Learning to Surrender an Anxious Heart
We all experience anxiety on some level.
Some walk around with worries filling the back of their minds.
And others are cloaked with a deeper and more consuming anxiety.
I admit that I have been both.
Anxiety has peeked its ugly head into my life in so many different ways.
And each time I struggle with the same thing.
I struggle to surrender my anxiety to the Lord.
The anxiety I experience pushes me even further from the Lord and the peace He offers.
I want to hold on. I want control. And I think that if I try hard enough, I can find my own peace, my own relief.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The truth is the more we try to control and subdue our anxiety on our own, the more it grows wildly out of control.
Now this is where I pause and say that I am not a doctor and some forms of anxiety require medical attention. If you feel you have this sort of anxiety, I highly recommend seeing a counselor or psychologist.
[bctt tweet="The truth is the more we try to control and subdue our anxiety on our own, the more it grows wildly out of control." username="NicoleAKauffman"]
The anxiety I am referring to is the kind that stems from running. The kind that results from unaddressed thoughts. The anxiety that results from a fear of surrender.
If you paused and took a long, hard look at your life, would you see parts that you struggle to surrender?
Parts of your past?
Parts of your hurts?
Parts of your plans?
As I consider the parts of my life I struggle to surrender, I find that most of my anxiety stems from there.
For me it is a wounded past, a broken identity, a fear of losing those I love. These things morph into anxiety and constantly wear at my heart.
So let’s take a look at how we can discover the truth about our anxiety and learn to surrender it to the Lord. As you do, you will find true peace and lasting hope that will carry you through your moments of anxiety.
Consider the Root
Take a moment to consider what may be behind your anxiety. Anxiety is often the outward expression of an inward pain.
[bctt tweet="Anxiety is often the outward expression of an inward pain." username="NicoleAKauffman"]
What is it that sparks your anxiety?
Consider fears. Consider the desire for control or predictability. Consider hurts or unforgiveness in your life.
The biggest struggle for me is my teetering trust in the Lord. I struggle to trust that He will sustain me. I struggle to rest in the peace that no matter how painful life may be, that He is good and will provide.
As we let these things fester in the background, Satan takes it as an invitation to attack, to manipulate. And many times, the result is anxiety.
When I allow my fears, my desire for control, or my hurts to remain hidden in the back of my mind, Satan convinces me that I cannot rely on my trust in the Lord.
And when this doubt grows, my anxiety grows.
Do you struggle to trust God in every part of your life?
Let’s take the courageous step to an honest look at our hearts. As you do this, you just might discover the very root of your anxiety.
Pray: Just Do It
Sometimes the very last thing I want to do when I am anxious is to pray.
When I’m tense, nervous and my thoughts are wildly out of control, I can’t imagine slowing down and speaking to the Lord. I can’t even conjure up the words I would want to say.
But when our anxiety stems from our brokenness, we must speak light into the moment.
We must reach out to God in order to reclaim any sense of peace and hope.
I have a prayer journal where I record prayers that I can pray when I struggle to think of what to say.
I also have prayer cards in my Free Resource Library for when it is hard to pray.
These resources can help you to take the small step that will make an enormous difference.
Prayer orients our minds away from the moment we are in and towards the love and sovereignty of the Lord.
[bctt tweet="Prayer orients our minds away from the moment we are in and towards the love and sovereignty of the Lord." username="NicoleAKauffman"]
The next time you are feeling anxious, I encourage you to take the small step to offer your heart to the Lord. Even if it is a pre-written prayer that you struggle to get through.
God knows what you are able to give and He will reward you when you do.
Cling to the Truth
In a moment of anxiety, lies have the opportunity to run rampant.
Our guards are down. Our hearts our distracted. Our minds are imprisoned. And Satan steps in.
[bctt tweet="In a moment of anxiety, lies have the opportunity to run rampant." username="NicoleAKauffman"]
But he doesn’t have to get very far.
When we experience anxiety it is so important to cling to the truth.
There are two major ways in which we can do this.
1. The Word of God
The Word of God is our weapon against the lies. It is the light that sears through the darkness.
It can sustain and it can defend.
