Posts Tagged ‘habits’

Worry is another word for anxiety.  Do you worry?  We can worry about the past, the present and the future.  What do you worry about?  All of them?  I did at one time, but I’ve come a long way in that department, and pray you will too. 

For a long time I blamed my mother for my worry.  You see she was a great worrier, and I figured it was in my genes.  My mother’s sister was also a great worrier, and you know what, she died an early death because of it.  She literally worried herself to death.  She had every disease you can imagine. (At least she thought she did.)  She went to doctor after doctor and I’m aware of at least a couple of doctors that refused to see her because she was such a worry wort.  She would not take their advice, and took all kinds of medication, which of course, she knew more than the doctors about how much and how to take it.  I feel bad she died relatively young, but she did it to herself.  She was very hard to be around, as she was always crying over her kids problems, and worrying about everything.  She was so very self-centered and was a nervous wreak most of the time. 

My mom worried a lot too, and I think for me it was a learned behavior.  When you live with someone like that for 20 years you just kind of pick it up.  So, I started out that way.  Most likely that is what lead me down the trail to panic attacks.  The actual attacks started in my early 20’s.  But, all my life I remember how nervous I felt all the time and how I would worry over everything. I had to take care of my little sister a lot growing up while my parents worked, and that was a lot of responsibility for a kid to carry. 

It’s sad to think that people have to live that way.  In fact, the older I get the sadder it becomes.  I see people everyday who are ruining their health just because they worry.  It is such a waste of the time that the Lord has given us. 

Here is something I learned that is very important and I hope you will take to heart.   People in the world (unbelievers) have to worry.  Why?  Because they have only themselves to rely on.  Everything is all up to them.  They have to fight their way through life, figure all the angles and make sure things are going their way.  They have to worry about their jobs, food, clothing, health, and everything else.  They are just “out there” on their own.  Have you ever thought of that?  I hadn’t until recently. 

Christians, on the other hand, DON’T HAVE TO WORRY!  We really don’t!  We are living in an entirely different spiritual realm than unbelievers.  We have been adopted into God’s family.  He is our Father!  He is our Provider!He is our Savior! He is our Comforter!  He is our Guide!  He is our Counselor!  He is our Healer!  He is in control over everything in our lives.  We do not have to figure out every detail in life, and fret and worry about them.

So, why then, do we worry?  We shouldn’t.  It is because we were raised in this world and worry has become a habit we have learned along the way.  We need to learn new habits and put off the old habit of worry and anxiety.  We think we have to be in control of everything that effects our lives.  But, is that true?  No!  Not when we are a Christian.  God has bought us with a price and He controls us.  He is our Lord and Master.  We are His children and need to look to Him for every need. 

When we become a Christian we do not realize that God will take care of us in every way.  We still hang on to the worldly way of thinking.  That is our mistake! We need to stop thinking like unbelievers!   They have to worry.  We don’t!  We have been set free from worry when we were saved because Christ died and rose again and in doing so enabled us to become new creations.  We are actually new persons inside.  

2Co 5:17 NASB Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

But, we still live in the old fleshly body and are constantly bombarded with it’s desires and feelings. Those old feelings lure us into the trap of worry.  We have a certain physical feeling, like rapid heartbeat, and right away our mind takes off on a worry trip.  We start with the “what if” thoughts.  “What if I’m having a heart attack?”  What if I’m going to have a panic attack?”  “What if I pass out?”  And, on and on it goes.  We are worrying and causing ourselves much anxiety.  Finally, if we don’t know how to stop this process we will end up having a full-blown panic attack.

Is there an answer to this?  A war rages as the old flesh fights our new spirit.  But, God says, He is greater. 

1Jn 4:4 NASB You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

God is more powerful.  He has given believers the Holy Spirit to live in us and gives us power to overcome. 

2Ti 1:14 NASB Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to

you.

 

Eph 3:16 NASB that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

2Pe 1:3 NASB seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

God has given us everything we need to live our Christian lives in a God honoring way. 

Gal 5:16 NASB But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Rom 8:13 NASB for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

God calls us to stop living according to the world.  We are to die to that when we become Christians.  The Holy Spirit which indwells us gives us the power to put to death the deeds of the flesh.  In other words, He gives us the power to stop worrying.  We can do it!

