Answers for anxiety (Part 1)

Do you often feel anxious? Overwhelmed by worst-case scenarios, no matter how unlikely they might be? Physically sick because you are emotionally stuck on a negative thought?

Recently, I reached out to a Christian counselor for some advice. While I personally haven’t struggled with crippling anxiety (yet), I know and love many people who do.

The counselor replied with a link to a kids’ book published by the American Psychiatric Association entitled What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety. Yesterday the book came in the mail, and I found it immensely helpful. 

Here are two tips that I learned, which I want to pass on to you:

1. If you’re worried sick, call for help—On one page, the author asks kids to “X” the spots on an outlined body that hurts when they are worried. She went on to explain that worry can make your head hurt, your stomach ache, and your body sweat. Often our physical hurts are connected to our mental health. 

The healing solution? Call for help! When a worry crosses your mind, verbalize it to another person. Set a time each day/week to express all your worries to a loved one. Like mold, worries grow in the darkness, so get them out of your head and bring them into the light.

James’ words come to mind: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:14-16).

Jesus’ brother knew of the connection between healing and confession. Sometimes (but not always) sickness is connected to sin. Unconfessed worries, which are, in essence, believing that the devil has kicked God off his throne, can mess with more than your mind. So call up the church, confess your sins, and pray for God to do something powerful.

That just might be the step that heals you.

2. Worries love to lie—On one memorable page, the author asks kids to draw “Worry Monsters,” ugly little creatures that crawl up on our shoulders and whisper worries into our ears. Like the classic movie Dumb and Dumber line—“One in a million? So, you’re saying there’s a chance!”—Worry Monsters love to assume that you’re going to beat the lotterylike odds and end up crashing into every possible tragedy.

Remember what Jesus said about our spiritual enemy, the devil? “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). The real Worry Monster is not some ugly, shoulder-sitting creature but that fallen angel who rages against Jesus, the Truth, by peddling half-truths and outright lies.

The solution? Call him what he is—a liar! In the book, the author lets kids fill in some speech bubbles with the things they plan to say to their Worry Monsters. We Christians can do the same. “Satan, you lie. My Father said nothing can separate me from his love.” “Devil, you don’t know what you’re talking about. My Jesus promised he will never leave me or forsake me.” “You liar! The Bible guarantees my God is working everything out for our good.”

One little word can fell him. So, use that little word—Liar!

I’m not done with the book just yet, so I’ll share another post when I finish. Until then, if anxiety is your issue (or the issue of someone you love), grab a copy of the book. Or just grab your copy of the Book, the one that promises that anxiety cannot win if Jesus is on the throne.

Thank God he still is. That’s why worry will never have the last word.

Pastor Mike Novotny has served God’s people in full-time ministry since 2007 in Madison and, most recently, at The CORE in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also serves as the lead speaker for Time of Grace, where he shares the good news about Jesus through television, print, and online platforms. Mike loves seeing people grasp the depth of God’s amazing grace and unstoppable mercy. His wife continues to love him (despite plenty of reasons not to), and his two daughters open his eyes to the love of God for every Christian. When not talking about Jesus or dating his wife/girls, Mike loves playing soccer, running, and reading.

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