Antidote to Anxiety

Janet Aucoin July 30, 2021

Janet Aucoin and Alexandra Nitzschke walk through the complex topic of anxiety and its various underlying heart issues by studying the Sermon on the Mount, and discuss how to find freedom within anxiety in our relationship to Christ.

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Anxiety: Anatomy and Cure - Bob Kellemen

Anxious for Nothing - John MacArthur

Gentle and Lowly - Dane Ortlund

Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety - Elyse Fitzpatrick

Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 - Phillip Keller


Stop it - Ben Newhart as a psychotherapist

Trust God: Psalm 131 - Brent Aucoin

Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.
Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that
the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.
Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.
Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of
my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to
inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as
women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either
Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of

Janet: Well, welcome back. I am here once again with Alexandra and today we're going to be
talking about something that is so common, we may not even realize it's possible to be rid of it.
I'm talking about anxiety and am I the only one who deals with this.
Alexandra: You are not Janet. So this is a complicated topic that I think is not always discussed
in Christian circles with the most loving or helpful responses. I like to call these situations Bible
band-aids just slapping on a Bible verse without providing soul care. And because of that, I think
it makes it harder for believers to share that they do struggle with anxiety, but I think it is a more
common struggle than what most people realize.

Janet: Oh, I have yet to meet the person who doesn't at some level need to battle this. And I think
we decide either just memorize: don't worry, and then feel guilty that it didn't work or we just
assume that everybody worries and it's not a big deal.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: You know? So what is it, what, when I say anxiety, what is that? And I'm going to try to
clarify that. You know, anxiety, the way I'm defining it can be anything from just this low grade
sense, that something isn't right to a full blown panic attack and a lot of other things I found this
website really helpful. At, listen to this definition of anxiety. So this is from a
secular place, but I think they understand what it is. I found it really helpful. They say "a state of
uneasiness apprehension as about future uncertainties." Yep. I can relate to that. It also says "a
state of apprehension, uncertainty, a fear resulting from an anticipation of a realistic or a
fantasized threatening event or situation that often impairs physical and psychological
functioning." And they went on to say this "in other words," cause I'm like, that's a lot of words,
"anxiety occurs when we behave, think, and act in an apprehensive manner, such as when
worrying about an event or situation." They go on to say "With this in mind, anxiety is not a
force or a thing in itself. It's a state of uneasiness that results when we worry, because imagining
the future in an apprehensive manner is a behavior it's not caused by a biological, chemical, or
genetic problem with the brain. Anxiety results from a certain style of behavior." And that's all
from them. And I thought, wow, even the. Anxiety to worry. Worry is a lot of what I'm doing in
my mind and anxiety is then how it affects how I feel. And I know there are a lot of varied
opinions on, is there a genetic component and I'm not here to debate that or to downplay that.
Here's what I want us to really take from that. There is much hope here because there's a tie to
worry. Anxiety isn't just something that comes upon me that I have no control over, and I can't do
anything about, there's a tie to worry. And why is that good news? God has answers for worry.
So this definition considers anxiety then to be the physical response to worry in some kind of
way. So if I'm going to talk about anxiety, I really need to think about. Okay, how do I handle my
worry that's leading to it? Instead of trying to not feel anxious. How about the worry, which I'm
going to define that: as an over anxious concern regarding the future or regarding certain things
or circumstances and it's that, that keeps a person from fulfilling current biblical responsibilities.
So most of us are well aware it's sinful to worry, but that just doesn't stop us.
Alexandra: You know what I appreciate that you use the word concern just now. Cause a lot of
negative emotions are sinful distortions of God-given good emotions. I think anxiety is a
distortion of being constructively concerned to be biblically concerned is an emotion that is
given from God and honors God when used in the right context for the glory of God.
Janet: Yup.
Alexandra: If I have a friend who is making poor decisions in their life, it is loving for me to be
concerned, but because of sin, I can easily distort biblical concern into sinful worry. I'm excited