We must actively and diligently study the Bible and memorize or write down Scripture that we can turn to in a moment of anxiety.
Consider the root you discovered previously. What lies feed this belief?
For a broken identity, I’ve memorized and recorded verses about who I am in Christ. And when I become anxious, I cling to those truths.
Take time to learn what God says about who you are and who He is in your specific struggle.
And then learn to cling to those truths so that you may find strength and peace even when anxiety threatens to take over.
2. Accountability and Encouragement
The power of a friend or mentor in a time of anxiety is so important.
Often times, we are blinded by anxiety. We struggle to remember the plans we want to carry out, we struggle to remember the truth, we struggle to pray and we struggle to surrender.
But a friend can be that source of accountability. They can remind you of the commitments you made and encourage you to keep stepping forward.
They can sit with you in the pain and help you discover what lies beneath.
Consider reaching out to those you trust and asking for accountability or encouragement.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Learning to Surrender
As you take these steps in your moments of anxiety, the Lord will slowly mold and transform your heart. You will find the strength and the trust to surrender your pains to the Lord.
Surrender is not a one-step process. It doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes willingness. It takes action. And it takes transformation.
The Lord is working inside your heart. He is transforming you to be a radiant and powerful light for His Kingdom.
I really wonder why is it so hard to surrender. The comments made here are encouraging,to see that one is not alone in fighting anxiety and fear makes me determined to do it Inspite of all that.
It truly is learning to surrender that anxious heart right in the moment! It IS hard to make ourselves pray and do the right things when the emotions and feelings are dragging us in the complete opposite direction. Love the tips you have here. Another solid post that I can’t wait to share!
Blessings and smiles,
Nicole- I struggle too with anxiety! Lots of wisdom and tips here! Thank you for sharing!
Anxiety is such a powerful tool of the enemy. I fight it daily. But praise God HE is greater in me than he who is in this world. I love what Meg said: practice the pause… ““Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalms 46:10 NLT
Thank you for this…so encouraging. I too struggle with some of the same things you do and for the same reason so I can so relate. Thank God for His constant love, offer of peace and the invite to surrender it all to Him.
I don’t struggle with anxiety but definitely with trusting the Lord and surrender. When life hasn’t been kind or we don’t have a well of blessings to pull from to remind us the trust issue explodes and Satan can wreck havoc!!
Hi, Nicole! Thanks for linking up with God-sized Dreams and for your words of encouragement her on such an important topic. So many people struggle with anxiety. I’ve definitely been there myself and been through a range of different approaches to easing it. Have a wonderful day!
I struggle with low doses of anxiety that unfortunately seems to run in my family in varying degrees. Thankfully mine isn’t debilitating, just annoying. Thanks for sharing these tips, Nicole.
Nicole, this is a beautiful post about how to surrender ourselves and deal with anxiety! I would add taking our anxious thoughts captive and not allow them to root in the first place. Definitely sharing this one! 🙂 Misty
Such great truths in this post! I have also found that trying to deal with my own anxiety or fear alienates me from others. When I try to deal with the fear or anxiety alone, the fear becomes larger in my mind. When I tell someone about it or talk about it, the fear doesn’t seem nearly as big. I also love using scripture to speak over myself. It is something that I’m learning to do daily.
The accountability is a big thing for my husband and I. I really can’t go into details because it’s not really my story to share, but our apartment and neighborhood is marked by two connected traumatic events. So we both deal with anxiety off and on. When we are open about it, we’re able to pray together and calm down. When we buy into that lie that we shouldn’t trouble the other, then the anxiety grows stronger.
Awesome post! Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement.
I love this… and the key is to regularly practice the pause 🙂
Yes, definitely! Thanks, Meg!
Pray, just do it! Yes! It amazes me how hard surrender seems when I’m anxious until I just get still before the Lord and remember who He is. Then it’s often like “why didn’t I just pray sooner?!” Thanks for your wisdom on this!
I completely understand, Bethany! It’s so crazy how we forget so easily! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I feel you are talking to me this very moment, and it is a message I need reminded of quite frequently! Thank you for the encouragment and reminder.
I’m glad you found encouragement here, Crystal! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your heart!