained by it​​ [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness-in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action,​​ resulting​​ in right living and right standing with God]. ​​ Hebrews 12:11​​ AMPC​​ (emphasis mine)

The journey to freedom took​​ time and effort. ​​ Trusting God's way over my way was difficult for me​​ because of the strong emotional reactions I​​ experienced​​ letting go of​​ my​​ self-centered ways. ​​ I​​ began to make a habit​​ of taking​​ my strong feelings to my Father​​ in Heaven through prayer and journaling,​​ believing He knows better than I. ​​ Allowing my Father in Heaven to speak​​ His Truth​​ over me took a​​ step of faith! ​​ Studying the Truth​​ (God’s Word)​​ and daring to live in intimacy (trust and confident expectation) with God was the answer​​ to all the questions anxiety kept bringing up. ​​ I will elaborate in my testimony series on each of the 13 areas I had to learn/change​​ to be free of anxiety. ​​ We are not meant to travel the road to freedom alone. ​​ Invite the Holy Spirit to help with your anxiousness,​​ find ministry if you need it​​ (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. ​​ Decide to believe Romans 8:28.​​  ​​​​ 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. ​​ See our website​​

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