to dig into God's word with you and chat about how the gospel makes a difference in a believers
fight in the struggle with anxiety.
Janet: Yes. and that's so true. What would be wrong with a person who would see someone, they
love walking a path of destruction and have no emotion tied to that?
Alexandra: It's not loving.
Janet: No, I should be concerned. When does it turn into worry? So we're going to look at a
common passage that pertains to worry. So we can just kind of pull out the causes, which will
lead us to biblical solutions to worry, and then tie that to God's character. So we are going to go
to Matthew 6, which is the very, I think, common place to go if you're going to talk about worry.
And normally we want to start with, " That's why I tell you not to worry about everyday life" in
verse 25. So, but we're not going to start there because it's interesting that it says, that's why I tell
you which means there's some things before that, that we really need to talk about. So Matthew 6
is right in the middle of the sermon on the Mount. Which is the longest recorded sermon by
Christ and the sermon on the Mount is really a picture of what true righteousness would look like
and right smack in the middle of that, we have this passage I'm going to start reading in verse 19.
So let me read verses 19 to 21, and then we'll go from there. "Don't store up treasures here on
earth." And you're probably thinking when the worlds that have to do with worry. Well, I don't
know "where moths can eat it and rust can destroy it and thieves can break in and steal. Instead
store your treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy, thieves don't break in and
steal. For wherever your treasure is there your heart will be also." And it's interesting next to
verse 21, I have written this "earth bound treasure leads to anxiety bound needs," and that was
from a sermon that my husband did on this subject. Think about that earth bound treasure. What
are you treasuring? I mean, we all live for some kind of treasure. If you want to know your
behavior, including those feelings of anxiety, they're going to indicate what's valuable to you.
Alexandra: So true.
Janet: When our treasure is earth bound, I'm just going to say, you need to worry. There is a lot to
worry about. Why? Moth and rust can destroy it. Thieves can break in and steal it. I cannot
guarantee I'm going to get what I'm treasuring. If I get it, I can't guarantee I'm going to keep it.
And I have to worry and fret about it. Think about that. Just think about that even in an example.
If I have an idol, a treasure, an earthly treasure of, I need to have a certain relationship. Well, I
don't know if I'm going to get it. So there's a lot to worry about now. Let's imagine I have it. Oh
my word, what if something happens and I lose it. Now I have a lot to worry about. So what I
worry about is going to help me understand what I'm treasuring. Instead, heaven bound treasure
is secure. I can rest. Why? Because nothing can happen to that. That treasure is guaranteed by
God. So what I invest in, what I treasure, that indicates where my heart is, is what I'm reading in
verse 21. So my worry, my anxiety, my fear, that just indicates what I'm truly treasuring. Then
we get to see in the next few verses that I don't get to serve both at the same time. I can't be

serving my earth-bound treasures and my heaven bound treasures at the same time. He talks
about your eye being like a lamps. If your eye is healthy. So what do you allow in? And then he
goes on and says, "no one can serve two masters. You'll hate the one and love the other. Or you'll
be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to" here's one
earthbound treasure "money." Is it wrong to have money? No, but if, when I'm enslaved to it, I
cannot treasure God and treasure money. At the same time, I can not treasure God and treasure
any earthbound treasure at the same time. So obviously one source of worry is treasuring things
of the earth inordinately instead of treasuring God. What's another way to say that? Instead of
worshiping God alone, I worship the approval of others. I worship financial security, power,
position, prestige, appearance, relationships. Yeah. I just described idolaltry. I'm worshiping
something other than God. When I'm worrying, it would be wise to consider am I clamoring after
something in this world? Think about how you might answer this sentence. As the feelings of
anxiety are growing, I must have what, or if I lost what. It would destroy me.
Alexandra: I love that you're talking about idolatry right now. About 10 years ago, I attended a
CCEF biblical counseling conference about psychiatric disorders and Dr. Bob Kelleman gave a
talk on anxiety that was truly life-changing for me. And he described anxiety and it goes right in
hand with your definition that you mentioned earlier. He described it as "vigilance minus faith in
God. It's a self-protective, self-sufficient response to a perceived threat." And one thing I like to
ask myself in the moment when I'm feeling anxious or when I catch myself, or I should say the
Holy Spirit shows me that I'm sinfully worrying. I asked myself, what do I feel is being
threatened right now? And for me, the answer is most often something I'm idolizing, for
example, fear of man or glorifying self by people-pleasing.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And since we're talking about idolatry, we need to make sure we are clear on our
response. Like what it should be when the Holy Spirit shows us that we have an idol in our lives,
we need to repent. And that is not a popular term on this topic or in general, but it is a straight
path to joy. Anxiety is something that shows us what we need to repent from. And I repent from
anxiety by repenting from the idol that I'm tempted to worship.
Janet: And you know, that may sound harsh, but that's such hope. Otherwise, I'm a victim of
something I can do nothing about, or I see, wow, if that's what it is, God has an answer for that.
And He has said, if you confess, He is faithful to cleanse and forgive. Who wouldn't want that.
But we have to repent. You're right. So, okay. Therefore as a result of learning that I can't
worship God and something else, therefore, verse 25 is our verse. Don't be anxious. So I think it's
important that we read what we did before, because if you're now worshiping God alone, what in
the world do you have to be worried about? And I just think about that because I do worry, I
don't worship just God and I need to Savior every day. But imagine for just a minute. What if all
you wanted was to please God wherever He put you. What if that's all your heart wanted? If I

