Think Your Way Through Anxiety


"But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." John 3:21

Anxiety can be caused by a cycle of thoughts that provoke a fearful response from us. For that reason, I'm here to tell you that exposing the activity of the mind before God is the best way of gaining more of our mind and ultimately our life.

The activity of a fearful mind may go something like this. What follows is a real conversation I had with someone suffering from anxiety.

"I'm worried my car will break down."
Me: "Why are you worried? Its only 2 years old."
"Cars break down all the time. What if the water pump goes out, or something goes wrong with the engine?"
Me: "How is it running now?"
"Fine."
Me: "So everything is okay."
"Yes, but cars do break down all the time."
Me: "So what's the worst that can happen."
"Well, the car will have to go into the shop. The expense will probably be high. I may not be able to pay. I'll probably lose my job, and then I'll lose my house."

At this point, I could see the anguish in my friend's eyes, so I did the best I could to console him and led him with a series of questions like this.

Me: "You have credit cards, right?"
"Yeah, I'm working to pay them off right now."
Me: "Good. How much credit balance do you have available?"
"About $2000."
Me: "I'm going to guess that 90% of any repair bill for your car will cost less than that."
"Probably."
Me: "Would your friends and family help you if you needed it?"
"Yeah, I suppose."
Me: "How about the car shop. Many car shops today offer financing. Could that be a possibility?"
"Actually, now that you mention it I saw a brochure about financing at checkout counter the last time I was there."
Me: "What about your job? Could you borrow a car from someone while your car is in the shop?"
"Yeah, my wife told me I can use her car anytime."

I have done this with people who are insecure about an imagined circumstance by having them describe to me what they fear the most and the worst consequences. Then I let them describe to me all the most likely positive outcomes. The process has a way of clearing the clouds of the mind and giving someone room to breathe.

This problem is called magnification, or dramatization. When your brain gets into a negative pattern, stop for a few seconds to interrupt the pattern, then start asking yourself about the worst possible outcomes. Then start thinking about the more likely scenarios.

You'll be surprised at how good you feel after just seconds. The whole process can take a minute or two. But the effects can last hours. If you need to repeat the process, go ahead. You might find even more creative solutions to the imagined dilemma.

What you're actually doing is exposing the deeds of the mind in the light of truth and guiding with clear understanding.

"But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." John 3:21


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