Overcoming Anxiety & Fear

Fear and anxiety are the basis for so much of what we struggle with on a daily basis. Fear is the emotion or negative energy we experience when we are concerned about the possibility of something bad happening to us over which we have no control. Anxiety is experiencing the combined energy of multiple fears – they may be conscious or unconscious. Overwhelming anxiety leads to anxiety disorders and depression – the most common mental health issue in the world today.

baby startled

When we are babies, we do not have many fears. Studies have shown that newborn infants primarily demonstrate fear of two things – being dropped (they demonstrate a natural clutching response) and loud noises (they appear startled and often cry). Other than that, they are fearless.

Fear is a learned response to life experience. We were not born to fear – we were taught to fear. This is good news – this means we can unlearn fear. We do not have to be driven by fear in our day-to-day lives.

Fear goes by many names: 

Feeling . . .

anxious

worried

concerned

apprehensive

nervous

insecure

Which one describes you?

Fear surrounds us in society. Notice the headline news – it is usually based on fear. Think of the many things we do to deal with the fear – we talk about the news, we tell others the news we heard, we talk about what we would do if we were in a similar situation. These are all ways we are trying to process the fear we are experiencing. But these actions don’t remove the fear from our hearts.

Very often if you find yourself doing things you don’t want to do, you will find fear as the root of them. Even simple actions can be grounded in fear. Think of the last time you got dressed for a social event – did you look in the mirror and then decide to wear something else? What motivated that decision? We might think, “This doesn’t look right” or “I look fat in this”. In reality, we are often striving to fit in by wearing what we believe others will think is acceptable. Why? Because we fear being rejected, ridiculed, criticized, etc.

The Step: Fear Finder can bring clarity about any fears you discover you have. Finding the root of the fear is the first step to removing it from your life. Choosing to forgive those that taught you to fear is one way to release the hold that fear has had on you. Try it and see what happens!

If you suffer from anxiety, determine what the primary fear is that bothers you. Start with that one. As others come to your mind, work through the Fear Finder Step on each one individually. If you do not know what it is that you fear, then start by asking, “Spirit of Truth, what am I afraid of?” This will bring clarity.

freedom butterfly cropped

“I have more peace and what I can have in exchange for my fear brings light and a joy to my life. I’m going to hold onto that exercise for future reference. Thank you for the resource.” SR, website visitor

Step: Fear Finder

Go to a place where you will not be interrupted. Take a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly to help you relax and to quiet your mind.

Say these statements/questions out loud and then wait for an answer. An answer may come as a feeling, a thought, a picture in your mind, a word, a memory or just an inner knowing. You can do this alone or with a friend. If no answer comes to the first question, go to a different step – this may not be the right time for this step.

Focus on a specific fear you have and ask,

“Spirit of Truth, where did this fear come from?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“Who taught me this fear?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“I forgive _(name)_ for teaching me this fear. I release them from the harm they caused me. I forgive myself for allowing this fear to control me. I no longer choose to partner with this fear. I let it go.”

Take deep cleansing breaths, release the negative emotions and let them go.

“Spirit of Truth, what can I have in exchange?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“I receive _______ in exchange for my fear of ______.”

(pause and open your heart to receive)

You can do this step with Sandy on YouTube: Overcoming Fear


The article above is an excerpt from Sandy’s book, Freedom through Forgiveness: The Power of Forgiveness Can Change Your Life. For more information about the book, please click here.

Please feel free to forward this page to someone who needs to overcome fear. It might be just what they need to hear today.

Are you ready to get rid of that fear? You can do it, if you want to.

You don’t have to be controlled by fear anymore.

There is hope! You CAN be free from your fears, if you are willing to let go.

Give it a try today!

Return + Rest = Confident Peace

The Lord keeps bringing this scripture to mind for me to think about. I thought you might enjoy thinking about it too.

For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
But you would not. Isaiah 30:15

It really does “save” me (rescue me from stress and anxiety), whenever I remember to return and rest in Him. Rest that He has a plan that I cannot improve upon, that I don’t have to figure out, that I can trust Him to guide me and take care of everything that concerns me.

It really does give me strength to quiet my mind as I rest in Him. Trusting Him gives me confidence. When I’m worried about something, I tend to talk about it. When I’m trusting Him, I notice that both my mind and my mouth are quieter. That gives me peace and strength (conserves my emotional energy).

