Jonatan has had a pretty good life with not much to be anxious about. But at the same time he’s struggled with anxious thoughts for almost as long as he can remember.
“Do I fit in with the others? Am I normal? When people look at me do they think I am normal?
“I was plagued for a long time by anxiety and these thoughts held me completely captive. All kinds of thoughts.
“I know that everyone gets anxious but I’ve had incredibly much of it in my life. Right from when I was young I began to think about the future, what was going to happen, was I going to become ugly when I was older? And you’re always worrying about what other people think about you and say behind your back. If you’re weird or abnormal or whatever.
“And if I’m busy worrying about one thing I try to comfort myself by saying that once that thing happens then I can rest. I don’t need to be anxious. But then that is done and there is something else that comes up. It starts up again and never ends. Just a big circle.”
Possible to be free
“These thoughts weren’t logical at all. They’re maybe even a bit stupid but that’s just the way I would think and I would think things like this almost every day. These thoughts come up almost every single day. I’ve been plagued by this for a long time.
“Ever since I was young I knew that God’s word says that we shouldn’t be anxious but it was difficult to figure out how.
“There was a long time where I didn’t do anything about it at all. I had heard that we are called to take up a battle against our sin but I didn’t fight against anything in my life at that time. I just went around every single day and worried about everything. And I knew that it was a huge burden but I didn’t do anything about it.
“But then one day I remember there was a girl in our church who said in all honesty that she had started a fight against anxious thoughts. And then I sort of woke up and thought, ‘This can really happen. This is real.’ Since that day I’ve fought. On that day I knew that it was possible to be free.”
All things work together for good
“It helps me to think of that verse in Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’ So no matter what happens I know that it’s God’s will and that He makes sure that all things work together for good for me.
“You just have to come to a simple faith. If you start to doubt that verse in a bad situation and think, ‘This is awful, this sucks, there’s no way this could in any way be good for me,’ then you have to throw these thoughts away and just have a simple faith that it really is the best. I choose to believe that, even if I don’t see it there and then, every situation works towards my best.
“And often what that means is that I realize in these situations that I have sin in my flesh. So maybe I’m going through a really tough day but it helps me realize that I am actually impatient or I judge people or whatever it is. Maybe I was proud. And when I see that sin then I can get victory over it and get more salvation. That’s how God works the situation to my best.”
Putting anxiety to death
“When the anxious thoughts come up then I just deny them. I say ‘no’ to these thoughts and I remember that God works everything for my best. When I do not let these thoughts live then I am putting them to death.
“When I put my thoughts to death then a little part of the sinful flesh in me actually dies. So I know that the more I fight against these thoughts the less I will be plagued by them. It is my hope that in the future I will have completely overcome, so I won’t even be tempted to anxiety any more.
“And there’s already a huge difference in my life. Before I just went around a slave to worry and anxiety. It was difficult for me to be happy but now I have joy in my heart. An incredible, pure joy.
“And it’s not like the fleeting happiness from before. That was a passing happiness, based on feelings. If I happened not to be feeling too anxious that day. But this is a joy with content, because I have fought for it and I am fighting for it.
“That brings me a completely pure and lasting joy. It’s that real joy that I was missing before. But I have it now. More and more.”