Recap: Commentary from Last Reader Poll
The results of the last poll on the Home Page of our website were quite interesting. We’ll look at each question and the breakdown of answers that followed.
Question one asked if readers thought Christians should take medication for anxiety and panic. An overwhelming majority (87.6%) of the respondents felt that, yes, it was okay to take medication for these types of illnesses. I tend to agree with this line of thought. I believe God gave us the wisdom to develop medications that would work to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and panic, regardless of how we got to that predicament in the first place. Dr. I.V. Hilliard of Houston, TX, tends to support this stand as well, as he has commented that “medication doesn’t hinder spiritual healing.” I believe his statement and further it by saying that medication can complement the spiritual healing process.
Question two asked for comments concerning where the major battle is fought – either the mind, with our thoughts and fear being the primary factors, or in our physical bodies, with brain chemicals and other physical issues being the major focal point.
Just over 77% of respondents thought that the primary battle is fought in the mind, while only 22.5% felt the main problem is with the balance of the brain chemicals. My personal belief is that the mind does play a major role in our ability to overcome anxiety, panic and fear. However, we cannot overlook the extremely important part that our body’s neurotransmitters play in an anxiety disorder. Many times simply getting these back into balance will greatly improve the way the person feels and help him or her return to normal daily activities.
Our final question asked readers which was more difficult to deal with – thinking about the symptoms of anxiety and panic (anticipatory anxiety), or the actual symptoms themselves. These results were a little closer: 54% said thinking about the symptoms was more difficult, while 46% said the actual symptoms were harder to combat.
I find it not surprising that the anticipatory anxiety was out in front of the actual symptoms. Typically, this is the most difficult to overcome even for those who are not in the acute phases of panic disorder any longer. It is thinking about what might happen or getting into the “supposed” or “what-if” thinking that is so hard to change…but that is what we teach on this site. Changing how you think is what will change your life! And getting the Word of God down on the inside of you, so that the Word is what is on your mind and on your lips, will transform your thinking and drive the grips of fear and panic right out of your life!
It’s A Battle for the “High Places” by Angela Brittain
You’ve heard the Proverb, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Prov. 23:7). Well, the devil knows that is true. The enemy knows that where the mind goes, the man follows, and that what you think about, you become!!!! The mind and thoughts of a man are powerful, and that is why the devil fights so hard to get your thoughts to focus on anything but the Word of God.
Paul knew what a tremendous spiritual battle was going on when he wrote in Philippians 4:8, “Think on these things: whatsoever things are pure, lovely, true, …” Yes, it is possible to control your thoughts! Look here at 2 Corinthians 10:4: “The weapons of God are not carnal, but are mighty before God to pull down strongholds. In as much as we refute arguments and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God – we lead every thought and purpose captive into the obedience of Christ.”
What are these verses talking about? Thoughts!! High and lofty things are thoughts…but we have authority in Jesus to pull them down!!!! They must come into the obedience of God’s word!! Let’s go to Ephesians 6:12: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places.” I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is not just referring to heavenly places, but also to our minds. Our thoughts. The “high places” are our minds – where we think and feel. It is a battle for those high places and let me tell you the enemy knows the value of having our thoughts. In fact, big business even knows the value of our thoughts!
It used to be that advertisers just wanted to get their product within physical proximity to you. Coca Cola used to have a goal to get a Coke product within 8 ft. of everyone on the planet. Now they want a certain percent of every individual’s “mind share.” They want a certain portion of your thoughts every day to be about Coca Cola!
Well the enemy wants a certain portion of your thoughts to be about the plans he has for you instead of the plans God has for you. But I am here to tell you that I am not going to give up any of my “mind share” to the enemy. I am not going to share any part of my mind with the devil and neither should you!!! Because when we get into fear and into thinking that God’s not going to do what He says He’s going to do, that’s when we start getting anxious. When we get our eyes off God, we get into trouble because we move into fear and move out of faith.
If we want to change our lives, we’ve got to change the way we think, and it starts with getting rid of the enemy’s words and replacing them with God’s Word!!!! Glory to God!!!
Many of the e-mails from readers concern coping with the various symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks and seek ideas for getting through the tough times. The “Coping Corner” will address a specific symptom. The first symptom we will address is “Fearful or Negative Thoughts.”
I have heard it said that the “battlefield of the mind” is where the most important wars are fought. I believe this to be true. The enemy of our soul, satan, comes at us in our minds with negative and even irrational thoughts. It is difficult for Christians without anxiety disorders to win these battles, but even more so for those who struggle with fear on a deeper level. Those people in a worn-out physical, mental and emotional state are far more likely to succumb to negative thoughts.
Negative or “stinkin’ thinkin’” as I call it, comes in many forms. It can be a simple, “You’ll never be able to hold down a job,” or, “you’ll never find someone who understands you.” Or, it can even be more disturbing, “you won’t live to overcome this…it’s bigger than you!”
However, believe it or not, our thought-life is the simplest thing to control. In fact, it is easier to control our thoughts than to control how we feel physically. And many times, the former governs the latter. So if we can conquer our thoughts, our physical bodies come in line as well.
The first thing I want to establish here is that satan is a liar and the father of lies. He perverts the truth to get us to buy into it, just like he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden. God is love and He speaks the truth...He can’t lie and His Word is truth. His Word is infallible. So the most important thing to do is to fill your mind with the Word of God. Fill your mind with truth. If you focus on truth, you will soon begin to immediately recognize the false words and lies of the enemy.
Psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that you need to overcome negative, fearful thoughts by replacing them with positive thinking. This is so true…but God thought of it first when He said in Joshua 1:8 to “meditate on His word day and night.” He originated positive thinking!
