Battling Anxiety

Battling anxiety

The majority of the people you meet are battling anxiety. What follows is my personal story.

The Beginning

In my mid 30’s I began experiencing heart palpitations. I went to the doctor and completed numerous tests. The results showed that I was in great physical condition. The diagnosis was that my body was under stress and the stress was causing heart palpitations. The doctor offered me anti-anxiety medicine but I declined. I didn’t want to become dependent on medicine to deal with the stress. I was given a referral to a counselor which, in my pride, I also declined.

One evening I woke up with heart palpitations. I went in the living room in order to give my wife some respite from this battle. After spending several minutes in the fetal position rocking back and forth, I decided to go to the emergency room. When I arrived, I expected that the doctors and nurses would be as concerned as I was. This was not the case. When I saw my heart beating irregularly on the heart monitor I was convinced that I was on the brink of death. The nurse looked at me and said, “Man, you have got to calm down.”. Easier said than done.

After this experience, I returned to the doctor. I was given a thorough check over and then the doctor looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t know what you want me to do for you. You won’t take any medicine and you won’t go to counseling. What do you want me to do for you?”… I agreed to take a beta blocker which helped to ease the symptoms, but I was still dealing with the effects of stress.


One day I was reading the Bible and came across Psalm 46. I had read that Psalm numerous times but, today something was different.

46 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;…

This ancient writing from a guy named David suddenly spoke to me. Let me break down my thoughts.


My wife and I love to go to parks. We love nature. When I read this Psalm I was struck by the word, ‘refuge’. God is our ‘refuge’. A refuge is a place that is set aside where no one can legally attack birds, animals or any part of nature. It is a protected place. David, the writer of this Psalm, was saying that God is a place of protection. Nothing can attack me ‘legally’ when I am in his “refuge”.


My thoughts then moved to the second part of this statement. God is our strength. He made everything and His power is inexhaustible. I can rely on that strength. He is a wildlife refuge area that is surrounded by fortress walls. On the walls are mounted weapons of unspeakable power that are aimed at anyone or anything that dares to approach the refuge with intentions to inflict harm.


Now David says that he will not fear. That image of a powerful fortress should make us feel pretty much invincible. But, that’s not David’s point. He describes terrible natural disasters… earthquakes and roaring seas (floods? tidal waves?). These are things that are terrifying. His response is that he’s not afraid even if all kinds of terrible things occur. This wasn’t the only time I’d seen an even if statement in the Bible.

Confidence in the face of fearful situations

The book of Daniel chapter 3 tells a story of three young men and a king. The king wants these men to do something that is against their beliefs. When they refuse he threatens to have them burned to death. Here is their response, 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” These guys weren’t afraid of death, they trusted God even to the point of losing their own lives.


I was struck by this level of trust. I was no longer thinking about God healing me of heart palpitations. He could do that, but ‘even if’ He chose not to heal me, I could still trust Him. Life doesn’t last forever but He has promised me that after this life I will be with Him forever. This realization spawned enormous relief in me. My stress was directly connected with a fear of death. When the fear of death was lessened, it no longer held the same level of power against me.

I was able to slowly wean myself off of the beta blockers. They helped me to calm down long enough to meditate on the things God was telling me.

One size does not fit all

I’m not saying that everyone should read Psalm 46 and battling anxiety will stop. Nothing in this world is that simple. I’m also not saying that I am 100% stress free. I believe in the power of God and I believe He will speak to you in your trouble and help you find a way through. You may find complete relief and you may not. The world is a painfully difficult place. Answers to our problems are rarely quick and easy.

Final advice

Get help! In hindsight I would have been more open to receive help from my doctor. I believe in the power of God and I believe he inspires doctors with great advice.

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