“But you would not.” – that tells me it doesn’t just magically happen. This is a choice I make. My will opens the doorway to this benefit of rest, confidence, peace and salvation from stress and worry.

Rest in God

This reminds me of quote I love:

“I dream of a people who know that their times are in the hands of their Lord.
They rest with confidence and full assurance knowing that He has laid a plan that they cannot improve upon and that He is directing their future.
So they rest in Him,
waiting for the sound of His voice
and doing with all their heart . . .
whatever is before them to do.”
– Don Nori, Love Shack

 

It’s important to know the sound of His voice – knowing when God is directing you. Do you know God’s voice? If that’s something you need help with, let me know. I offer Spiritual Mentoring to coach you through the process of learning to recognize God’s voice – it’s life changing to KNOW when God is speaking to you! Have you ever heard God say, “I love you?” It will melt your heart. ❤

If you get any insight from this scripture, feel free to comment below. This was mine today. 🙂

What Lies Do You Believe Unconsciously?

We all believe lies unconsciously – we just don’t realize it. Lies have power if you believe them.

Let me give you an example from someone I know personally. Amanda had a good job at a large corporation. In time, she was promoted to a new position. However, in this new position she was required to give presentations before a group of her peers and supervisors periodically. She was terrified of public speaking. This was a big deal to her. Her first presentation left her sweating and miserable! Her stomach was full of butterflies and she was sweating so profusely that she was very embarrassed by how wet her clothes were. It was noticeable to her coworkers and they commented on it.

She seriously considered going back to her old position because she HATED giving presentations. We talked about it. I asked her why she hated it so much. She said, “I don’t want to look like a dork!”

This was an accomplished professional woman – what made her think she would look like a “dork” by giving a presentation? We did one of the “heart exercises” from my book together to find out. She discovered that she developed this fear of public speaking from a distortion she believed about herself – a conclusion she came to in middle school. Can you believe that? She came to a faulty conclusion about herself and about “how life works” when she was 13 years old and it was still holding her back in her thirties!

Yet, no one had ever asked her what she believed about herself. She never even thought about it. It was simply her view of the world and of herself. She assumed she saw things clearly.

That Lie was majorly distorting her ability to do her job and enjoy it. It was creating a LOT of stress for her and making her very anxious. She was miserable – all because of a little lie she believed.

Thankfully, she was ready to give up that lie and find out the truth – which is not always easy, you know? We did the “heart exercise” and she got the truth she needed. The next time she did a presentation, I was eager to hear how it went. She called me as soon as she got back to her desk. She was thrilled! She did her presentation very well without a glitch and she didn’t even sweat a drop!

The Lies you believe about yourself are very powerful – they are also very sneaky. You don’t even realize they are there. And yet they can really wreck your life.

Here’s a real good indicator that you may believe a lie – look for fear, anxiety, worry or stress. Start with the negative fruit that a lie brings you and you’ll generally be on the right path.

Most of the lies we believe are things we don’t even think about – we just assume our perspective on the world is accurate and we base our decisions on this assumption. Because of this, I’ve discovered (by working with my coaching clients) that we need a way to access these unconscious distortions that does not rely on our ability to identify them.

I’ve developed the following “heart exercise” to help people identify lies they believe – specifically about themselves. And it works. People are astounded at the lies they uncover and the truth they receive when they do this exercise. Try it yourself!

This exercise and others like it are in my book, Freedom through Forgiveness.

Step: Lie Detector: Self Concept
Go to a place where you will not be interrupted. Take a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly to help you relax and to quiet your mind.

Say these statements/questions out loud and then wait for an answer. An answer may come as a feeling, a thought, a picture in your mind, a word, a memory or just an inner knowing. You can do this alone or with a friend. If no answer comes to the first question, go to a different step – this may not be the right time for this step.

“Spirit of Truth, is there a lie I believe about myself?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“Who taught me that lie?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“I forgive (name) for teaching me this lie. I forgive myself for receiving this lie and allowing it to influence my thoughts. I release myself from this lie. I give it up and let it go.”

“What truth do I need to hear?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“I receive the truth that (the truth).”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I’ve personally done this exercise over and over and each time I discover a new lie I believe – and I find the truth! It’s really wonderful – I highly recommend it. 🙂

Get Your Fire Back!

