When we don’t trust God to be our defender, protector, provider, healer and comforter. This is when we feel like we are all alone and have to attack every problem by ourselves, but we can’t figure out how.

That’s where the disciples were when they couldn’t heal a man’s son who had severe seizures. So, the father brought the boy to Jesus. Jesus rebuked the demon and the boy was healed. Then, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why couldn’t we drive out the demon?”

His answer in Matthew 17:20 NIV was straightforward. “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Move that Mountain

A crisis of faith can begin when we look at the mountain that we know must be moved, but we stress over how we can move it on our own. and know it is too big for us to move on our own. Still, we are convinced it must be moved we just can’t figure out how to move it, but we are concerned because we think we are the only ones who can.

This is a circular thinking pattern. When we can’t break out of it, we are driven by anxiety, worry, and concern. That can lead to even more overwhelming emotional and mental issues that leave us paralyzed and unable to make any decisions.

Instead of handing the issue we are facing to God and trusting Him to deal with it, we worry about it. That steals our peace and feeds the anxiety we can literally feel building within us.

We think about the issue over and over examining it from every possible angle. We become compulsive about solving it, but we still have no solution. So, think about it over and over again getting absolutely nowhere. Instead of stopping there, we do it again and again and again and again.

Out-of-Control Emotions

Unless we trust God with the issue, our anxiousness results in nothing being solved or fixed. The issue is still there.  This repetitive action can result in us being driven by anxiety. It makes us feel stuck or caged-in to the point that we see things we want to do, but our anxiety keeps us from even trying.

Our anxiety is a reaction to our out-of-control emotions. It may feel similar to fear, but it is not a reaction to an immediate physical danger. Anxiety won’t mobilize us to run to safety. It paralyzes us so no action can take place. It drives our emotions inwards. It tries to push them down into an area of our soul that we think is inaccessible. We try to get rid of emotions we don’t want to feel, but they are still there.

Since we can’t silence it, we try to redirect our anxiety into compulsions or addictions. We engage in these actions to get our minds off of what we are anxious about. A compulsion is something negative we do over and over again because we think it makes us feel better. It’s our go-to behavior when we feel anxious. It can be many things such as hoarding, cutting one’s self, pulling out our hair, overeating, binging, bulimia, anorexia, drinking alcohol, misusing drugs, or anything we can’t stop doing.

Compulsions Lead to Addictions

Compulsions can lead to addictions. Addiction starts out as something we are doing to make ourselves feel better. We think it’s good for us, but it isn’t. Think about a big piece of your favorite cake. Even thinking about it may make you feel better, but if you eat the entire cake or eat cake every time you are feeling sad, overwhelmed, angry, lonely or any other emotions, that action will take over your life and become a detriment.

We know when we are doing things like this, we aren’t in control. It can develop into an emotional and mental issue all encouraged by the evil one. With him, everything starts out as a half-truth, morphs into a lie, then a habit, stronghold, and addiction. He wants to immobilize us and keep us tied up in the belief that we are good for nothing, not loved, not worthy, and not even worth occupying space on the planet.

He wants us out of the picture and will help destroy our lives, our destinies, and any influence we have to bring people to Christ. Of course, he helps us feel anxious. He wants us gone.

Anxiety Disorders and Spiritual Issues

Those who have crossed over into being anxiety-driven are subject to having diagnosed mental health issues called anxiety disorders—generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders that cause physical symptoms, social anxiety disorders, separation anxiety disorders, agoraphobia, and others. I am familiar with agoraphobia because it was part of my mother’s issues. It kept her captive inside our home.

Doctors say an anxiety-driven person has a combination of emotional and mental instability. I agree, but they leave out what I see as the biggest cause of anxiety—spiritual instability. Those who are anxious about everything are living in an extreme crisis of faith. It may be fueled by some diagnosed anxiety disorder, but I know from experience that it can only be overcome by a combination of spiritual and psychological counseling.

To hear more of my mother’s story and how God helped us both, listen to episode 161 of Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast, Driven by Anxiety. Go here.