This week presented an unexpected challenge for me: anxiety. I hadn’t dealt with this intensity of anxiety since 2011, so it was surprising when it caught me off-guard. Back in 2011, when it happened, I was utterly lost in fear for five months. Constant worrying, panic, and fear were taking over my life. I found it hard to concentrate or do anything because I was so overwhelmed by irrational fears. Almost everything scared me.

I sought out help from family, friends, counselors, and more. Don’t get me wrong; some of these things were helpful. But I found that I fed the fear more than I fed my faith at the time. And that wasn’t too surprising, considering that I wasn’t going to church, wasn’t reading my Bible, and wasn’t spending any time with God. I grew up in the church but didn’t know Him for myself. This spiral into anxiety helped me to get to know God more because after I tried so many things to relieve the pain and angst, I ran to Him. Everything that I had tried didn’t give me any lasting peace. In the end, only God did. So I did a clean sweep of everything. I changed my music-listening habits and only listened to Christian music throughout the ordeal. I started reading my Bible daily. I started praying and seeking God as I never had before. I also started slowly reentering life by focusing more at work and in school. Once I did that, the anxiety lost its power, and I moved on. I still dealt with anxiety throughout the years after the 2011 incident, but it was never to that same intensity…until this week.

Like a waterfall, those anxious and irrational thoughts came rushing back. Those same old fears tried to overpower me. But after seeking God every day for the past nine years, the concerns didn’t have the power that they once had. This year I recommitted myself to reading the Bible in its entirety. Last year I put aside my fears and joined the worship team at my church. I’ve also been vulnerable and joined a small group. Satan doesn’t like to see me putting aside my fears, so he is attacking me with the old fears. But this time, things are different. I take a deep breath and counter every fearful thought with scripture. I immerse myself in the Word, in sermons, and worship music. Things have changed for me, and I have much more faith than I did in 2011.

Satan, you will not stop me from reading my Bible and getting closer to God. I will be a light in my community and my church, shining God brightly wherever I am.

I hope this encourages someone who is dealing with any issue. Please understand that God sees you, understands, and loves you. Never lose focus of His word. When you feel yourself going off track and slipping back into who you used to be, stop, take a deep breath, pray, and seek God in His word.

Be blessed! Grab on to the peace that Jesus has already given you. You are set free!

One of my favorite songs is “No Longer Slaves.” Check out the video below for some encouragement.