What do you do when you know you should have a desire to seek the Lord, but you just don’t have it?

I recall when I first “fell in love” with Jesus. It was so powerful! I couldn’t believe how good I felt and how much I could feel His love for me. It was like falling in love, except it wasn’t with a natural man – it was with Jesus!

I remember trying to explain this to my friends – they didn’t get it. But Jesus was SO REAL to me and I KNEW for the first time in my life, really knew I was loved by Him.

But then the drudgery of daily life took over.

I wanted to keep my passion and fire for Jesus, but it was disappearing and I didn’t know what to do. I was also afraid to tell anyone because they might judge me.

Have you ever felt that way? LIke you wanted to be close to God but the desire to seek Him just was not there?

I have great news! I figured out what to do and it has worked for me many, many times since then. And it’s super easy!

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

How to Get Your Fire for God back

First, just admit it. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize that you are losing your fire – it happens very slowly and quietly. If you are not around other people who are passionate about Jesus, it can be even harder to recognize – there’s no one to stir you up! But eventually you will realize it. It’s important to admit it – that’s the first step. Admit it to yourself – “I don’t feel like seeking God. My heart is cold.” This is humbling – it kills your pride.

Then, tell Jesus that you feel cold toward Him. I know you probably don’t want to, but this is important. Acknowledge that you WISH you had a desire to seek Him and His ways, but you just don’t. Ask Him to forgive you for the lack of desire to seek Him.

Lastly, ask Jesus to give you a desire to seek Him. I know that doesn’t make sense, but honestly – where do you think you got the desire to seek God in the first place? From Him! We are dependent on Him even for the desire to seek Him.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” John 6:44

You may not have an “instant” experience of suddenly being passionate about God again. What I’ve noticed when I’ve prayed this prayer is that it takes about 24-48 hours to take effect. I often forget about the prayer and then a couple of days later I notice I suddenly have a desire to seek the Lord. It happens spontaneously, at least for me.

So – try it! I encourage you to choose to seek the Lord. He is worthy and you won’t regret it.Life with Him is AWESOME!

Here’s an example of a prayer you can pray:

Jesus, I’m sorry. I have no desire to seek You right now. I don’t know why. I feel cold in my heart and I want to be different inside. Please restore the desire to seek You in my heart. Thank you. Amen.

Let me know in the comments below what happened after you prayed that prayer. I love to hear how God changes lives. He’s changed mine over and over again. He’ll do it for you too!

Help Me, Holy Spirit!

“Help Me, Holy Spirit!”

I have found this to be the BEST prayer for everyday life. The Holy Spirit is referred to as our Helper in John 14:26:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. – Jesus Christ, The Bible

Oftentimes we don’t know what to pray. Life situations can overwhelm us. We can get so tired or so busy that it seems like an effort to connect with God.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us by the Father. The Spirit has many functions – one of which is to help us! Isn’t that cool?

I don’t know about you, but I need help every day.

When I’m trying to figure out what to cook for dinner and my mind is drawing a blank, I say, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”. Pretty soon a dinner menu drops into my mind with the ingredients I need (or already have on hand). I know what to make and I know how to make it. Instantly! Sometimes when my family asks, “What is this?” I tell them, “This is a new dish – never before seen on the earth! It’s a new creation. I hope you like it.” They dig in and usually love it! But don’t ask me to make it again because I won’t remember how I made it. It’s like art – you can’t mass produce it and make “prints” from it. 🙂

When I haven’t slept well and the day seems challenging with all that I need to accomplish, I have often found myself walking toward the store saying, “Help me, Holy Spirit.” I discover the energy I need to accomplish all that is on my list to do that day. When I fall into bed that night, I am often amazed at how much got done. I whisper, “Thank you, Holy Spirit, I know that was YOU.” The Spirit can quicken our mortal bodies to have the energy we need to finish our daily race (Romans 8:11).

When a friend calls with a serious relationship problem or a deep question about the meaning of life, I silently pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”, as I listen with my heart. Miraculously I open my mouth and say things that seem to help. Often times I’ve never even thought of the things I say – I learn even as I’m speaking! It’s really cool – instant download of new revelation from the Holy Spirit. I call that “hands-on training”. One minute I had no idea what to say and the next minute I sound like I have all this wisdom to help my friend. That’s the Holy Spirit!