believe God's good and I believe He's in complete control than whatever circumstance He puts
me in today or in the future comes from His good hand. And all He's asked of me in any
circumstance is be faithful in your response to honor Me and love those around you. If that's
really all I need. What in the world is there to worry about. And yet we worry because that isn't
all that we're thinking about. Now let's read verses 25 then to 32: "That's why I tell you not to
worry about everyday life. Whether you have enough food and drink or enough clothes to wear
isn't life more than food and your body more than clothing. Look at the birds. They don't plant or
harvest or store food and barns. For your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more
valuable to Him than they are. Can all your worries at a single moment to your life. And why
worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or
make their clothing yet. Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And
if God cares so wonderfully for wild flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire
tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about
these things saying, what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things
dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs."
Wow. So the end of verse 30 says it this way. "Oh, you of little faith."
Alexandra: Ouch.
Janet: Yeah, no kidding. Not only am I an idolater. I also don't have a lot of faith. So here's
another indicator of what causes worry: my own unbelief. Getting my physical needs met. They
are needs, but somehow that doesn't have to lead to worry that results in anxiety. Why? Verse 32
tells me that "your heavenly Father already knows what you need." Worrying about all these
things is spending my life obsessed with what my Father is responsible for. It says "the Gentiles
seek after all of these things," you're acting like a pagan. You're acting like a spiritual orphan
instead of a daughter of the king of the universe.
Alexandra: Wow. Janet, can you read that one more time about being obsessed?
Janet: Worrying about these things is spending my life obsessed with what my Father is
responsible for.
Alexandra: Wow. That is a great statement.
Janet: And I think if we recognize that if you really thought my dad is the king of the universe,
why in the world am I going to worry about those things? Instead, verse 33, then says, "seek
first, the kingdom of God and His righteousness." What does that mean? Worship God. Make
Him your ultimate treasure. "And all these things will be added to you." Believe have faith in
your Father. There's the antidote to our anxiety already. Worship God alone and believe that He's
going to take care of you have faith in your Father. So we've already dealt with those two things.

Alexandra: So Janet, I am so thankful that you're looking at verse 25, which says, "do not be
anxious" in the context of Matthew 6. So I have battled fear, worry, and anxiety for a long time,
and it can be super discouraging when someone just gives me that one verse don't be anxious. To
me this is so discouraging because when you are battling anxiety, you just want it to be over.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And I want to say, have you ever experienced anxiety? Nobody who has it is
wanting to feel this way. There's no off button for me to push right now. It reminds me of that
mad TV skit where Bob Newhart plays a psychotherapist and his only advice to his patients is,
stop it.
Janet: I love that. I love that skit. We should probably try to find it and put it in the show notes.
It's awesome.
Alexandra: What not to do. But to experience victory and anxiety, we can't just tell ourselves to
stop a behavior or tell ourselves don't be anxious without the context of what God wants from us.
And we have to go deeper than behavior change.
Janet: Yes. And it's so true when you're in the middle of anxiety, you would love to be able to
stop it. I would love that, but I have to realize the anxiety, the anxious feelings are just a fruit and
they're coming from sinful worry, which is telling me I have a worship problem. So if I don't go
all the way back I'm not going to be able to change. So there is great hope here, even though I've
just told you that you're an idolater who has unbelief.
Alexandra: Thanks, Janet.
Janet: So, so far we've seen that idolatry and unbelief can result in worry or anxiety and fear.
And I just want to go to one other passage, that gives us an additional cause. So I'm going to go
same book. Matthew is still speaking, but we're going to go to Matthew 25. And I'm just going to
start in verse 14. Many of us are familiar with this passage. I'm not going to discuss all of it. But
I really want to look at the context and then really verse 25 here. So Matthew 25, verse 14.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He
called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five
bags of silver to one. Two bags of silver to another. One bag of silver to the last. Dividing it in
proportion to their abilities and then left on his trip." Okay. If you know this story, you know that
he expected them to invest it, to get a return on his investment and then came back. And
interestingly, the first two made a return, but in verse 25. Well, we'll start in verse 24. "Then the
servant with the one bag of silver came and said, 'master, I knew you were a harsh man
harvesting crops, you didn't plant and gathering crops. You didn't cultivate high. I was afraid I
would lose your money. So I hit it in the earth and look, here's your money back.'" So when you
first read that, it sounds like he was afraid. But interestingly. Verse 26. The master says "you

