My Story of Overcoming Anxiety

I know what it’s like to struggle with anxiety.

Before I dive into my story, I want to share a few, likely familiar, verses to remind us all what God’s Word says about this topic.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6–7).

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6–7).

If we truly believed and practiced these verses, our anxiety should melt away. But even though I could quote these verses, it just didn’t seem to help my feelings of anxiety. Can you relate?

#TheStruggleIsReal

My anxiety struggle started shortly after college. I majored in English education, and after graduation I was hired to teach freshmen in high school. I could not have been more excited to embark on the journey ahead!

But after the first day of school, something inside my mind snapped. I was completely overcome with anxiety. As the teacher, I was now in charge; all the students looked at me. I had to maintain control and always be expected to have the right answer. The pressure I felt proved overwhelming. I threw up every morning for two weeks and barely slept. After an extremely fervent prayer from my mom and family, I was able to stop vomiting and get myself together enough to function. However, I didn’t want to just function; I wanted to thrive.

The months passed, and I was still plagued with anxious feelings. I began to wonder if I would have to quit the job I knew I was called to do in order to have a “good,” anxiety-free life again.

Our Kingdom Authority

Divinely, I was invited to attend church with a college friend in Georgia.

Her pastor was teaching about the authority Christians have in Christ. He reminded us that through the Holy Spirit, we have the power within us to face any situation head-on and that wherever we go as Christians, we have “kingdom authority.”

In 2 Peter 1:3–4, Paul preaches a similar sermon stating:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

My friend’s pastor went on to list many times and situations in which people feel powerless. At one point he said, “When you walk into that classroom, you have kingdom authority.”

Maybe he was saying this for the students in the room, but I immediately related it to being a teacher. In that moment, something changed. It was as though I suddenly believed I could overcome my feelings. I thought, I have the power of God within me. Why am I afraid? I went to the altar and prayed that I could always walk in the authority I have as a child of God.

The next day I went to work, took a deep breath, and began anew. The anxiety didn’t go away completely for a few months, but I knew that I was going to make it. When I felt anxiety creep up, I would say to myself that I had the authority from God wherever I went, and those anxious feelings would fade.

The Freedom Is Real

I tell you this story in hopes that it will help someone who reads it overcome anxiety. I believe that Satan would love nothing more than for you to continue to suffer. The freedom you have in God is as real as the feelings of panic that may be so familiar for you.

Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Christ set us free so that we could live free. Yes, free from sin and punishment, but also free from the anxiety He commands us to cast upon Him.

I pray that if anyone reading this suffers with anxiety, that my story will soon be your story about how you left it behind and walked in the power of God. In fact, I invite you to see the end of this post as a virtual altar of sorts. You are free to pray like I did—that you can walk in the kingdom authority granted to you as a child of God.

Do you struggle with anxiety? Do you believe God’s promise that freedom is possible? Tell us about it below.

About Author

Sarah Garrett

Sarah Garrett is a passionate educator and founder of the Transformed4More Ministries that she runs with her identical twin sister. It is her desire to reach struggling teenagers and tell them about the transformative power and love of God. Her book, "So, You Think You Are Ready to Date?" released in October 2017.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • Tera V.

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a very long time. I have been terrified and paranoid of so many things. It feels like I will never escape the cycle sometimes, but this gives me hope! Thanks again!

    • Transformed4More

      You can escape it and I’m glad this gives you hope! God is able!

  • Thank you for being honest about your struggles! Anxiety is so prevalent these days, especially with young women.

    https://tizziestidbits.wordpress.com

  • While I appreciate hearing your story and I believe God can and sometimes does heal anxiety, I don’t believe it’s wise or true to say that anyone can overcome their anxiety struggles.

    As a person who gets many physical symptoms that can be explained by hardly anything other than what is known as anxiety disorder even though I rarely struggle with worry or “feelings” of anxiety, I believe pretty firmly that some people have a certain type of anxiety that is more than just a spiritual issue, similar to the concept of Bipolar disorder (which a close family member of mine has).

    Definitely, praying and trusting God helps, but as of yet it hasn’t relieved my physical symptoms anymore than it’s healed that family member of mine of their Bipolar. Actually, it’s grown worse as I’ve grown stronger in my faith and closer to Christ.

    Though I do believe some people can be healed by faith, I see my anxiety as a weakness that allows me to see God’s strength, a long-term suffering that reminds me to constantly depend on him.

