When I was in my early 30’s, I was diagnosed with high anxiety. I made the decision not to use medication, and try to manage it myself. I lived feeling crippled emotionally for years, never really living my best life. But over time, by applying a couple of practical strategies into my life, I was not only able to manage my anxiety but eventually overcome it and live a life free from it.
My breakthrough came when my anxiety was at its worst. I got to the point I just could not and did not want, to live feeling so trapped with fear and worry anymore. I was so tired of having to constantly fight it from taking over my thinking and my natural desire to get out and explore and socialise. I decided enough was enough and told God I needed him to completely heal me from high anxiety or take me to heaven. I was not living life to the full as he promised in His word and I wanted Him to fix it.
It was after this very honest conversation with God that I discovered a very well known author and public speaker Caroline Leaf and her teaching on eliminating toxic thinking. She developed a 21-day brain detox program that I believe God led me to take part in. This program became my starting point for not just managing anxiety but completely overcoming it.
Since doing the 21-day program, I have been applying 3 keys in my everyday life that have helped me be anxiety-free for over 10 years. I do hope that by sharing my personal success story, it can help you live your life to the full, anxiety and worry-free.
1. What are you THINKING?
Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will
To overcome anxiety, we need to pay close attention to our thoughts and intentionally put a stop to those that are fueling our anxiety and replace them with the truth of God’s word.
'Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free”
I now live by the idea that I need to stop a worrying thought as soon as I get it and replace it with the truth. For example, I may not know the outcome of a decision, but I choose to believe God’s plans are for good and not for evil. He goes before me, preparing a path for me. He is for me, not against me.
2 Corinthians 10:5
‘We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ’,
When a negative thought is left unchecked, we give it permission to run wild in our imagination and give it the power to guide our decisions or saturate our thinking.
Paying attention to our thoughts and taking them captive helps us identify what is good and what is not, what is God and what is flesh, what brings life and what brings death. Being mindful of our thoughts will determine what pattern our life will follow.
Phillipians 4:8 says
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is
pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think
about such things.
This passage explains the importance of making a very conscious effort to stop thinking about our worries and anxieties, the negative opinions and judgments, the what if’s in life, and choose to focus on the things in our lives that are good and perfect. Developing a habit of trading our negative and damaging thoughts with good and positive thoughts will eventually change the way we naturally think.
2. What are you SAYING?
‘A small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the
winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
6 ‘ The tongue is like a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the
whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire.’
We often think before speaking to other people, being careful not to offend or hurt them with our words. We don’t however always take the same care or consideration when talking about ourselves or our circumstances. We let loose whatever comes to mind without considering its effect on us.
The passage above explains that what we say can determine the outcome of our lives. If our words are full of fear and anxiety, our lives will be led by fear and anxiety. No line is a throwaway line, every word has an affect.
“The tongue has the power of life and death.”
The Message version says “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit - you
To live free of anxiety, we need to pay closer attention to what we are saying about our lives, especially at home when no one else is listening, and deliberately change our speech. Our words should be like good food that encourages us, builds our faith, uplifts our spirits, and creates joy and peace. I try to consciously stop talking myself into a place of worry and fear, self-hatred and self-pity and instead talk myself into a place of faith. Positivity does not come naturally to me, I had to reprogram my thinking by changing my speech.
3. Who are you lISTENING TO?
Who you allow to speak into your life or have an influence in your life will slowly change the way you think, speak, and act. Choosing to surround yourself with uplifting, life-giving, faith-filled, encouraging people can affect your outlook on life.
Proverbs 13:20 says ‘Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers
Proverbs 12:18 ‘The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the
wise brings healing’
When facing a difficult situation, it’s imperative we make every effort to connect with faith-filled, positive people. Talking through our feelings with critical, negative, or doubtful people will only increase our worries and anxieties. Being mindful that who we give permission to speak into our life can either bring healing or bring harm should motivate us to choose our friends and influences wisely.
Anxiety can be very overwhelming, but it does not have to define us or control our lives. God wants us to live free from it and learn how to overcome our fear of it.
It was when I turned to God that I discovered my path to freedom. I encourage you to start your journey by asking God to give you the strength to take the necessary steps to break free from all anxiety too.
Dr Caroline Leaf - 21 Day Brain Detox
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ps Robyn Stevenson is a powerful preacher wife, mother, and mentor. Having been in Ministry for over 20 years, 15 of which at iSEE CHURCH, Robyn has done it all! Kids ministry, campus pastoring, church planting, lecturing and mentoring at iSEE College, and preaching around the world!