wicked lazy servant. If you knew I harvested crops, I didn't plant and gathered crops. I didn't
cultivate. Why didn't you deposit my money in the bank? Least I could have gotten some interest
on it." Interesting. So how does the owner refer to him in verse 26?
Alexandra: Lazy and slothful. His laziness led the worry instead of fateful action.
Janet: Isn't that's something! Cause he could have said, oh, you were afraid, but he recognized
that there was something behind that. There was laziness. You could have at least put it in the
bank. And I'm just going to suggest laziness can also lead to worry. Well, let's think about why
that might be. Honestly, isn't it easier to worry than to do something about it. If I'm worried, I
don't have enough money to pay. You know what that will do. Eventually, I can't even get out of
bed and go to work because I'm so worried. It paralyzes me. So I'm not willing to do the work of
disciplining my mind. And ultimately I'm not going to have money to pay rent because I didn't
go to work. It's easy to let our mind go wherever it wants. It takes hard work and discipline to
control my thinking. It's a lot easier to give in to that paralyzing fear. Quite frankly, it's a whole
lot easier than fighting. And first Timothy 4:7 says, "discipline yourself for the purpose of
godliness." And I'm just going to stop right there because people are like, oh, my word, I was
already anxious. And now you've just told me, it's my fault. And if you just work harder, it'd be
better. Here's the thing illustrating this. If we're living in the gospel, that is not intended to heap
guilt on us. That's hopeful. Because again, God has answers and this passage in His word gives
us the answers we need, and we all need to hear it. So anxiety frequently stems from fear and
worry. And those frequently come from idolatry, unbelief, laziness. Here's the good news. If
that's the case, how do I begin to get a handle on that? And we mentioned this in a previous
episode, many of us, and I will tell you, I can be this way as well, prefer to feel like a victim who
can do nothing about it. I can't help it. That's just the way I am. I'm a worrier. I can't help it.
These feelings of anxiety come over me, but you know, what, how about knowing the answer is
right there and it's actually in the causes themselves. If I struggle with wrong worship, the
answer would be.
Alexandra: Right worship.
Janet: Way to go. If I struggle with unbelief, the answer would be.
Alexandra: Believe.
Janet: Okay. If I struggle with laziness, this is really not hard. The answer is...
Alexandra: Hard work.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: So you're saying that laziness leads to worry, but also when a believer is experiencing
anxiety, If we're lazy in our response to it, then it just gets worse.

Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: It makes sense. I know I have experienced that before. There have been times in my
life where instead of doing the hard mental work of fighting my sinful worry, it feels quote
unquote, easier to distract myself.
Janet: In the moment, absolutely.
Alexandra: And when you feel stuck in anxiety, it's hard to believe that God does give me the
endurance in the moment to respond in a godly way. I mean, I see it joked about a lot on social
media that when women are stressed, they can't wait for that glass of wine or a pint of ice cream
Janet: Chocolate.
Alexandra: Yeah. I know for me it is super tempting to go on social media when I'm struggling
with sinful worry to escape for a minute, but distractions, they don't deal with the root of the
issue. And therefore they do not offer any hope for change. And it becomes this addictive cycle
that robs me of joy. I am just so thankful that God's word offers tangible steps that we can.
Janet: Yes. And so when I'm willing to humbly say I am idolizing something. I'm worshiping
something other than God. I am living in unbelief. I am being lazy. Okay. Now there's hope. So,
let me just. Okay, Alexandra, I'm going to give you a couple of case studies.
Alexandra: Go for it.
Janet: Think with me, what would this look like? Because at least for me, it helps me to do this.
So let's say. You tend to worry about your loved ones, maybe your spouse or your children, or
your parents or your siblings. And now they're... late getting home. Here's an expert warrior.
Let's see how that mind goes. He should have been backed by now. I wonder where he is. I hope
he didn't run out of gas or have an accident. He hasn't called so he may not even be able to use
his phone. Oh, my word, what if he's unconscious. If he were laying in a ditch, how soon would
anyone even know. Man, I better go look for him. He may not make it out alive.
Alexandra: Oh my word.
Janet: I know. Isn't that crazy. And remember all that's happened. He's late. That's all that I know.
And I will tell you this example comes from my life. My kids were really little, we'd been
married, I don't even know, at that point 7 or eight years. Brent councils Monday nights at the
church. So he gets home... well he's done counseling at nine, we live a half a mile from the
church, so he's usually home, but you know, 9:05 from my book. I'm home with little kids all
day. And I can't wait for him to get home because I'm home as little kids all day.

