How can I deal with the fear and anxiety that makes me want to stay home all the time?
Let us impress upon you the fact that God cares about you and about what you are going through. He says, "You are precious to me . . . and I love you" (Isaiah 43:4). The very reason Jesus Christ came to earth was to offer Himself in sacrifice for our sin so that we might be reconciled to God and experience His kindness and mercy as His dearly loved children. It is His desire that you be completely set free from fears, torment, and oppression so that you might experience His abundant life (John 10:10). The Lord considers you to be very special, as it states in Zechariah 2:8: "Whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye." Therefore, you can be assured of His desire to bring comfort to your troubled heart. See also 2 Corinthians 1:4, 7:6.
There are practical steps you can take as you seek freedom from your fears. In the book "Happiness Is a Choice" by Frank Minirth, M.D. and Paul D. Meier, M.D., a number of suggestions are listed as helps to decrease anxiety:
• Determine to obey God. God commands us not to be anxious (Philippians 4:5).
• Pray. God promised Daniel He would answer and Daniel was not to fear (Philippians 4:6, Daniel 10:12).
• Meditate on positive thoughts: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). See also Psalm 34:4, 86:15; Isaiah 40:28-31; Proverbs 1:33; John 14:27.
• Divert attention from self to others (Philippians 4:10, 2:3-4). As an individual gets his mind off his own problems by helping others, his anxiety also decreases.
• Set a time limit on your worries. Probably ninety-eight percent of the things we are anxious about or worry about never happen. Learning to live one day at a time is an art that can be cultivated.
In his book, "Walking Through the Darkness," Neil Anderson suggests the following prayer for those troubled by fear:
"Dear Heavenly Father, You are the fortress, shield and strength of my life. I refuse to be intimidated by any fear object. I choose to sanctify Christ as the Lord of my life. You are the only omnipotent, omnipresent God. You have not given me a spirit of fear. By Your presence in my life I have power, love and a sound mind. Your power enables me to live a responsible life. Your presence in my life has made me a partaker of Your divine nature so I can love others as You love them. You are my sanctuary, and I ask You to protect my family ... Amen."
If your anxieties continue or increase, we suggest that you see a competent Christian counselor for additional help. For referral to Christian counselors in your area you might contact Focus on the Family, telephone (800) 232-6459.