    Anyways, that’s my perspective on it.

    • Leah

      I agree. Paul had a thorn in his side that God never took away… Anxiety can be that “thorn in the side” for a lot of people. That doesn’t mean stop fighting. And it doesn’t mean God won’t do a miracle. But just as I wouldn’t go around saying “God will heal everyone with diabetes if they start having a healthy diet!” I wouldn’t go around saying God will end everyone’s anxiety if they have the right mindset.

  • Kimmie

    Thank you for this post! I have a very similar story. My first year in college I was overcome with anxiety constantly, and for no apparent reason. I literally had nothing to be anxious about, yet my heart had a constant pressure I couldn’t escape and my stomach always felt sick. My life turned around when a friend of mine prayed over me and I began to believe the verses that I had heard a million times. 2 Peter 1:3 specifically was the verse that was my lifeline. My anxiety was a prison for me, and I could never feel free or joyful when it was present. Because I am a daughter of Christ, I knew that the only one who could be trying to steal my joy was Satan, and therefore came to realize that this very physical manifestation of my anxious mind was under spiritual warfare. When I came to that realization, I began using God’s word against my anxious feelings, and man did it work. I believe very literally that the Word of God is a sword for all spiritual battles. The entire time I was fighting this anxiety, I was using the wrong weapons. It has been two years now and several times I have had the anxiety try to creep back in, but I know how to fight it now, and the Holy Spirit never fails to protect my heart and mind. I am so grateful to God for making me free. I have a joy that draws people in, and I love to tell how God has given it to me.

  • Maura

    This was very encouraging. I struggle greatly with severe anxiety and depression. I started my freshman year of college this year and the first 4 weeks of college I threw up every morning (and several times throughout the day) and didn’t sleep well. Every time I have a quiz or a test I will wake up and throw up and I will be severely nauseous throughout the entire testing time. I have a panic attack disorder and I will panic randomly or it can be triggered by something. I also struggle with cutting and I am borderline anorexic and bulimic. I struggle with suicidal thoughts. I feel like this is never going to end for me. I have medicine for it, but I still feel very hopeless. I’ve called the National Suicide Hotline 4 times in the last two weeks. I don’t know how other people have overcome these problems. Please pray for me bcuz I feel like I am going to give up the fight at some point in the future.

    • mm

      Maura, i’m praying for you!

      • Maura

        thank you 🙂

    • Transformed4More

      I will be praying for you. God is a God of hope! Counseling may also be a good idea. I have had to few times and it’s really helped.

      • Maura

        I have a counsellor at school. Thanks 🙂

    • Tera V.

      I’ll be praying for you Maura!

      • Maura

        thank you =)

    • Vicki

      I’m praying for you, I have struggled with these thoughts in the past, and still struggle with depression and anxiety. God does make it easier believe someone who attempted suicide twice and has thought about it many times! Sending good thoughts your way x

  • Bianca Flores

    Thank you for the post,
    Yes, I’am still struggling with anxiety, but I know the Lord will help.
    Like, as you said I feel the same way when I go to class or encounter other people thats when those movement happen. And also with school too,.
    Thank you again

  • Victoria

    This has been a very encouraging read I am 31 and have been struggling with my mental health and anxiety since I was young (5)! I pray every night for our Fathers grace and he always makes it a little easier each day! And I have his grace with me everyday in my daughter Grace x thank you so much

  • Rhiannon

    I suffer from anxiety. It sort of creeps in the background most of the time, waiting to launch itself at anything worthy of its attention – like news headlines, for instance. There’s so many scary ones!
    I am also going to get a (small) filling today. I’m quite nervous about that as I’ve never had one before. But I will pray and walk into that room with as much courage as I can muster. Thanks for this post.

  • Landry

    Wow. This was awesome. I struggle a lot with anxiety regarding things that normally wouldn’t even phase me, but Satan knows where I am weak, and he does everything he can to make me so bound by anxiety that I just want to give up. Recently, I did something very new and very exciting, but for several days before hand, I was so anxious I could hardly sleep. I prayed fervently to the Lord to relieve me and that I would trust in him. He gave me peace all the rest of that day! I know that the Lord gives victory. I just have to keep reminding myself of that. He has the power to conquer all and it has been given to ME! Thank you Jesus for your grace to me.