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would help us by teaching us all things. He also said the Spirit would bring things to our remembrance. That is very comforting – especially as our minds age and we start forgetting things. Whenever my husband or I misplace something (i.e. keys, wallet or glasses), we cry out, “Help me, Holy Spirit!” and guess what? The missing item shows up. Every time.

I remind people who are in school that if they are struggling with a specific subject (i.e. Calculus, for instance) that they can pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”. They will receive supernatural “teaching” to help their mind comprehend what is necessary. And it can’t hurt to pray that same thing just before a test, asking the Spirit to bring to your remembrance the material that was studied. I often experienced supernatural memory recall when I was studying and taking tests for my Masters degree. It reduces your anxiety about big tests when you rely on the Holy Spirit to teach you and help you. 🙂

There are so many situations where this simple prayer can help

  • making decisions
  • parenting children
  • choosing a career
  • planning a vacation
  • making new friends
  • developing a business idea
  • making sales calls
  • writing a proposal

I encourage you to practice saying this prayer this week and then watch to see what happens. Please come back and tell us what you experienced!

I love this simple prayer! It cultivates in me an attitude of reliance on the Holy Spirit to lead me, guide me, teach me and help me. 🙂

Living in the Manifest Presence of God

Abraham said, “The Lord, in Whose presence I walk …” [Genesis 24:40]

“There’s a difference between living in the Omnipresence of God and living in the Manifest Presence of God.” – Alyn Jones, Grace Center, Franklin, TN

We all live in the Omnipresence of God – God is everywhere. We can acknowledge that and live in that knowledge.

But there is a place of living in the Manifest Presence of God – where you KNOW HE IS THERE, right there where you are. You are tangibly aware of His presence. It’s amazing – it’s life-giving, it’s comforting, it’s fullness of joy.

You can know this place – you can walk with God like this. It’s not impossible. Truly.

Walk with Him and obey Him. What is He telling YOU to do? Do that. Just that and nothing else. Don’t try to EARN your way into His Manifest Presence. Just obey with all your heart the last thing He told you to do. Be faithful.

Cultivate an awareness of His Presence. I’ve spent my life chasing after Him and I am happy to report that I now live in His Manifest Presence. Every day. Every morning I wake up aware of His Presence. If I wake up feeling foggy, then I speak to Him until my mind clears and I am again aware of His presence. I don’t leave my bed until I do.

Just do it – you won’t regret it. Make yourself aware of His Presence. Talk to Him as though He is really RIGHT THERE with you. Because He is. You just don’t realize it. 🙂

“Our believing produces our receiving.” – Alyn Jones

Can you imagine what it would look like to live in God’s Manifest Presence 24/7? Imagine the peace of knowing all your steps are ordered – never feeling rushed or worried. Being sure that all that you need will be provided when you need it – just like the sparrows.

Can you believe and can you trust enough to actually receive this in your heart?

That is the question.

Here’s a hymn to inspire you to walk with Him and talk with Him. Enjoy! 🙂

FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real

Q37 Look for Proof

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real – Look for Proof!

Most of us think our thoughts are accurate. We trust our own thinking so much that we do not think to question our own thoughts.

That’s why I love this statement – FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Often when we are afraid, it is not based on reality. It is based on assumptions and on inaccurate information.

When my clients express a fear, I ask them for proof. They pause, stammer a minute and then realize that they don’t have any. We are so used to just believing everything that comes to our minds that we lose the ability to examine what is at the root of our fears. I don’t want them to look silly (being unable to prove that their fear is based on reality), but at the same time, I want to teach them to question their assumptions.

For instance, a lady came to me once and said she wanted to become a confident communicator. She was afraid to start conversations at parties because she didn’t feel confident. We worked on some communication skills to help build her confidence. She improved and was ready to try out her new skills. However, she still felt afraid of “looking dumb”.

So, I asked her to prove it to me. “Are you dumb?” I asked. She gave me a shocked expression and said, “No, of course not!” Then I asked her if she had ever had trouble in school due to learning difficulties or speech impediments that made her “feel dumb” among other children. She said no.