Below is part of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians believers:

Eph 1:19-20 NASB and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (20) which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

Just what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe?   Paul is emphasizing that the extraordinary divine force by which Jesus Christ was raised from the dead is the same power at work in and through believers.  Isn’t that wonderful?  We have that same power in us!  We can overcome anything!  Believe it! 

to be continued….

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I came across this scripture one day and was delighted to be reminded of it’s meaning.

This can be an encouragement to those who battle fear in their lives on a daily basis.

God’s Word is Truth and when we find these gems we must hang onto them.  We must meditate on them and allow them to nourish us.  The Word is food to our soul.

1Jn 4:18 NASB There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

“There is no fear in love” That would indicate that fear and love cannot occupy the same place.  They cannot co-exist.

“but perfect love casts out fear,” What is perfect love?  Or should I say, who is perfect love?

1Jn 4:16 NASB We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

“God is love” The Bible is clear that God is love.  He is the very essence of love. 

So, from this we can conclude that God casts out fear.  It is interesting if you look at some of the commentaries on this.  One said this means “drives out fear, or to turn it out-of-doors.”  We can say God will take our fear and throw it right out the door!  How about that?  I like that idea!

You see fear and love cannot exist together.  When we are Christians, we have God in the form of the Holy Spirit actually living in us.  God is love so they cannot occupy the same space.  Now, which is stronger?  Do you think worldly fear is stronger than God’s love? Who will be the victor in this battle?

Here are two versions of 2 Timothy 1:7. 

2Ti 1:7 LITV For God did not give a spirit of cowardice to us, but of power and of love and of self-control.

2Ti 1:7 KJV For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

You would think that the opposite of fear would be peace.  I thought that for years.  I was full of fear and I wanted peace.  So, in my mind they were opposites.  But, let’s look at this verse.  God did not give us the spirit of fear or cowardice, but of power and of love.  There it is; not fear but love.  The opposite of fear is love.  The power comes with this love in the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Here is what Dr. Jay Adams says: “The enemy of fear is love; the way to put off fear then is to put on love…Love is self-giving, fear is self-protecting.  Love moves toward others; fear shrinks away from them.  But…we must remember that love is the stronger since it is able to ‘cast out’ fear.  In dealing with fear nothing else possesses the same explusive power.”  (Wayne and Joshua Mack, The Fear Factor, Hensley Publishing, Tulsa, Oklahoma 2002, Pg. 23)

God’s love is mighty.  I’m so fortunate to have Him fighting on my side.

You can begin today to take fear in hand and with God’s help throw it out the door. 

Look for someway to turn your thoughts from yourself and toward others. 

  • Make a phone call to check up on someone who has been ill. 
  • Visit someone who needs encouragement from another Christian. 
  • Send someone a card. 
  • Take time to pray for others not just yourself.

There are many things you can do that involves giving of yourself.  Pray about it and allow the Lord to put something on your heart that you can do, then do it. 

Just one reminder, what ever you do, don’t do it in a selfish manner.  Don’t do it just so you can get rid of fear.  Do it out of God’s love for one another.  Do it with a servant heart and attitude.

If you take this challenge, I’d love for you to write in and let us  know what you did to begin to cast out fear and put on love.

I must make this one disclaimer:  If your fear and anxiety are caused from a true physical problem such as low blood sugar, thyroid disease, or something else physical, then those problems need to be addressed also.

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PIC006

Up to this point we have seen that Paul, in our example of someone who had the fear of crossing bridges, did not know what was happening to him and his problems kept getting worse.

We looked at two things he had to understand in order to be an overcomer of these fears.

1.  His fear was real.

2.  His fear was wrong and sinful.

Now we are going to look at some other points:

3. His fear was not of bridges; it was a fear that had become associated with bridges.

It is very important to understand this. He needed to recognize that the bridges did not cause his fear.  There is no reason to be afraid of bridges.  Kim, the person in our example that is afraid of cars, needs to recognize that the cars themselves are not her problem.  The car does not cause the fear.

My first panic attack occurred at work.  It was the most horrible experience I had ever had up to that point in my life.  I was terrified and thought for sure I would die. I was convinced it was my heart. But I didn’t die.  I went to the doctor and he said I’d most likely been overdoing it and to take a couple of days off and rest.  He also gave me some tranquilizers if I remember correctly.  I followed his instructions.  But, at the end of those days off I had to go back and face the same place where I had that traumatic experience.  As I think back that was a VERY stressful period in my life and it is no wonder my body said, “enough.”  Physically, I was out of shape.  I didn’t eat right or exercise.  I drank and smoked, and partied all I could.  I was emotionally upset a lot with relationships and work stress.  And, I was spiritually bankrupt, as I didn’t know Christ as Lord and Savior.  It is no wonder I had that first frightful panic attack.