Alexandra: Right.
Janet: It's nine o'clock kids are in bed. I look at the clock. Okay. He's just finishing. It's 9:05. And
I think to myself, don't be ridiculous. By 9:15, I'm going, I mean, it's a half a mile. And I start
thinking, what if he did have an accident? Like it's right on that road. There's not a lot of cars on
that road. We didn't have cell phones back then. Does he even have his ID on him? How long
before the police would even tell me what should... My mind is going? All those places.
Alexandra: Yeah, it's easy to do if we're not careful.
Janet: And I'm thinking I can't even go look for him because the kids are asleep. I can't leave the
kids. Now that would be totally irresponsible. So I call the church thinking, you know what is
probably fine just call. No answer. I wait what I believed was probably 15 minutes was probably
about two. I call again. No answer. I don't know how long I waited. I called again and he
answered. That's what I know what is happening now. I find out later on the other end is he was
counseling someone and it was hot and heavy and nobody's in the building, but him. So the
phone rings, he doesn't stop counseling to answer the phone until the third time it rang where he
looked at the clock and he looked at the guy he was counseling. And he said, that will be my
Alexandra: Oh.
Janet: To my shame. He knew that would be me. And he's like, I better get this. And he let me
know. So expert worrier, I get it. I'm there with you, but if I hadn't called him and he didn't
answer, they come home and what typically happens now you're hysterical. And then he could
say something like, well, you know, I just stopped to get gas. Somebody recognized me, they
wanted to talk about a problem. I prayed with them. And then I came home. Oh, well, in all of
my, fantasy thinking that would never crossed my mind. Never did that. So we'll talk about how
I can do that differently in a minute, but maybe that one doesn't relate to you. Let's think about
another one. I worked with college kids. This is one I have lived through them. I didn't actually
do this one. So let's imagine you text your boyfriend and say he usually gets back to me right
away. I wonder if he's mad at me. Oh, what could I have said that upset him. So I keep rereading
my last text. You know, I didn't put a smiley face. I bet he thought I was mad. I was just kidding.
Oh my word. What if he thinks I'm serious? I bet he's just getting bored with me. I can just
picture him rolling his eyes at that last text. I'm such an idiot. Why did I do that? I shouldn't have
texted them at all. I'm so stupid. Oh, I bet he's mad at me. I just keep bothering him. I think I
should text again and apologize for texting so much. Remember, all this happened is he hasn't
responded to a text. And then when he does call you start with I'm so sorry. Do you hate me? Are
you irritated with me? I'm so sorry. And he says, my phone was on silent. I was in a meeting. Oh,
well, yeah. That's another alternative, I suppose. I didn't go there. Why? What was I treasuring?
What was I worrying about? What was more important to me than worshiping God? So how do
we apply what we just learned? Because hopefully they're kind of extreme and yet kind of not, I

can tell you that the first one I've lived in the second one, I know many who've lived. I just don't
do it with texts because quite frankly, if I waited for my husband to text me back as a sign of his
love. My husband's not a texter, so I'm just not tempted in that way. So when he does text me
back, I'm like that man loves me. So I know that's he just doesn't ever see his phone. So, but what
did we learn? Let's go back to the beginning of the first scenario. He should have been back by
now. All right. Where's the sinful thinking? Well, here's my unbelief. I cannot trust God to do
what is best for my loved one. I have to have control or at a minimum. I have to know what's
going on. Where's my idolatry. I have to be guaranteed that there will be no pain that nothing bad
will ever happen to my husband. I have to guarantee that things go the way I think. Where's my
laziness. Well, I'm not going to take those thoughts captive. I'm going to let my imagination run
wild. I'm just going to think about, okay, how am I going to handle it? When? If the worst
happens? And I hear that a lot. I just need to be prepared. So I imagine the worst so I can be
prepared for it. And I have to say this to you. Do you realize you don't have grace for your
imagination? When you try to imagine, what would I do if God, let my husband be killed by his
best friend while they're on a mission trip to do... like all these things I can think of and go, that'd
be hard on top of hard on top of hard. What would I do? Well, I don't know, but I do know I
won't do it without the grace of God.
Alexandra: Amen.
Janet: But in my thinking I am. So because I'm going to believe that I'm going to trust God. I'm
not going to let my mind go to things that are not true. I'm not going to idolize that. Instead, I'm
going to pray. You know what, here's what I do know about my husband. If he's not home right
now, there's a reason. And it would probably be of benefit to him that I pray to the One who's
there with him. And say, would You help him whatever he's doing. The counseling case may
have gone long. My husband's been counseling all day. He's probably really tired. God, would
You give him endurance? Would You help him to use Your words? Would you help him to
continue to be compassionate when he's tired?
Alexandra: And helps you love others in the moment. Like that's loving to your husband to pray
for him, but if you're so stuck in your sinful worry, you're not able to think about other people.
Janet: It's exactly right. And it feels like no, I'm thinking about him, Alexandra. That's all I'm
thinking about to my husband, but now I'm thinking about what I don't want to happen.
Alexandra: Yeah. What you're about to lose. What you could lose.
Janet: That's exactly. Instead, but you're right. Instead, I'm actually going to not worship my
husband, and no pain in my life, and nothing bad. I'm going to worship the God who gave me
this husband. And I'm going to choose to do what God would say to do, which is love. And so
I'm going to pray for my husband. I'm going to believe that God is with my husband wherever he
is, so I can trust that God's going to do what is best. That's not a guarantee of no pain. And then

