When anxiety keeps you up at night | Focus on the Family Australia
When anxiety keeps you up at night
By Lauren Dunn
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Somehow it always seems to happen in the middle of the night: I think of some worry or fear and obsess over it when I’m trying to sleep. There is something about the nighttime hours that makes the shadows of my fears seem larger than real life.

What if those coworkers whispering the other day were talking about me?

What if my fears about relationships (or relationship prospects) are true?

What if my career never takes off?

What if my future doesn’t turn out the way I hope it will?

What if I stay up so late worrying that I can’t function normally tomorrow?

Cue more career worries.

Anxiety is based on lies

The subject of anxiety has rocketed into public conversation as well as daily life. Ranging from mild to severe, in Australia, anxiety affects on average, one in four people – one in three women and one in five men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. In a 12 month period, over two million Australians experience anxiety. Read more

Anxiety is complicated, often with multiple layers and causes, and can be very serious. Sometimes seeking out professional help is necessary, but all anxiety requires help on some level — help that God and others around us can give.

Anxiety throws many lies at us. When we are anxious, we are often worrying that God will not come through for us or isn’t concerned about our struggle. Maybe we worry that it’s up to us to fix our situation, or that Jesus will love us less because of our failures.

When we identify the lies we are subconsciously believing, we find new weapons to fight our anxiety.

Even giant-killers can be anxious

We aren’t the only ones who get anxious. Even the guy who killed a giant warrior with a few pebbles was anxious sometimes. Often, in fact. King David penned most of the psalms in our Bibles, and in them he wrote over and over about his fears and feelings.

David wrote about a sleepless night when he was worried beyond words, even wondering if God would ever come through for him again: “Has [God’s] steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious?” (Psalm 77:8-9)

Scary questions.

David didn’t get a verbal answer from God, and it doesn’t look like he received any special signs of God’s presence. But David chose to remember. He thought back through Israel’s history (not just his own) and reminded himself how God was always faithful, saying:

“Then I said, ‘I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77:10-12)

God had always been faithful, so David knew God would be faithful again. Even when his heart was quaking inside him as he tried to sleep, he was as safe as a little baby in his daddy’s arms.

Start here

We have the finished Bible now — including David’s psalms — and have every reason to never fear again. No matter what we feel or fear, we can bank our souls on the truths in the pages of Scripture.

Look over some of these verses, or search the Bible for a passage that speaks to the fears of your heart. Go over each word and mine every bit of meaning you can out of it. Memorise it. Grab hold of that verse — that promise — and do not let go. When a storm of anxiety rages around you, remember Jesus is holding you safe.

  • Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not!’ – Isaiah 35:4a

  • But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ – Lamentations 3:21-24

  • The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. – Psalm 138:8a

  • This I know, that God is for me. – Psalm 56:9b

  • **When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. – Isaiah 43:2

  • And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

  • No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:37-39

Fight for faith

Sometimes the lies feel so real that we have to fight to believe Jesus is strong enough, loves us enough, and is always with us.

But even when we forget, when we struggle to remember His faithfulness in ages past, Jesus is still faithful now. He is strong enough. He loves us more than we understand. And He is with us through every anxious, sleepless night.

© Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published at boundless.org.

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