The most important message in the Bible study, Breaking Free (both the old and new version), by Beth Moore is learning how to break out of the strongholds that keep us in captivity. A stronghold is basically anything that exalts itself in our minds and pretends to be bigger than our knowledge of God. (See 2 Corinthians 10:4-5) It makes us feel separated from God and hinders our Christian walk. We become unproductive and ineffective. As a survivor of panic attacks, depression, and social anxiety, I immediately identified with my mind keeping me a prisoner so that I could not live the abundant life in Christ.
The first step to breaking free of any stronghold is to identify the lies that you are believing. The lies I believed during my season of panic were that there was something terribly wrong with me and that no one could help me; I would never get better; I would never be free of panic or be able to regain control of my mind; I was going insane. I believed God must've meant for me to live with panic attacks or else why would I be experiencing them. I did not realize that the panic attacks were a direct result of my perfectionism, workaholism, and flawed thinking stemming from a low self-esteem and the abuse in my past.
Once you've identified the lies, the next step is to look up Scriptures--God's Truth--that will defeat those lies. This is when I wrote down every Scripture I could find on overcoming fear. After seeing how many times God tells us in Scripture not to fear or be afraid, the lies I believed began to lose their grip on me. By reading my Scripture verses twice a day for several months, they began replacing the lies in my head, and I began to have a "renewed mind". When I began asking that God would fill me with His Holy Spirit every morning, my days began to get easier. I was able to accomplish more. It was a process--it didn't happen overnight. For awhile I couldn't do more than one thing at a time. For instance, I couldn't clean house and then make out a grocery list. Or I could go to the store, but I couldn't do any other errands that day. If I tried, I usually broke out in tears and had to turn the car around and come home. My mind wasn't able to handle alot at first and I was still taking a sedative three times a day. But as I continued having a daily quiet time and doing Bible studies, God's Word began to heal my mind and I began experiencing a peace and joy that I cannot begin to describe.
Reading, speaking and praying the Scriptures I wrote down also fed the Holy Spirit in me. So much so that after about four months, I was able to pray down panic attacks with my Scriptures. It was a wonderful victory for me, and I give God all the glory. He made me bold enough to grab my cards and pray them. I don't know what I expected to happen; I just knew that I'd grown so close to God, I didn't want fear to make me feel separated from Him again. I guess I viewed those cards as my lifeline to God. He was gracious to me and as I prayed them, His Spirit rose up in me and made the panic flee. Praise you, Lord!
I encourage you to identify your strongholds--any lies you are believing over God's Truth--and then ask God to help you find Scripture to refute those lies. As you look in your Bible concordance, some verses may speak to your heart more than others...those are the ones you will want to write down. You can also go to www.biblegateway.com and type in a key word to find Scriptures. Then confess your sin to God for believing those lies over His Truth, and ask Him to cause His Word to renew your mind. Stay in Bible studies, keep bringing your problems and requests to God, and keep speaking and praying those Scriptures. Your mind, as well as your life, will be edified and restored. Your walk with God will be enriched.