I'm not going to be lazy. I'm going to get busy, loving God and loving others. How about
scenario two? I've texted the man of my dreams and he usually texts me back right away. Okay.
What should I do at that moment? I don't need to clamor after him. I don't need to make sure he's
thinking about me. I worship God. I have no reason to think there's anything wrong, which
would be the laziness to just go there, which is my idolatry taking me there. So instead, I'm going
to believe the best and trust God with the future of this relationship. There's my faith. There's my
belief. And hopefully you can see, those are just examples, but we can do this and I can begin to
point out why am I doing this right now instead of going, oh, I know, I just tend to believe the
worst. Why? What is it you're afraid you're going to lose. Where's the idolatry? Where is it that
you believe you know better than God. Because if God is who He says He is and He's in
complete control and He's good. I don't have to know where my husband is. I'm thankful that
God does. I don't have to know if this relationship is going to end in marriage or not. I'm thankful
that God has promised anything He allows into my life is going to be what's best for me and this
young man. And so to your point, Alexandra, when he doesn't text me back, if he typically does,
I should pray for him. He may be busy, right now. Hey, whatever he's doing, would You help him
to be honoring You in the middle of that? And then I gotta get busy.
Alexandra: You know, as we're thinking about these different scenarios and how it can relate to
our lives, a song is just popping in my head right now. The song "All I have is Christ." When that
song, when we sing that in church, I literally sit down and have a moment of repenting in that
moment and like, just time of confession, because I know I need that before I sing that song. I
don't always function as thinking or believing that all I have is Christ. I think all I have is Christ,
plus my husband, plus my kids and a good house to, you know, a safe place to live and dah, dah,
dah. Like, no, that's not what I need to glorify God. What I need to glorify God in this moment
what I need to survive and to thrive, God's what given me through the cross and
Janet: And it's secure. I can't lose it. So there's nothing to worry about. Yes. Excellent. Yes. So
it's not easy, but, hey, can we admit that that's just another idol. My goal is not ease, so I don't
have to go. Oh, my word is going to be hard. I get to go. Yay. I'm not going to idolize ease. I'm
going to worship the one whose character is so worthy. Now, those feelings of anxiety. They're
now a tool that reveal the areas of my heart that still need to be refined. No surprise. Why didn't,
when I'm imagining things, why didn't I imagine maybe he's praying with someone who needed
help? Maybe his phone's on silent. He doesn't know I texted. Where my mind goes, reveals
where my hope is. It reveals where my treasure is and it's going to reveal whether my treasure is
earth bound or heaven bound. And if it's earthly the approval of someone, the guarantee that
nothing bad is going to happen, then there's a lot to worry about. There's a lot to fret over. There's
a lot to be anxious for because those things can change, but because God never changes and I'm
hidden with Christ in God the reality is nothing that really matters can ever change for me. But
that's only true of heaven, bound treasures. So what does it, my anxiety reveal about what I love
most recognize that many of my fears and worries are about temporal things. And I think it's
spiritual because maybe I'm not worrying about the fact that I might not be a millionaire because

I'm spiritual. I worry about whether or not my husband will always be loving. That's still an
earthly thing and it's selfish instead of how can I honor God and love my husband regardless. It's
how can I know nothing bad is going to happen. "Is not life more than food and the body more
than clothing" or relationships. I think we would have to add. So what does my anxiety reveal
about my view of God? Because I said earlier, you know, if you think God is good and he's in
complete control, I seriously have nothing absolutely to worry about. So if I am worrying and
I'm worshiping something more than God, what does that mean is my view of God. Do I maybe
think He's unfair? Do I maybe think He's unable to be trusted? And I've had somebody tell me
that because they didn't, God does not guarantee you won't hurt. And when my idol is, I do not
want to hurt. I will not trust God. Look at what He did to Jesus. Look at the suffering that was
part of honoring God. And so interesting that we say as believers, I want to look like Jesus. Well,
that's a life of suffering.
Alexandra: He was a suffering servant and that's tends to be the last things we want to do is to
suffer and to serve.
Janet: Right. What we want to say is what I really meant was I want to follow biblical principles.
So I won't suffer when, if I really want to look like Jesus. I'm going to have to deal with that idol,
or I won't want to trust God because God is concerned about something better than me not ever
having pain. He's concerned about refining my soul, which is my real enslavement. That idol to
ease. That's what He's helping me with. So I need to reflect on His faithfulness and many other
attributes, His goodness. Man, how can you look at the cross and not know He is for me. And He
loves me. I need to meditate on the truth and books like the Gospel Primer. Elyse Fitzpatrick says
it this way in her book, Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety. She says, "how different do you
think life would be if you and I had a clear and accurate view of God?" Well, most of us think we
do, but think about this, "that would be better than wandering in the fog of any incorrect
perceptions we might have of God. Wouldn't it? How would knowing Him as He is, rather than
how we suppose Him to be impact our struggles with fear, anxiety, and worry. Knowing God as
He is, is a mighty weapon in our ability to overcome fear. Fear in variably flows out of a blurred
image of who God is and what He's like." Which means if I'm going to grow and trust the
antidote for anxiety, it's going to involve some hard work. There is no room for laziness in my
thinking. When I feel anxiety starting, I can stop and think, okay, what's going on? What am I
fearing? And is it consistent with the character of God? You know, I have an area, for me when
anxiety starts, it's frequently, I'll get headaches, but frequently I just feel it in the pit of my
stomach. It's like, there's just something. And I don't always know what it is. I can remember
walking around the house. I was doing laundry and cleaning up something. It was just something
I just stopped. And I was like, okay, Lord, I don't even know what it is, but there's something I'm
feeling anxious about. And I know my own heart enough to know that means I'm worrying about
something. And it's typically because I'm idolizing something. What is it? I can't even think of
anything going on. I'm just kind of doing my laundry, what's going on. So I started thinking
through my day, well, this is happening. This is happening. And then I need to make that phone