A little time passed and I had another attack at work.  I didn’t know what I was having were panic attacks, I simply called them “spells.” I don’t think the doctors even knew what they were back then. I was completely in the dark. I went into a downward spiral.  I truly became afraid of my office.  I didn’t want to go and as I got more tired and stressed out I began to miss days, I showed up late, and tried to find peace in more drink.  It didn’t work.  Soon, I had a panic attack in the grocery store.  Another place to fear.

Next, it happened in the bank as I waited in line.  Lines became an issue with me. My point is my world became smaller and smaller.  I quit my job.  I fell out of society and stayed at home all I could.  I got other people to do the necessary things for me and I hid out in my “safe place.”  I had Agoraphobia. It didn’t have a life anymore, I only existed! I felt hopeless.  

I get many emails from people just like I was.  They feel hopeless and helpless.  They don’t know where to turn. Perhaps you can identify with me too. The good news is that I did become an overcomer and I believe you all can if you just realize what is going on and learn how to deal with it. 

4. Paul’s real fear was of the experiences.  (The cause of fear)

The bridges were not the cause of Paul’s fear.  The car is not the cause of Kim’s fear.  And, all those places: the store, my office, the bank, the post office, and so many more were not the cause of my fear.  Once I found that out, it did help me.  I was experiencing fear of fear.  I was afraid of those awful feelings I had experienced in those places.  It took me a long time to see that, but when I did it was a real eye-opener.

Fear of fear is dreading to go somewhere or do something because some time before when we went to that particular type of place or did that particular thing we had a bad experience and were terrified with the emotions and symptoms that flooded us. That was fear and we wanted to escape.  Now we fear having that same fear again so we avoid those situations.  That is fear of fear.  We are not afraid of the place really, but of the feelings of fear we got there.   

So, bridges, cars, the workplace, grocery stores, banks, the post office, or doctor’s office, don’t produce these experiences. I hope you can see this.  It is so important. We know logically that cars and bridges don’t produce panic attacks.  We know that. We’ve all been over many bridges and we’ve all been in many cars.  They are not the culprits. 

Romans 8:15 (NIV) “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

We don’t have to live as a slave to fear.  We can change. 

5. The key to becoming an overcomer.

It is our own thoughts that produce panic attacks.  We have had panic attacks, we produce them ourselves by the bad thought habits we have picked up, and that means that we can stop producing them by a change in our thought habits.  Isn’t that wonderful?  There is hope after all.

Psalm 34:4 (KJV) “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears”

God wants to deliver us from all our fears.  Isn’t that wonderful?  That is His will for us.

6. There is not some mysterious thing going on.

It is really very simple.  Our thoughts effect how we feel.  We think ahead about going to the store, riding in a car, or crossing a bridge and because we associate our former bad feelings with these things we blame them and think it will happen again.  But, in reality we are anticipating anxiety.  We are looking for it. We set ourselves up for it.

We develop or produce it by worry.  Our minds center on what we think might happen.  We get vivid mental pictures of what might happen when we cross the bridge, drive the car, and shop in a store.  These pictures take on the “what if,” scenarios. We worry about “what if,” I get shaky, “what if” I pass out, “what if” my heart beats too fast, and everything else we can imagine.  When we do this our bodies react as though these things were happening right then and releases adrenaline, which in turn brings about the symptoms we are so afraid of. Sometimes we say, “it just came over me, out of the blue.”  But, it didn’t just come over us out of the blue because we allowed our thoughts to get control and take advantage of us.  The answer is to work on the way we think. 

II Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

It is possible for us to be in control of our thoughts.  If it weren’t God would not have said so. 

Dear God, I lift up those who are reading this now.  Lord help them to see that there is a way out of the bondage of fear.  Help them realize that you are the answer.  Lord, please set them free.  Your Word says you came to set the captive free, and I pray that for any here who are slaves to fear.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Thy will be done.  Amen.

Next time we will dig a bit further into this subject.  Stay tuned! 

Check out my blog at www.hatchcreek.wordpress.com

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Pretty Bird!

March2008 006

In my last post in this series we talked about the fact that we can change bad habits.  When we become a Christian we are literally changed as the Bible says we are  new creations in Christ.

