On the outside, Natalie* was a beautiful and bright mother of three and a faithful wife to her husband.
She served in the children’s program at church, she was a stay-at-home mom raising her young children, and she was always the first to lend a helping hand to a friend in need.
In fact, people often stood in amazement at how “perfect” she was.
She was the first to bake a casserole dish for a grieving family or open up her home to neighbors and host a backyard summer BBQ — complete with “Pinterest-perfect” dishes.
That is, until one lie brought it all crashing down.
What kind of lie could cause a beautiful young wife and mother to have a crippling breakdown?
It’s the same lie believed by over 40 million Americans.
Beneath the mask of perfection, she was dying inside.
You see, Natalie has battled anxiety for nearly 20 years and suffered in silence, too afraid to share her struggles with others at the risk of rejection.
One day, she finally collapsed and found herself unable to even get out of bed let alone tackle her daily responsibilities. She was frozen.
Maybe you can relate to Natalie. Maybe you can’t and think she is crazy. But Natalie’s battle with anxiety has become a national epidemic and it’s getting worse each year.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates a whopping 40 million Americans struggle with anxiety. But even more startling, only 36.9% seek treatment, meaning the rest suffer in silence like Natalie.
Our modern hustle and bustle culture doesn’t help.
Americans down bottomless cups of coffee and energy drinks as we’re told by society it’s all up to us to “DO MORE”, “ACHIEVE MORE”, and “BE MORE.”
All of this pressure coupled with the realities of family commitments, work obligations, dating dilemmas, and financial problems can cause even the calmest soul to become anxious.
And with the world screaming at us to take on “just another commitment”, or work “just a little harder”, many Christians find themselves drowning and overwhelmed.
Here’s why: We, like Natalie, believe this one powerful lie.
We believe that it is all on us to achieve all these things, that we must do so through the power of our own strength, grit, and pure determination.
However, God has another plan, a plan based on TRUTH and His truth shatters the lie.
Jesus told us “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).
God doesn’t call us to strive for perfection, He calls us to rest and abide in Him, taking every thought captive and into obedience.
And the TRUTH is He wants His children to rest and cast our burdens to Him!
Beloved Christian preacher Billy Graham dedicated his life to helping Christians come to know and internalize the love of Christ.
His website, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association listed out Bible verses Christians can use to meditate on during difficult times, or moments of anxiety to be reminded of God’s truth:
“We can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
—2 Corinthians 4:8-9
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
—1 Peter 5:5-7
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Not only does knowing the TRUTH shatter this lie, but so can fellowship with others.
If you are struggling with anxiety, take comfort in knowing you are not alone!
One of Satan’s greatest tactics is to isolate us making us think that we are “the only ones” experiencing a certain struggle.
But while Satan seeks to isolate, Christ reminds us there is freedom and truth in the light, and we are called to help carry one another’s burdens.
Consider talking out your struggles with a trusted friend or Christian counselor. The enemy seeks to isolate, but there is healing and freedom by walking in the light and in community.
Another way to get over feeling anxious is to truly get over ourselves and serve others! Consider serving in your local community at a homeless shelter or local pregnancy center. If you aren’t already serving in church, look for opportunities to use your God-given talents and give back!
It is often when we can take a step away from our own problems and look at the world around us, we’ll realize there are other people struggling too who need help and love.
But remember – the goal is not to take on yet another thing to keep you bogged down and stressed out! The goal in serving is to give your time from your heart, and bless others with all that you have been given.
And brothers and sisters, sometimes, anxiety can truly be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and the answer can be medication under the trusted care of a doctor.
One Christian man struggled with anxiety which became so crippling, his doctor put him on medication. When he wrote to Billy Graham to ask his thoughts on treating anxiety with medication, Graham replied:
“The most important truth I can tell you is that God knows all about your situation, and He loves you and wants to help you overcome it. And this can happen, as you learn to thrust your worries into His hands.
This doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong for you to be on medicine for your anxiety; it may be one of the ways God uses to help you. Our minds and our bodies are enormously complicated; sometimes things don’t work the way they should, and medicine may be necessary.
But the most important discovery you can make is that God loves you just as you are, and therefore you can commit every fear and every worry into His hands. If He didn’t love you, you’d have no reason to do this — but He does love you, and therefore you can. If He loved you enough to send His only Son into the world to die for you, won’t He continue loving you, both now and forever?
Begin by turning to Jesus Christ and asking Him to come into your life. Then ask Him every morning to remind you of His love during the day — and when anxieties threaten to overwhelm you, thank Him once again for His presence with you. In addition, let the Bible’s promises fill your mind and heart. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).”
Graham’s words still ring true today. As Christians, whether anxious or not, we all need to truly meditate on Christ’s word — He tells us His yoke is gentle!
And if you struggle with anxiety, know that God loves you right where you are, even in your darkest moments.
By knowing who God is, and what He says about us, we are able to get through the darkest of times by resting in his perfect peace.
If you are confused about how taking up a yoke can be an easy thing, John Piper explains the concept so well:
“But what keeps the yoke, this restfulness, from being heavy and burdensome? Because he says, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” So if it’s a yoke, and it’s a burden — those are his words — how can it be easy, and how can it be light? What’s the difference between his burden, his yoke, and the Pharisees, who heaped up legal burdens upon people?
Here’s what he said: “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger” (Matthew 23:4).
That’s Jesus’s diagnosis of the difference between his burden and their burden. They don’t lift a finger to lighten the load of the law on the backs of people.
And Jesus not only lifted his finger — he lifted the cross. He lifted his whole life: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).”
The God of the entire universe sent His only Son to take on the sins of the world, for you, for me, so that we may abide and rest in Him.
If you’re feeling anxious, remember that Christ has already paid the price for your anxiety, cry out to God and leave your anxiety at the cross, knowing the yoke of Christ is light and will provide rest for your soul.
Have you ever struggled with anxiety? If so, what are some ways you helped to overcome anxiety and worry?
Tell us your helpful tips in the comments below! Your comments just might help another struggling Christian.