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Anxiety is my trigger to pray

By Candida Sullivan

Columnist

For most of my life, I have lived with anxiety. It has been crippling at times. To the point that I have lived in a state of constant panic. Always believing that something bad was about to happen. I took three pills every day to help with the anxiety attacks, but the attacks still happened. They were terrifying. God helped me to learn to overcome my anxiety.

Now anxiety is my trigger to pray. It reminds me that I am fearful and worrying about something. Anxiety attacks me when I am trying to live in the future, and worrying about things that might happen one day. So when the anxious feelings emerge, I bring myself back to the present moment. I do this with prayer. I talk to God and tell Him what is troubling me. Then, I ask Him to help me.

Writing in a journal is a way for me to discover the thought causing my heartache. Usually, it is one thought ruminating in my mind. When I can put the thought on paper, then I can analyze it and search for the truth. Most of the time, the thought causing all my heartache is a lie.

When we train our brains to look for the solution, instead of worrying about the problem, then we can find a way to overcome whatever is bothering us. If we just keep our minds focused on the problem, then it intensifies our anxious feelings. We can’t argue with reality. I’m learning to accept the things I can’t change and to pray about the things that trouble my heart.

Breathing deeply and recalling bible verses also helps me. When I am fearful, this is my favorite verse.

John 14:27 (KJV)

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The enemy loves to attack us and attempt to steal our peace. Fear and worry are vices of the enemy. While I may not be able to defeat the enemy on my own, God can defeat Him for me. When I start drifting away from the Lord, then I become weaker and the enemy has more power over me. Therefore, when I feel those emotions, I seek the Lord.

God can either change my situation or change my thoughts about my situation. The majority of my problems are created in my own thinking. In all reality, the things I worry about never happen. I have learned that I am a masterful storyteller and create many of my problems with my imagined tragedies. The good news is if I change my thoughts, then I can change my life.

When my books first came out, I had so many interviews and speaking engagements. The anxiety prevented me from sleeping the night before events. I was so fearful that I would say something wrong. Then, God showed me how to reframe my thoughts. Now when I stand before hundreds of people, I feel gratitude for the experience instead of fear. We can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time. While I still get nervous, I think of how blessed I am to get to share my story with so many people at once. I feel the nerves and use the emotions to humble me. Anxiety tells me that I have to do it all on my own. Faith tells me to turn my problems over to God and trust Him to help me.

Candida Sullivan is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker, and certified life coach. Her book, Despite Your Circumstances, won the 2016 CSPA book of the year award. It is her passion to help others learn to overcome their own circumstances. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and children. If you’d like to contact her, please email her at candida@candidasullivan.com.