But, we still seem to have a backpack full of old habits that we carry around.  We saw from the Bible that we have to “put-off” off bad habits and “put-on” new acceptable ones.  Hopefully you made a list of the things you need to “put-off” and what you need to replace them with, and are working on them.

I’ve been reading a wonderful book by Wayne and Joshua Mack called, The Fear Factor, What Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know.  Now that I’ve finished it I can highly recommend it to you.  It isn’t about panic attacks specifically, but is about how fear can cripple anyone even if they don’t have panic disorder. So, even when we are overcomers of panic attacks we need to know how fear can still control us.  This book is loaded with good mental health and is truly biblical.

If you are interested in purchasing it you can go here:  www.mackministeries.org

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Our bad fear habits do not come from God.  I used to think that Satan causes them, but I am now of the opinion that even though Satan likes us to be fearful, he doesn’t keep us that way. We cannot blame him.  If you think about it, there is only one devil and he cannot be everywhere at once like God can, and he doesn’t know everything like God does, and he is not all powerful like God is. I believe he has bigger fish to fry than us, like the leaders of enemy nations, for example.  So, what causes us to continue to fear in an unhealthy way?  I believe it is those old fear habits that we have carried over in our way of thinking.

Today, I’d like to talk a bit about the different types of fears we encounter.  We made a list of them awhile back.

When I had panic attacks I had many fears.  In fact, in my book, Panic Buster, I had a list of 28 different fears. Those were the ones I could think of at the time, there were most likely more.

I want to try to put some of those fears and some of the ones you gave me in categories so that we can see more clearly what is behind our fears.

Fear of the future, fear of death, and fear of man are some of the main categories of fear.  I looked over our lists and come up with the following: 

Fear of the future:

Isaiah 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

So many of our fears can come under the heading of “fear of the future.”  If you think about it any fear that has to do with the future even if it is a few hours away can come under that heading.  For instance: fear of going to the store, fear of leaving the house, fear of the weather, fear of losing control, fear of going crazy, the next panic attack. dying and leaving children without a mother (this is also fear of death), stroke, heart attack, blood clots, (health problems),  feeling disconnected from yourself,  fear of the unknown, fear of aging. Any time we put off doing something because we are fearful it could be the fear of the future.

Why should we be anxious and fearful of things in the future when we have God on our side?  We don’t realize that He is big enough to handle all of our anxiety. 

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Psalms 32:7 You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Psalms 143:9 Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; I take refuge in You.

Why are we afraid of the future?  We shouldn’t be.  After all we are in God’s hands.  This is sinful fear.  And, we must repent of it and then go on with God.

Fear of death:

Hebrews 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Many of our fears also come under the heading of fear of death.  Some are: passing out, driving, bees, crossing the street, someone in the house, the dark, losing control, bathtub water, gas fumes, tornados and blizzards, flying. 

The “bathtub water,” one was one of mine.   You might ask why that?  Well, to me it felt like I might go under the water and drown.  It was especially fearful if I was alone.  I know that was in irrational fear.  So many of them were.  Also, if a bee came around I took off in my own flight.  I was so afraid that it would sting me and I would die.  But, I’m not even allergic to them.  

It seems strange now that I could have been so afraid of such things.  I thank God that he has erased most of this from my memory.  I don’t think about all this usually, only when I’m trying to write.   Crossing the street was another big one for me.  I had to cross to get the mail.  I’d wait and wait then suddenly dash across when I thought the way was clear.  I lived in the country so there wasn’t really much traffic.

That was another irrational fear.   

Fear of man:

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Wayne Mack says, “The fear of man is a broad biblical category for many specific sins.”

Dr. Ed Welch says speaking of fear of man, “it includes being afraid of someone, but it extends to holding someone in awe, being controlled or mastered by people, worshiping other people, putting your trust in people.”

We might not recognize this fear as much, but it is there.  Fear of people, crowds, witnessing for Christ, doctors, dentists, talking to people, being honest, telling about our fears.  I remember hiding my fears from my family and doctor.  I did not know what they would think of me.  I also became very dependent on other people instead of God.   I had the fear of man.  That was behind my fears in this area.  Do you sometimes not do something or say something because you are afraid of what others would think of you?  We’ve all done it.  If this is one of your habits you need to work on replacing it with good ones. 

Fear of God:

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Someone  said “fear of God, seeing and hearing Him.”  Guess what?  That is a good fear.

