Debunking the Lie of Anxiety


I'm going to make a confession to you: I am a very anxious person. Truthfully, this isn't much of a confession because anyone that knows me for 5 seconds or more is well aware of this. It's crystal clear from the moment I meet you because I normally talk too fast, or over compensate with humor or avoid prolonged eye contact. There are occasions where this doesn't happen, bless God. But 99% of the time, it does. Anxiety & Courtney are seemingly inseparable besties.

I've been anxious for as long as I can remember. I vividly recall taking a river cruise with my family as a child. I was 6 years old at most and my sister who was 4 enjoyed standing by the railing of the boat & looking at the water. It was all I could do not to melt down. I was begging her to stay back from the well-guarded edge, in spite of my parents physically touching her. I was terrified for her safety, acutely aware that she could fall off of the boat & drown. Not much has changed since I was six...

My anxiety has had multiple objects of its affection over the years. Safety, future plans, finances, spirituality, relationships, being liked & ministry are a few of the many things I've worried about in recent years. When I worry, I often experience nausea, headaches, chest tightness/heaviness and racing thoughts. Panic attacks, though rare for me, impact my thinking and impede my ability to function properly. To say that my anxiety has impacted my story would be an understatement.



While I worry about a number of things (okay...most things), there are a few consistent beliefs that drive each and every one of them.

You are not enough

You will fail.

You are not likable. 

My major fear of not measuring up in one way or another is the thread that ties my fears together. I am so afraid that my attempts at safety, fitting in, working hard, pleasing God and organization will not be enough to keep my life working as I want it to. It would stand to reason that with all of my working and worrying, things would be nearly perfect. With the exception of the major things I can't control, my striving should work. Except that those pesky things that are out of my control are the exact things that consume me. They are the things I work harder and harder to try to control and manage and yet, they evade me. As a result, anxiety continues to linger. 



Here's why this anxiety management technique of work, work, work doesn't well... work: it fully understands the limits of my own control yet chooses to ignore them, believing on some level that I have the power to impact it all. Ultimately, my consistent, unhealthy beliefs point to one big lie that anxiety tells me and I continue to believe over and over again. The lie is that I have to be enough or my life will fall apart. It's that it's my job to satisfy and protect myself. 

This is why my feelings of not enoughness and failure are so powerful: my entire life depends on me & my efforts being enough!  I've learned by living that I'm not enough and therefore, I'm worried about the outcome of my failure. According to the lie, that's what dictates everything. 

But if there is a lie, that means there must be truth. 

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9



Boast in my weakness?!? Boast in my inability to control my life down to the smallest detail?!? Boast in the twists and turns of life that were not in my beautifully crafted and diagrammed plan?!? That is crazy town, Paul.

Crazy town or not, this is exactly what Paul is saying here. He's saying "Hey, you know those human experiences that hurt and make you look weak? You know that lack of control you so desperately want but can't seem to grab hold of? Yeah, those are for your good and God's glory."

Initially, this stings a little. But as I allow it to roll around for a bit in my ever anxious brain, it all begins to make sense. 

My lack of ability to control my life makes me anxious. My human weaknesses are scary and overwhelming and make life seem unpredictable. But God! He says that those very weaknesses are what He uses. They are what He redeems and leverages to showcase His power, love, and faithfulness. It's important to note that He doesn't always do that by eliminating our weaknesses. No! They have far too much purpose. Instead, He gives joy, strength, and endurance to sustain us in the midst of them.



Anxiety is a liar. It says that I have to be enough or my life will fall to pieces. I must work to avoid or prevent all weakness in order to have a good life.  Jesus, though. Jesus is a truth-er. He says that it's those very weaknesses He chooses to use to display His glory. It's in those weaknesses that Jesus shows up. Anxiety says that my weaknesses will lead to my destruction. Jesus says my weaknesses will lead to His glory & my good. 


Anxiety says "be enough." Jesus says "I am enough so you don't have to be." 


What lies of anxiety are you choosing to replace with the words of truth today?




12 comments

  1. Keeping it all together is so stressful sometimes! I get overwhelmed with day-to-day life quite often, and although I've never seen myself as an anxious person, now I have three kids to be 'perfect' for, that anxiety is raising it's ugly head. Great read, thanks :)

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    1. Thats such a good point! Adding someone else to the picture like children raises the stakes for how important everything you do is. What a blessing it is to care for them but also so important to have someone to help you carry the burden.

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  2. This is incredible well-written, and it's so powerful that you recenter everything on Jesus. I LOVE how you said that anxiety tells you to be enough & that Jesus says I am enough so you don't have to be. Whew. Thank the Lord for his mercy, washing over all my inadequacies :)

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    1. YES, mercy. I need it so desperately and He is so gracious to give it out in abundance!

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  3. I've had extreme anxiety since I was a child. This resonates with me so much!

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    1. I'm so sorry you've fought that battle for so long! I'm right there with ya. It's so important to know that we don't have to be bound by it! Praying for you today!

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  4. This is so great! It is so true that with all the lies, learning to replace them with the truth of God's word and what He says about us makes all the difference! Thanks for sharing on this!

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    1. Yes! God's Word is such a game changer when we really start to believe and apply what it says!

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  5. Doctor told me that worrying is non productive. Anxiety is a whole new ball game.

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    1. Yes, Candace. You're do right. Dealing with anxiety can be a unique journey!

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  6. love the last statement because of him we can be.
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