Saturday, April 24, 2010

Breaking Free, Updated

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.

4 comments:

Jill said...

Joni thank you so much!!! this post has totally blessed my heart and i am so thankful you wrote this!!!!

i am currently working on just this...acknowledging the lies i have been believing and working to find Truth and believe the Truth over the lies.
for the first time ever, i feel the Lord is really starting to reveal to me what salvation and Jesus' resurrection truly means and that it is to be a Reality in my life, not just something i know about. i feel like the enemy has been coming after me so strongly and i can't wait to overcome all the lies i have been beleivng, which have had me captive for so long now.

thank you soooooooooooo much for sharing all of this!!!

love you
Jill

Joni said...

Hey, Jill,
I pray that God's Truth will uproot any lies keeping you from living the spirit-filled life God has called you to live. Remember, you are not your own; you were bought with a price; and God sees you as His treasured possession. God bless,
Joni

Meredith said...

Joni, I love your blog and your willingness to share so honestly the things you went through, the things you learned, and the things you are currently learning. I definitely identify with some of the lies you said you believed. Some of mine that I need to look up Scriptures for is "I can't do this anymore", "Something is terribly wrong with me", "There is no one to help me", "I'll never be free" . . . among others. Thank you for the reminder to fight these with Scripture. Also I wanted to share with you that last week on my way home from work, I began to feel panic coming on. Usually my prayers or verses go something like "Please God, please don't let me fear - I don't want to do this again. I know You are with me so why don't I feel better?" However I remembered how you described praying Scripture and I said outloud in the car "I WILL NOT FEAR for YOU Lord are with me. You will comfort me and help me, You will hold me with Your righteous right hand (IS 41:10). Claiming that confidence and speaking it out loud made a huge difference. Thank you for sharing your story. God is using your story and advice to make a difference in my life!

Joni said...

Hi, Meredith,
Thank you so much for sharing your testimony of how speaking God's Word can truly make a difference when dealing with panic and anxiety. I'm rejoicing with you in your victory over the enemy. When we agree with God and His Word, the enemy loses his influence over us. You are living proof!