call. And I was like, I don't want to call them because I know I have to tell them something they
don't want to hear. I know it is good. I know it is right. I know that it honors God. I know I need
to do it, but I'm fearing what they're going to think of me when I say it. I'm fearing that they will
not appreciate me or admire me because I've said it and the fear of man. But you know, there's
such hope in that. It's like, oh, well, I know that I don't have to be enslaved to that. I can choose
to love whether or not they love me. I can wrestle my soul down. There's such hope there. I have
to do that all the time, too. So as we're talking about this, if you're like me, you're seeing ways
that your anxiety and worry reflects sin in your own heart like I just shared. Where I'm not
believing what God says about Himself and His character where I'm clamoring after things of
this world where I'm lazy. All right. I see myself in all of those quite frankly. And that's okay. So
what do I do with that? Do I just sit down and despair and say, I can't believe on that bad. No, the
gospel has good news for that too. How I respond to the exposure of my sin is an indication of
whether I'm living in my own works righteousness or whether I'm living out of the gospel.
Alexandra: That is an incredibly important statement. Can you read that one more time? Can you
just say that? Because I, that is so that's, that's good. Like, I need that reminder on a daily basis.
Janet: Oh, me too. And I first heard Tim Keller talked about that in a sermon and he was talking
about whether we go to... I can't remember the two mountains. It was where Moses got the 10
commandments, or if we're going to the cross, where do we go? When our sin is exposed.
Alexandra: Golgotha or Mount Sinai.
Janet: There you go.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: And he said works righteousness... because none of us would say that if we are a follower
of Christ, we would say, I know my works. Don't save me. Here's how you'll know if you're
living out of works righteousness when your sin is exposed. Does it lead you to despair?
Self-pity, I can't believe I could do that. Anger. Hopelessness. So again, how you respond to the
exposure of your sin is going to indicate whether you're living in your own works righteousness
or in the gospel. And even as believers, we can live out of our own works righteousness.
Alexandra: Totally.
Janet: So it's. Against that, against what's natural, because it's supernatural. If I'm living out of
the gospel and my sin is exposed, do you know that it actually leads to more gratitude? Oh, my
word Christ covered that too. If I really understand the gospel, God knew I would do that before
the foundation of it. When he saved me, he knew that after I'd been following Christ for what, for
me, 38 years, that I would still be selfish, I would still be petty that I would still get anxious in
the pit of my stomach because I care what somebody thinks when I've talked to them instead of

loving that person. He knew that and He covers it all. I would be having a party when I see my
sin and I would be quick to repent and be grateful. I have so much to be thankful for.
Alexandra: So, Janet, there's so much good stuff that you've shared with us today. And one thing
that I know that I have struggled with in the past to understand and believe in how the gospel
makes a difference and someone listening right now may be in the same boat. I know one of the
hardest parts about anxiety is how it makes you feel.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: It's an awful burden. You talked about the pit of your stomach. Like I feel when I
struggle with sinful worry, like there's just this boulder on my chest.
Janet: Uh, the weight.
Alexandra: Yes. And the reality is preaching truth to yourself maybe won't change how you feel
in the moment.
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: For the longest time, I felt like my fight against sinful worry was not working. And
so I was obsessive early, trying to repent multiple times over the same sin. Wasn't trusting that
the cross was enough to cover it. So I must need to do it again. And maybe God didn't hear me
because I'm still feeling this anxiety.
Janet: Maybe I haven't really repented like I think I have.
Alexandra: Right. Right. And so I realized, and actually, I think it was through a conversation
with you pointing this out in my life, but I realized that my goal in that moment wasn't to glorify
God, but it was because I wanted to stop feeling so awful. I didn't want joy. I wanted the instant
gratification of relief and because truth didn't offer that to me. I didn't want to do the hard work
to apply it. So as we were talking about how the gospel affects, how I'm feeling right now, our
goal in the struggle against anxiety has to be godly living for the glory of God, because that is
true victory. And oftentimes that means I am striving for victory in anxiety, not victory out of
anxiety. Meaning, even if those anxious feelings are not going away, I'm choosing to glorify God
right now.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: I'm going to plant those seeds of faith and trust that the Holy Spirit will keep His
promise in Galatians 6:7 which says, "you will always harvest what you plant." And that I will
have peace, even if right now I have to endure with these awful feelings.

