Lessons Learned/Practical Application
by Kimberly Northrup-Vaughn
God has accomplished great deliverance in my life. I still have so far to go, but He has delivered me from the pits. I praise God for what I have been through because it brought me to such desperation that I was willing to seek God with every ounce of my being in order to find my way out.
From my experiences and the WORD OF GOD I believe that we can all be free. By this I do not mean that we will never again struggle with fear or anxiety or panic attacks. However, I believe completely that this means we do not have to live with these things controlling us or being a controlling factor in lives. We don’t have to live with them hanging over our heads. Why am I so confident of this? Because in His Word God makes it clear that He wants to be the only One that has power over us.
“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Luke 16:13)
While this last passage in particular addresses the love of money, the principle remains the same – We can only have one master. If fear and anxiety rule and control us, then are we really allowing God to have control over us?
Jesus also promised that those who gave their lives to Him could have an abundant life.
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)
In Jesus we are not meant to simply exist and survive, but we are meant to THRIVE – to be truly alive!
With all of that in mind, here are some practical things I have learned, and I believe these things can help you along on your journey too:
1. If we go to the Word of God and our anxiety only gets worse (as I’ve heard some of you all say, and as I experienced.), this is not from God.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
We have to remember that we have an enemy (Satan) that is looking to discredit the authority or power of God’s Word. He does not want us to be free. So it is only normal that we who are seeking to be free would encounter obstacles of anxiety when we go to God’s Word. After all, if we become free from the power of anxiety in our lives, Satan has a lot to lose and God has a lot of glory to receive.
So don’t let increased feelings of anxiety to stir you away from God’s Word. Instead, let it make you all the more determined – Look into God’s Word until you find peace!
2. The Word of God is SO important to us in our struggles.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) “He sent forth His Word and healed them.” (Psalm 107:20)
No matter the struggle or issue, all the answers and help we need are in there. We can be familiar with all the stories and verses, but we need to always go back with a heart and mind that are willing to learn something new. The Holy Spirit is always ready to bring us to new levels through the Word, even through verses we have heard a million times.
3. We can’t just be encouraged by the Word – we have to apply it. Not just with areas of anxiety, but also with other areas where we are struggling.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
When we apply the truth, God shows us over time how He is faithful to accomplish His Word. As we take steps of faith in our lives and see that God remains faithful and true, it encourages us to take more steps.
4. We who are in so much bondage to anxiety and fear need to make the Word our lifeline. Carry Scriptures around with you. Make them always in front of you. Tape them on your cabinets and bathroom mirrors, in your car, or wherever else you will see them frequently.
5. Don’t just focus on Scriptures about anxiety and peace. Focus on Scriptures about God’s character. Like Psalm 145:8-9. We need to let it sink into our hearts and minds how good and loving and powerful our God is!
6. Find ways to get in-person Christian fellowship. Maybe your first step of faith is inviting someone from your church over to your house to visit you, even if that means them coming to your bedroom, if you are stuck in your bedroom. Even if it’s just a pastor. One of the ways that God shows us His love is through His people. When we experience God’s love, that helps to cast out the fear.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18)
7. We need the body of Christ. Don’t allow pride to keep you from asking for prayers as much as you need it (not just in this group, but with other Christians you know too). Sometimes we’re tempted to think, “Oh they’re sick of hearing from me – they don’t want to hear this.” But that is from the enemy. The Bible makes it very clear that prayer plays a crucial part in certain trials and spiritual battles.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
8. Be desperate and be honest with God.
“He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea.” (Psalm 102:17) To be destitute is to be needy – We show we have great need of God when we go to Him for more than a quick prayer. These quick prayers make Him out to be more like our wish-granter rather than our soul-fulfiller.
9. Ask God for wisdom – in everything.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
Stop analyzing things and trying to understand things on your own. Our own wisdom hasn’t exactly put us where we want – we might as well give it up and trust God’s wisdom. It is FAR BETTER than our own!
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:8&9)
10. “But when he asks (for wisdom), he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6&7)
Keep on asking God to help your unbelief, as you encounter it. Jesus honored the man that cried out
“‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” (Mark 9:24)
Be the “persistent widow” (Luke 18:1-8) in asking for the Lord to help your unbelief.
JESUS is the ultimate healer and deliverer. Every single one of us can be FREE, as we allow the blood of Jesus to touch every crevice of who we are!