Read: 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Reflect: I tend to keep my devotional anecdotes to stories about my kids. It feels safer. Today I am stripping away that safety though and going straight to the vulnerable. This may read more as a testimony than a devotional but bear with me, because God loves to speak through his people. In a dear friend of mine’s paraphrased words, “Testimonies will produce testimonies.”
Several weeks ago, I began suffering from panic attacks. What triggered them is not important but what happened subsequently is. Physically my body was ravaged – limb tingling, facial numbness, heart palpitations, headaches. Mentally my mind was in a place of distress. Even as the physical symptoms dimmed, the mental battle with anxiety continued daily for weeks on end. Worrying was not totally foreign to me but anxiety was completely new to me at this level.
I am a problem solver by nature. So immediately I set out to solve the problem and find the peace I so desired. I went to the emergency room because surely there was something physical causing this. Wrong. I went to my doctor because surely there was a magical medication that could immediately take this away for good. Wrong. I cried in the arms of my husband because surely his love could provide the comfort I needed. Wrong. I had my mom come help with the kids because surely an extra set of hands would give me respite. Wrong. I ordered oils and herbs and natural remedies to reduce stress because according to Amazon reviews, I could surely find peace their products. Wrong. I asked the advice of dear friends who had struggled with anxiety in the past because surely their words would provide all the wisdom I needed. Wrong.
Then the Lord stepped in. Anxiety is not of the Lord but instead of using the Lord to fight my battle I had been using only the world to try to find peace. So many of the things listed above as possible remedies are good. So many of them are absolutely needed and are still being utilized in my own personal journey with anxiety. God can heal in a multitude of ways. The problem, however, was that I was seeking my peace through the world and the world alone. I had forgotten the Prince of Peace in my battle.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 reads “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” Paul was speaking to a Corinthian church culture that relied on worldly weapons. Their stronghold consisted of their ill-placed value on mindsets that merited the things and ways of the world above all else. Paul’s words bring a reminder that those strongholds can be torn down but not through the weapons of the world. The world is not our ultimate answer and we must face our strongholds by bringing our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Jesus.
Am I still working through all of this? Absolutely. Every single day. Am I still utilizing so many of the good things the Lord has given me: spousal support, family help, doctor advice? Yes. But am I now starting my day and facing every battle armed with prayer, scripture and my eyes on Jesus? Without a doubt.
Apply: What stronghold are you facing right now? Your battle may lay in a relationship or at your workplace. Your battle may be a health issue. Your battle may be with an addiction. Your battle may be with greed or anger or jealousy. Take a good look at your weapons. Do they only consist of weapons of the world or have you made your thoughts captive to Christ and taken up the Word of the Lord to fight with the One who has the divine power to demolish strongholds?
Please note: Mental health is a serious topic. Doctors, counselors, family/friend/spousal support, medications all may play a critical part in journeys to health. They are certainly playing a large role in my walk through this. Please reach out to someone if you are struggling. God works his miracles through so many avenues – just don’t forget Who wants to be your eternal mainstay of peace in the battle.