So when the enemy comes at you, telling you that you can’t do something, immediately recognize his lies for what they are and think and say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Phil. 4:13). When you hear in your mind that “God doesn’t love you and He’ll never forgive you for what you’ve done,” recognize that this is contrary to the Word of God and say, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever should believe on him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16). By the way, you are a “whosoever!”) When fear has you shaking in your shoes, remember that Jesus said in this world you will have tribulation and trials. But He also said to “fear not for I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33).
The key is to make the positive thoughts the dominant thoughts and run those negative thoughts right out, learn to recognize them at their onset and cast them out immediately! God tells us in Phil.4:8 to “Think on these things.” If we couldn’t control our thought and minds, He wouldn’t tell us to do so. It will take work and discipline, but you can do it and win in the battlefield of your mind!
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the most frequently asked questions from our readers is whether or not I, the author of “Don’t Forget To Look Up,” still suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. The answer to that question is two-fold: 1) I no longer have full-blown anxiety and panic attacks, as I did in the acute stages of the disorder. 2) However, I do still experience symptoms from time to time.
Persons have commented and asked : “If you still experience symptoms, then how can you say that you have ‘overcome’ the disorder?” I believe the answer to that question is “Because anxiety and panic attacks, or thoughts thereof, no longer consume my everyday life. They no longer fill up my thoughts nor do they govern the decisions I make.”
Back in the acute stages of the disorder, I would hardly go one hour without anxiety and panic attacks or their symptoms consuming my every thought. Now, I go throughout daily life, week to week, month to month, hardly giving notice to the fact that I was previously diagnosed with panic disorder. Only from time to time do I get a brief reminder of that fact. I may have a bout with dizziness or nausea. I may have an overwhelmed or detached feeling, or sporadic fearful, negative thoughts. But I find that is usually when I have allowed myself to become too burdened with commitments and pressured to take on too many responsibilities. At those times, I back off and slow down and realize that I am still vulnerable and that if I am not careful and wise, I can slip back into old behavior patterns.
All this was said to encourage you! One day you will be free from panic and anxiety! Yes, one day you will not be consumed with the thoughts of your illness, wondering if you will ever feel “normal” again. And most likely, it will come as a pleasant surprise…it did for me!
Check back for the latest articles to be added to our website. In the meantime, check out our Online Store tab on the menu bar to look at our products that can help get you or someone you know free from panic! And don't forget to sign up at our "Registration Form" on the Homepage to receive e-mail messages from Angela to encourage and inspire you.
As I mentioned in my Overcomer's E-mail, there have been a lot of searches lately that have come to our site looking for ways to overcome the fear of driving. Whether it be driving alone, driving at night, long distances, or highway driving that causes the greatest fear, I believe that the following practical steps will be of help.
First of all, changing the way you think and speak about driving is imperative. You will never conquer your fear if you walk around all the time saying "I can't drive" or "I'm afraid to drive" or "I could never drive." I am not saying to be untruthful about it, but it sure is much better to say, "I struggle in that area right now, but the Lord and I are working on it."
Second, find yourself a positive, affirming scripture that you can begin to speak into your situation several times a day. For instance, "I am more than a conqueror through Christ," "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," "God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind," "Greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world," "I will not fear. I will be strong and of good courage because the Lord God is with me wherever I go."
It is powerful to know scriptures and to be able to say them silently to yourself, but it is even more powerful when you speak them into the atmosphere and get into agreement with what God says about you. Speaking God's word into the atmosphere starts to change the environment from a negative one to a positive one.
Thirdly, practice exposure therapy. No, this doesn't have anything to do with developing film, it has to do with gradually exposing yourself to that which causes you to fear. Now, before you say, "Yeh, right, I'm outta here," hear me out. We worked on this with a lady in our Canton support group who had a severe fear of driving. And I am happy to say that at the last two meetings, she confronted that fear of driving by driving to the meetings herself, on the highway, at night!
The way exposure therapy works is that you first sit in your house someplace comfortable and think about driving. If it is night driving or driving alone that is particularly difficult for you, then picture yourself in that situation. When you can think about driving without having symptoms of anxiety, then you can progress to sitting in a car. Go sit in the car for several minutes, and when you can do that without experiencing symptoms, then the next time, start the ignition. Just sit there for a few minutes with the engine running (make sure your garage door is open!), then turn off the key, and go back in the house.Do that a few times, and when you can sit in a running car without getting overly anxious, then progress to pulling to the end of the driveway, then going around the block. The key is to take baby steps forward at a comfortable pace.
Again, making sure that you change your thinking about driving is so important. Telling yourself that you can do it and that you are calm, confident and functioning normally is a form of "positive self talk" that affirms and keeps you moving forward. It is all about getting rid of that stronghold of fear that has set up a fortress in your mind. And in order to get rid of that stronghold you have to tear down its dwelling place...which is the arena of the thoughts. So get rid of those old thoughts, replace them with new thoughts and soon when fear comes back knocking at the door, it will find that faith has moved in!
We can send the enemy running in the other direction by getting into agreement with God and submitting to Him. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you." That's a process that results in the enemy fleeing from you!
Dr. Creflo Dollar said once that the word "flee" literally means to "run with fear." The enemy came to bring fear to you. But when you submit to God, get in agreement with Him, then resist the enemy, refusing to give in to fear, he will take the fear that he came at you with and run the other way! That sounds much better than receiving the fear that he brings and staying in bondage!!!
I hope this helps some of you that are struggling with the fear of driving. Please feel free to give me feedback via the Contact Us page. God bless!