There are both holy fears and sinful fears.  We have to distinguish between the two.

Blessings,
Bonnie

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February2008 001

Previously we talked about how different we are in God’s eyes when we are not saved and when we are saved.  We saw from the Word there is a great deal of difference.

Now that we are believers are we living like a believer, or are we still living like an unbeliever?

If you are not living as a believer, then you must examine yourself as the Bible says.  If there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not you are truly born again, please write to me privately, and we will go over it together.  This is very important because the things we will learn will not work for the unbeliever. 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

“When you see our situation the same way you would if you were still an unbeliever, you are failing to realize what a great gift God has given you.”  (Wayne Mack, The Fear Factor, Hensley Publishing, pg.18.)  That gift is the Holy Spirit and all the resources God has.

You see we don’t have to live the same as before.  We don’t have to carry all our old baggage with us when we become believers.  Take a look at your own life.  Can you see any changes in your before and after picture?  Did you have panic disorder before you were a Christian?  I did.  When I became a Christian I did not know that God had made a way for me to be rid of fear.  But, it was still true.  It took me many years of Bible study to learn this.  That is why it took me so long to get better. 

When we become a true believer something wonderful happens to us.  God creates in us a new person.  We are not the same.  It is a supernatural work that the Lord does. We don’t look any different in our bodies, it is a spiritual new birth.  God gives us the Holy Spirit to come and live inside us.  Knowing this gives us the hope we need to be overcomers of any situation that comes up in our lives.

The world teaches us that the key to success is to “believe in yourself.”  Have “self-confidence” and good “self-esteem.”  Well, no matter how much you believe in yourself, and feel good about yourself it just won’t hold up.  We are not that powerful.  We cannot stop things from happening in our lives.  God is the only one who can control everything.  Isn’t that true? 

Look at the verse below.  It plainly says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.  The old things passed away and brand new things have come.  Isn’t that amazing?  We are actually new creations in Christ! 

2 Corinthians 5:17 ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

I love that verse because it tells me I am now different.  It is possible for me to change.  It gives me hope.  I want you also to have that hope.  You can change too.  Fear and anxiety, or whatever other thing plagues you, don’t have to dog us all the days of our lives.  We can be victorious.

Here is a story to illustrate this:

Suppose there was a very poor person who had a job but didn’t have any way to get there.  So, everyday, that man had to get up extra early to walk the five miles to work.  Then, after putting in a full-days work he had to walk all the way back home.  He was exhausted, and all he could do was eat some soup and go right to bed to be ready for the next day.  He didn’t have a home life with his wife and children.  All he did was toil and rest.  Sounds like a pretty boring existence doesn’t it?

Then one day along came a rich man who saw this man’s plight and said to him, “Here I will give you this brand new car.  It has a full tank of gas.  Oh, yes, take this, it’s a gas card so that whenever you need a refill you can fill up the tank.”  The poor man was very grateful and carefully parked the car in his driveway.

The next morning he got up and walked to work again and then walked home that evening as had been his habit. He continued on this same way ignoring the wonderful free gift the rich man had given him.  Oh, he would take the car out on Sunday and drive it to church and back but that was it.

What is wrong with this picture?  It is plain to see that the poor man was not taking advantage of the free gift that was given him.

Isn’t that how some of us live the Christian life?  We have been given so much from the Master, but do we really apply it to our lives?  He has made us a brand new creation spiritually in Christ. Not only that, He has given us the fuel to run on, the Holy Spirit.   That is similar to how the gas in the car gives the car power to run on.  The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to do whatever God asks us to.

But, we too, can be like the man in the story and not use what has been freely given us.  It might be because we don’t realize what we have.  Or, it can also be like the man who was so used to walking to work that he could not change his habit.  We have many old habits that need changing, and God has given us the power and the ability to change them through salvation and the Holy Spirit. 

Sometimes we are like the man in the story and only show our spiritual side on Sundays when we go to church.  We go, sing songs, listen to a message, and go through the motions, but then just leave everything there behind us. When Monday morning comes along we act like we leave our spiritual side at home.  What a waste!  If we do this we need to examine ourselves and see if we really are in the faith. 

Being a Christian is far more than a Sunday habit.  We need to be in the Bible everyday, pray, and meditate on the Word.  Then, we can activate the power in our lives to conquer fear and anxiety.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

That is another amazing and wonderful scripture.

Blessings,

Bonnie

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