“So how would you “look dumb” in conversation?” I asked her. I wanted her to figure out exactly what her fear was. What she realized was that “looking dumb” was a judgment. She was afraid that either someone else would judge what she had to say as “dumb” or she would think what she said was “dumb”. So we worked on these specific things. First, you cannot control other people’s judgment of you. She had to let that go. For her, the primary issue was judging herself as “dumb”. We did some work on that – to learn self-acceptance and self-compassion. And her fear melted away.

The next time she went to a social gathering, she emailed me to tell me how smoothly it went. She successfully started several conversation with strangers and acquaintances and never once did she “look dumb” in her estimation. Success!

Take some time to examine your fears. Can you find proof that what you imagine will happen actually has a good chance of happening? And if it does, then what? When we break down our fears, often we discover that they are based on a fuzzy sense of logic. By breaking them down, we can overcome them.

Try it and let me know how it works for you! ♥

Be Authentic – It’s Powerful!

Q54 Authentic is Priceless

This came to me the other night.

Just by being authentic … by being “REAL” and not fake or pretending to be something you aren’t makes a HUGE impact on those around you.

People sense authenticity. You can tell when someone is “real”, can’t you?

Somehow when you are with someone who is authentic – it frees you up. It gives you permission to just be YOU.

Since they aren’t pretending, that means they have accepted themselves. They are not trying to put on a show to get you to like them. They like who they are.

And somehow that self-acceptance translates to being free to be yourself with them.

And THAT is priceless.

The world is full of people trying to impress others – trying to fit in, to be accepted.

Rare are the ones who have stopped playing the game and have decided to simply accept themselves. With those folks, it does not matter whether you look right, talk right or even act right. You are allowed to just “be” – no performing.

What a priceless gift that is.

Thank you, Friend, for showing me that.

Look for Him – He’s right there ♥

“He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 3

I read this back in 1990 and was blown away. My heart “knew” this statement was true, but I didn’t know anyone who knew God like this. Not a soul. At the time, I was surrounded by the most on-fire Christians I could find. I had just spent two years in Bible College with a bunch of radical students who wanted nothing more than to give their lives for Jesus, going anywhere He wanted them to go. Then I joined a youth organization known for its mission work around the globe. I had just arrived at a new base that was birthed out of one man’s passion to see revival brought to America.

Yet this simple statement seemed incredulous to me. If this was true, if this man experienced God that way, then why didn’t I know anyone else who had? If this was possible, why oh why, didn’t everyone walk with God like this?!

I became determined that THIS would be my life. That I would “find” God like this as though my life depended on it. Because in my heart, I knew it did.

“To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 1

The “children of the burning heart” – that describes me perfectly.

burning heart

You can read A.W. Tozer’s book online – it’s free  🙂

Read it – your heart will thank you! ♥

Pride Makes You Dumb

Q50 Pride makes you dumb

Did you know that when you are full of yourself (we call that egotism, pride or arrogance), it actually short circuits your ability to see things clearly? When we become so self-focused, we lose touch with reality.

The problem is … everyone else can see this clearly … but not us. Pride blinds you to reality. You make decisions that are self-centered and selfish quite easily when you are full of yourself, when you are only thinking of what will benefit you. Later, you realize how stupid you were. You realize how hurtful your actions were – your pride blinded you to how your choices would hurt someone you care about. But at the time, it made sense. Has that ever happened to you?

Pride also keeps you from getting input from others. When you think you know everything there is to know, you don’t ask for advice. And other people won’t offer their suggestions or ideas – they can tell you are not interested. That’s a bad place to be – we need other people’s help and guidance. They have something to offer us, but pride shuts the door on them. Without key information, we often make bad decisions.

There’s wisdom in humility. When you are humble, thinking of others and their needs as just as important as you and your needs, you actually think better. You make wiser decisions, decisions that are more loving because you are not so self-focused. You are open to receiving advice and as a result, you become a wiser person. People can tell when you are humble and they will support you in making good decisions. That’s a good place to be.

Think about this today. Choose humility. Choose to think of others, not just of yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to cultivate humility in you – one way to do this is to ask for an increase of the Fear of the Lord. The more you are aware of the greatness of God, the more you will see how little you are – that humbles you.

I remember hearing that the cloak of humility signifies the highest rank in the kingdom. Those who wear it receive the most honor.

I would much rather deal with a humble person than a proud person, wouldn’t you?