Ask Dr. Stanley: I trust God, so why am I still anxious?
Beneath the surface of every fear or anxiety is a root cause, and Christ has given you the power to find freedom from it.
Q: I trust God with all my heart, so I don't understand why I'm finding it nearly impossible to surrender one particular fear. I've prayed and prayed, but my heart just can't let go of this anxiety.
A: You’ve taken the first step by recognizing that you’re anxious. One of Satan's most subtle and successful traps is to tempt us to focus on our circumstances. But anxiety isn’t caused by all the outward things we think are to blame. It’s an inward problem. You are never healed of emotional sickness until you’re willing to face the truth about what’s inside you and deal with it.
Whenever you’re gripped by anxiety, stop and identify its root. Ask yourself, Why am I so anxious about this? and let the Holy Spirit reveal what is hidden beneath the surface. Sometimes you’ll find you’re actually paralyzed by inadequacy—you’re afraid of failing or not measuring up. You might find that guilt is holding you back, or even the false idea that God is a ruthless taskmaster or scorekeeper. And in connection with these feelings or erroneous views is what I call “the tape recorder.” We usually don’t realize that by playing a loop of the misbeliefs we were taught throughout life, this invisible recorder often directs our thinking.
So, when that fear recurs in your mind, recognize the misbelief for what it is and say, "All right, that's the recorder playing. Now, where did this thought originate?" When you’ve traced back to its root, say, "I reject that. I don't have to play that recording any more. And if it goes off again, I refuse to listen."
Then you can pray, "Father, I thank You that this anxiety is not of You, because You did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7 KJV). I rebuke this fear in the name of Jesus Christ. I reject this feeling and refuse to be bound by it from this moment on." Then, reach for Scripture, and let the Lord speak anchoring truth to your heart.
For more questions and answers, tune in to In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley each week (check local listings)—or visit Ask Dr. Stanley.