Let me assure you that if the answer to the above question is “Yes”, I can empathize with you. For 30+ years of life, I was inundated by anxieties. That was my daily existence. Acute anxieties shrunk my life. I say acute rather than chronic because my experience was suffocating and oppressive. I tried to suppress, repress, depress, compress, and protest them. Nothing worked. I constantly experienced the loud crackling, buzzing “white” noise of anxiety in my mind. The result was a loss of hope and focus accompanied by depression.
Twenty years ago, I learned a huge lesson that changed my life. Anxieties were the symptoms not the cause. They reside in the weakest, most vulnerable part of your body, your emotions. Feelings are produced by self-talk. You may not be in touch with your self-talk, but it is going on all the time even when you sleep. Have you gone to bed feeling quite well yet wake up in the middle of the night being down in the dumps or shook up by anxiety or fear? Self-talk is the villain. Self-talk can be a nasty, bitter, hurtful, lustful, dark part of our flesh. It has access to all the recesses of our mind. File after file, voluminous amounts of material reside in your mind that self-talk can draw from to take you down, yet self-talk is not the core part of the chain.
The innermost thoughts at the core of your mind (also called your heart) are what can take you down. Your mental core produces self-talk. The key to emotional health is believing and abiding in the TRUTH at the heart level. If the core of your thought process is saturated with the truth, your self-talk becomes positive and productive with your emotions at peace. To facilitate this, memorize, meditate, and abide in the truths in the Bible, the living Word of God, such as the following verses:
- Proverbs 4:20-23, 20 My child, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Self-talk, emotions, and behavior are all sourced from your heart, the very core of your mind.
- Proverbs 3:5&6, 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Learn to trust God at the core of your being. Don’t go native “leaning on your own understanding”. If so, you will sink back into depression and anxiousness.
- Psalms 119:9&11, 9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word… 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
- John 17:17, Sanctify them (made whole) with truth, your word is truth.
- John 8:31&32, 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” If you “abide by” or “hold to” His Word, you will be set free because His Word is the TRUTH.
Once your heart (the core of your mind) is in order, Philippians 4:6-8 instructs us how to keep anxiety out of life. On a moment-by-moment basis, “6a Be-anxious-in-nothing” meaning every anxiety is a lie…it’s not the truth. Spit those bones out. “6b But-in-EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And (as a result of v. 6) the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Don’t heed the negative, anxiety laden self-talk thrown at you by the flesh nor allow the devil to shoot a “fiery dart” without having your spiritual armor on…BE ANXIOUS IN NOTHING. In verse 8, we are told what to focus our mind on to keep peace. Make the center of your attention to be TRUTH, NOBLE, RIGHT, PURE, and ADMIRABLE (meaning excellent or praiseworthy). “Think about such things (especially TRUTH)…put it into practice and the God of peace will be with you.”
When you first start practicing the above, your emotions may still be haywire and hurtful. They have been wired that way for a long period of time. You can’t shut off feelings like a water faucet; however, if you continue to think on the truth and memorize and “chew on” His Word daily, you will discover that your feelings will steadily subside and will synch up with your heart. It’s all about the TRUTH! Abide in His Word and “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”