Written By Ken Alexander
Anxiety and panic attacks are awful and debilitating. I thank God that although I have had great stress and anxiety, He helped me cure most of it about 15 years ago. As I look back on my life, I see so many ways that God has led me. Even as I feel I am in control and moving myself forward with my own plans, yet God is working through my life and circumstances to grow me up into Christ and make me into the man of God He wants me to be.
I had long ago memorized all the important verses related to anxiety and told them to myself over and over again. God’s Word is so precious as it contains all our most important answers not just for salvation, but for how we can love and thrive in life itself in the here and now. His promises are so precious and fulfilling:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Why couldn’t I just trust God at His Word and be cured? Was God not true to His promises or was my faith weak? Looking back, it was neither. Anxiety was simply to be a part of my life story that God was going to use to be able to help hundreds of others as they too battled the debilitating disease of the mind and flesh.
My research and experience tells me that anxiety often has both an organic and mental/emotional basis in most of us who suffer from it. It is not “just one thing” with “just one cure,” even as modern medicine races to find the silver pill that will cure it all without damaging us in the end. Benzos and SSRI’s may be necessary for some in a very short window of time, but they have to be one of the most dangerous class of drugs ever invented. I caution anyone to never start on one without talking to a specialist, or ideally two opinions, and not just your family doctor. These drugs are highly addicting and will alter your mind.
About 20 years ago, God was gracious enough to take me on two journeys at once with my mind and my body. With my mind, God allowed me to finally see that no matter how much scripture I memorized or repeated to myself, the necessary ingredient for the activation of God’s Word was my truly coming to believe God in all of His promises. When God says that I am a New Creature in Christ and that my sins, past, present and future were all forgiven on the cross of Christ in 30 A.D., and I died with Christ and rose with Him to a New Life, Dead to Sin, Freed from Sin and alive in Christ Jesus (Romans 6), God means it. The only issue is would I step out in faith and grab ahold of these truths and make them my own, and go on my own walk to the promised land that God had in store for my life, or would I continue to keep trusting more in Ken than God?
Here I was traveling around the world building up millions of frequent flyer miles, and I had become afraid of flying. I had three very bad experiences in one year: falling some 10,000 feet in a pocket of air at once after being hit by lightning going into New Orleans and having to circle for almost three and a half hours between Chicago and Newark because of high winds. Then we were the first to land and as we descended into Newark, we were on a roller coaster rocking and rolling across the air. With the runway in sight the plane slowed then sped up, slowed then fast again, as we swayed from side to side. It seemed to me that there was no way this plane was going to make it on this pass and we would be waived off, but the ground rose up to meet us and the pilot literally landed the plane both sideways and with one wing touching just inches from the ground. In my mind, I quit my job that evening, or so I thought, but with having to get back home and support a family and career, I got back on the next set of planes with even greater anxiety.
That same year my boys made it deep into the basketball playoffs and the only way to watch them play in the quarterfinals of the State was to get on a little six-seater with some friends and fly up. As I sat beside the pilot, it seemed so familiar yet I was scared. Back in my short stint as a missionary support person, I had flown in that seat in and out of Haiti, and one of my pilots died running into the mission’s radio tower. Small planes can be dangerous, and how in the world do they stay in the air?
On this trip to the game, I asked the pilot to explain to me how planes stay in the air, and it was fascinating. Did you know that planes can’t just fall out of the sky, and they cannot completely roll over when the pilot turns the wheel hard and the wing dips 75 degrees? I learned that day that the reason why planes do not roll over is that as the pilot turns and the wing goes down the force of the air on that side of the plane become stronger and stronger and pushes the plane back upright.
