After the Storm
Words by Elisabeth Michal
Fear and anxiety. I can finally put words to it.
I spent years and years with feelings I couldn't place, I couldn't name. I couldn't understand these emotions I was experiencing more often than I’d like to admit.
It wasn't until I moved overseas and struggled on a more consistent basis that I was able to name what I was feeling. Living in a developing country brings out both rational and irrational fears in the best of people, not to mention someone who has an overactive imagination and desires safety more than most. (I was also introduced to the Enneagram and my #6 personality type.) Being there gave me permission, in some way, to validate what I was experiencing in not only a physical sense, but on an emotional and spiritual level as well. Suddenly, I was able to admit what I was feeling, to myself and those closest to me— the hardest and most humbling step of all.
But let me clarify: saying these things out loud did not make them disappear from my life, nor were they easier to manage. In fact, they became more prevalent. Because I knew what I was looking for in myself, I could more easily spot them and drag them out to unrealistic lengths. It's like noticing a little detail you never have before, and suddenly that's all you can see—everywhere.
However, this also put the power to change my reactions and thoughts back into my own hands. I was aware of what was going on and could make the conscious effort to combat this fear and anxiety at the source. I realized these thoughts were being put in my head to manipulate my emotions and throw barriers in my way. Knowing this, I was able to develop methods allowing me to not only acknowledge what was happening inside of me, but also confront it and subsequently walk through it.
Because I knew the devil was using this weakness in me, the only thing to do was turn to Someone who is infinitely more powerful. Someone who had already fought and won my battle. So, I started memorizing Scripture to throw in the devil’s face whenever he thought he could get ahold of my heart and mind. I found strength in simply speaking these truths out loud.
I compiled these 10 powerful Bible passages to combat fear and anxiety:
1) Isaiah 41:10, 12–13: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’”
2) Psalm 125:1–2: "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.”
3) Romans 8:37–39: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
4) Ephesians 6:10–13: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
5) 1 Peter 1:3b–5: "According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
6) James 1:2–4: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
7) 2 Corinthians 1:3–4: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
8) Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
9) Proverbs 30:5: “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
10) 2 Chronicles 20
Keeping these Scriptures in a place I could easily find them and speak them over the situation allowed me to face my anxiety head on. To be completely honest, it wasn’t until I embraced my anxiety for what it is (and what it may always be here on earth) that I found the source of my true safety and security. It wasn’t until I walked through the most challenging and battle-filled days of my life that I understood this was something I could not control or overcome on my own. It’s something I have to fully surrender daily, yet something I still find myself wanting to cling to with my entire fleshly being.
But his story in me is not over yet. He is still writing redemption and restoration with every breath I take.
You see, learning to embrace the struggles, the pain, and the suffering completely turned everything around. The moment I stopped fixating on the individual situation and started putting it into a biblical context, I suddenly felt a new purpose and different goal. My focus changed from wondering how I could stop feeling “attacked,” to understanding this was not the end point. I stopped looking at the individual moment and instead saw the bigger picture he was painting in me and through me.
Not only did I see this restoration in my own life, but I started recognizing it in the lives of my family members and friends. I started seeing past the trials and started seeing the beautiful opportunity for redemption, for God’s glory to shine. For him to be made greater in spite of, and directly because of, our present circumstances. Without these daily trials, there would be no room for him to work in the most powerful ways. In ways that could develop our testimonies to be more powerful than anything we could obtain in a “comfortable” or “stable” life.
So, when we’re in the middle of the storm with no idea how to escape, we can rest in the fact that he is working, he is fighting, he is writing beautiful redemption into the darkest of places. His words, his truth, they remind us the circumstances are temporary, but he is eternal.