I’ve never been a big fan of crowds.
As a little girl I remember a certain feeling that would rise up within me when I was surrounded by a throng of people.
I felt like the room was shutting in around me.
The noise. The feeling of being shoved in between people.
Not exactly an enjoyable experience for me.
Things haven’t changed much since then.
A few weekends ago I had the pleasure of going to Dallas with my daughter for a dance competition.
I love watching her dance and seeing the joy on her face as she advances in the things she loves.
Yet, with that joy always comes hesitation. These competitions are crowded.
Literally people everywhere.
Not only were the rooms crowded, but so were the elevators.
Everyone had to be there at 7:30am and apparently they all used the elevators at the same time.
Every time we stepped onto a populated elevator I could feel myself get a little antsy.
Just when I thought we couldn’t fit one more person in there, a few more would get on.
Not only were we squished, but we stopped on every.single.floor. From the 14th floor down.
I almost lost it.
Have you ever been in one of those intense moments? Fear seeks to take over and your surroundings seem to be suffocating you?
Maybe it’s not an elevator that’s producing anxiety, but a situation.
You’re finances are low, you’re living day to day on a shorted income and are very aware that one more bill could literally tank you.
Or perhaps you have a relationship that is really uncomfortable. Every time you have to be around the person you fill with anxiety, and pray you don’t lose it right in front of them.
Regardless of what is causing the anxiety, we are left dealing with the symptoms and emotions attached to it.
How do we prevent fear and anxiety from taking over?
As I’ve worked through (and am still working through) some of these issues, I’ve found some practical tips for battling fear and anxiety when they show up.
Practical Tips for Battling Fear and Anxiety
Control Your Thoughts
Did you know that you can take control of your thoughts? You may not be able to control what comes into your mind, but you can control whether it stays.
Why is it important to control our thoughts?
[clickToTweet tweet=”Thoughts become actions that turn into behaviors, which ultimately affect our character and our destiny.” quote=”Thoughts become actions that turn into behaviors, which ultimately affect our character and our destiny.”]
One of the main ways I battle fearful and anxious thoughts is through casting down those that don’t line up with the Word of God.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV (emphasis mine)
Taking our thoughts captive is crucial to maintaining a healthy thought life. What does that practically look like?
Remember my scary elevator moment?
My thoughts were something like this: “If one more person gets on this elevator we will exceed the capacity and this thing is going to go plummeting down.”
Fearful thought right?
Here’s how I can take that thought captive:
“That thought is not truth. The truth is that God is in control. He is my protector and I trust Him to keep me safe in this elevator.”
Do you see how I addressed the lie? Not only did I cast that thought down, but I redirected it.
Which is my next point.
Redirect Your Focus
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT
Once we cast down our thoughts we need to replace those thoughts with something true, like Paul mentions in Philippians 4:8.
So where should we redirect our thoughts?
To the Word of God.
Notice when I rejected that negative thought, I turned my focus towards the character of God. I replaced the lie (fearful thought) with truths from God’s Word:
2 Chronicles 20:6 tells us that God is ruler over all the nations and nothing can withstand Him.
Psalm 121:7 encourages us that God will protect us and watch over our lives.
Speak Truth to Your Fear
So far we’ve covered casting down our thoughts and redirecting them to the truth. The last step is making those thoughts obedient to Christ.
How do we do that?
Speak truth to those fears.
When I was in the elevator I actually began speaking God’s Word under my breath. Just releasing the words from my mouth began to melt away the fear.
There is power in speaking the Word.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NIV
I love this scripture. It gives such an accurate picture of the what the Word is doing in the spiritual realm when we speak it. It penetrates through the physical and the spiritual. Whether we are struggling with something in the flesh or the spirit, we can be confident that the Word is powerful enough to break through it.
What tips do you have for battling fear and anxiety?
Do you have a plan for when fear begins creeping in? If not I encourage you to try these 3 tips. Although we can’t always prevent fear from rising up, we can be prepared to battle it!
**You can check out the rest of the Battling Fear Series HERE.**