Truth has a way to not only comfort us but to cure us. Jesus said that “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). When we can find the lies we are telling ourselves and replace them with God’s truth, we can be set from our anxiety. But there is more than that in this story. I learned that if a pilot hits great turbulence he simply has to take his hands off the wheel, and the plane will naturally go back to upright as it bobs up and down because of the force of the air under its wings. How true this is of the Christian life. How much do we sometimes hate it when we are told, “just let go and let God.” It seem so trite and so unloving when we are hurting so badly and yet nothing could be closer to the truth. What is often causing our anxiety is that we keep trying to be in control. We keep grabbing the wheel tightly instead of letting go and letting God take us where He wills. We must be open and ready to hear truth, and see where we need to not just relax in Him, but make the changes in our lives that He has placed on our hearts. When turbulent times hit, it is time not to fight, but to surrender to our Father who loves us and allows Him to grow us up into Christ.
There is almost always an organic part to the anxiety cure and sure enough about this same time of surrendering to Christ and accepting my New Life in Him, I had four teens in my home and a marriage that was difficult. Looking back on it, I realize that God was gracious in sending me the greatest physical pain I have ever experienced as I was whacked by a gallbladder attack. I knew what it was right away because gallstones run in the family and being two hours from the closest hospital and the country doctor’s doors closed for the weekend, I decided to tough out it in bed for the next eight hours until the crescendos of pain subsided.
Not wanting to have my gallbladder removed, I decided to go on a journey of discovery to see if an unhealthy gallbladder could be cured. Many hours were spent on research and reading extensively on the Internet that was in its infancy. The knowledge I gained was extensive looking for a cure for this little clogged up gland, or sack, that holds extra bile to be released when an large fatty meal hits our stomachs. It’s a brilliant evolutionary addition (ha!), as only God could have created it, but the gallbladder needs proper care to keep it healthy.
For the sake of brevity, I will not go into the many things I had to do to cure my gallbladder but as a result of the health changes I made, I discovered that my anxiety and brief depressions were disappearing. The key was that instead of avoiding fats almost completely, I started embracing good fats and regularly taking fish oils, magnesium, lecithin, and drinking far more water each day. Little did I know that these are also the same things often given to patients who are seeking a nutritional approach to the relief of their anxiety.
It did not take more than two weeks on heavy doses of these supplements before my mind started becoming clearer, I was losing my extra weight, and I was feeling very good. Actually, my gallbladder continued to be a problem for many years after my anxiety was cured. After the eighth gallbladder flush, it seems I had finally cleaned out the little sack of its cholesterol chucks that were getting stuck in the bile duct, and I have not had an attack in more than five years. I can eat whatever I want in moderation, but two to three times a week on a morning empty stomach I take my concoction of magnesium, fish oils, and sunflower lecithin to have my gallbladder fully erupt.
Are you stressed out, burdened, anxious and depressed? Don’t give up seeking God’s face in prayer, trusting in His promises and looking for answers. Part of those answers God may be giving you today which is to look into the organic causes as anxiety and depression are rampant with the American low-fat diet or bad fats diet. Find out what are the best brain foods and why essential fatty acids are not called essential for no reason, but have over 100 various functions in the body and brain.
Finding my New Life in Christ and feeding my mind with God’s promises, along with the things He allowed me to find that could make me healthy were my anxiety cure. Lori and I walked forty minutes a day memorizing promise after promise of passages in Romans, Ephesians ,and Colossians. I am so happy now! It is hard to even put into words the blessings upon blessings that God has given me and the Alexander family.
We believe firmly in trusting all of God’s promises, even the ones that are hard to grasp, such as, “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9). If we died with Christ, dead things don’t care about the things of this world and its circumstances, even the attacks, difficulties, and sickness. For we know that we must just let go and let God take control during the turbulent times to allow God to right our lives. Only when we are in His loving arms can we find true life, abundant and free.
We invite you to join us on this fantastic journey of faith. We don’t want or need you to agree with everything Lori writes. but rather we want to challenge you to your own walk in the Spirit. Let go of the wheel and trust God at His Word. If He convicts you that you should be home with your babies, then test Him at His Word. If He asks you to surrender to your husband and trust him and his leadership in your life, then take that leap of faith and give it a try, knowing that sin and the circumstances of this world can disappoint us, and mess things up, but God and His Word will always remain true.
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:4