Janet: I love that you used that passage because it goes on, it says in that passage, "So don't grow
weary in doing good, because at the proper time you will harvest if you don't lose heart."
Alexandra: I love it.
Janet: "You will reap if you don't lose heart." It's actually so sowing and reaping. And you're
saying I'm going to start sowing to the Spirit, even though I'm still reaping what my flesh has
been sowing, but starting now I'm sowing to the Spirit. Don't grow weary in doing good for at
the proper time. You will reap if you don't lose heart.
Alexandra: I love it.
Janet: Isn't that great. So God even tells us just don't grow weary in doing good. And so when
I'm fighting, I'm fighting to honor the Lord, to kill the idols, and over time God takes care of
when I harvest the peace. Excellent.
Alexandra: And it will happen at a time that glorifies Him most.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Because what I want is that instant relief and instant peace. But oftentimes that may
not be what glorifies God and I have to trust Him that He's good and that He cares for me as I'm
repenting from my anxiety.
Janet: That may not be what's best for your soul. The Lord is far more concerned about my soul
than my relief, and if my instant relief would do damage to my soul, because I would proudly
think, why can't other people handle this? I certainly can. Or life is easy. Look how spiritual I
am. Man, I pray and it goes away. And if my soul can't handle that, then God, please keep it from
Alexandra: Whatever brings you.
Janet: And I trust Him.
Alexandra: Yeah. Whatever brings you to your knees before the Lord, we can praise Him for
Janet: Yes. Yes. So, let's think about how we apply this when anxiety and worry starts, because
can we just all admit it's going to start. I wish that I could say to you, I never did this. It's just not
true. Okay. Stop. And that was my example. When I felt it in the pit of my stomach, I could
either just go on, distract myself, and wait till the feeling pass. Or I can stop and pray thanking
God for specific attributes that give me reason to trust Him and to trust His love and to trust His
power. I call it hanging out at the cross until I can believe what I know is true.

Alexandra: Yep. And when fear strikes, I know I'm tempted to focus on my feelings and my
circumstances, but it's important to trust who God is and not on those things.
Janet: Yes, that's where my focus has to be. So I stop and I pray and then I need to choose belief.
I can choose to take God at His word.
Alexandra: Some truths that helped me are truths like, God cares. God will never leave me or
forsake me. I am able to endure and glorify God right now, I can do all things through Christ
who strengthens me and finding the verses that proves that, not just these like little, two word
statements that I'm reciting to myself, but what is the truth from God's word that I can preach to
myself right now.
Janet: Excellent. And that might mean making truth cards. If I know that I tend to be anxious
about certain things, I can make truth cards and pull those out and remind myself. Yes, I can trust
the Lord right now. And one of them that I think about is grace for the day, because worry is, but
I don't know how long I can do this. I don't know how long I can. I don't know how long I can
bear up. I don't know how long... You have grace for the moment. I don't have enough grace to
handle tomorrow, but I will tomorrow. Grace for the moment. I can glorify God right now, and
that's all He's asked me to do. So those are some of the truths, you're right. So now I've stopped
and I've prayed. I'm choosing to believe, even though my emotions probably have not caught up
and now I need to get busy, not distracting myself because I've already stopped and prayed and
chosen belief. I've acknowledged it. I've come to the Lord. I'm dealing with it. And now here's
my act of faith, I don't need to get caught up in like what you were talking about, Alexandra. I
better do it again. I better do it again. I better do it again. Cause I'm not feeling better. I must not
have done it, right? No, here's my act of faith. I trust You. So I'm going to move on. I am not
going to spend the rest of my day, caught up in this. I'm going to just do what needs to be done.
It's an act of faith. It's not a distraction and it's not working my way toward it. It's saying, I
believe you. I trust You with what I can't connect. And I'm going to focus on what You have
commanded me to do. I'm not going to be paralyzed. I'm going to be a faithful steward of the
responsibilities You've given me today. And here's what I know You've told me. I don't know
what other responsibilities each of us may have each day, but I'm commanded to love God and
love others. So if I'm sitting around and I don't know what else to do, do that. How else can I do
that? I sometimes encourage people this way. Which I know is going to sound silly, but it seems
to help people. Pretend you actually believe God. Pretend. Cause we all know how to do
make-believe, right. We all know how to smile and fake it till you make it thing. Pretend I've had
people read through the Gospel Primer and it will talk about how God loves them. And one that
they struggled to believe. And I'll say, just pretend you actually believed what God said, right
there. How do you think that would affect you? And they'll usually say, I probably wouldn't be to
stop smiling. Like, that's pretty amazing. Like pretend this week.
Alexandra: Live in the reality of the truth is what you're saying.

Janet: Yes. But they're saying, well, I don't know how to do that because I don't really believe it
because they've equated belief with feeling. So what I'm telling them, and I explain it, pretend
cause you know how to pretend, pretend for me right now that you believe it. Oh yeah, I would
do this. I would call people because I would trust. It was like, yeah, pretend. What I'm really
saying is stop living out of your emotion of, I don't know if I believe .It choose to believe it live
out of the reality of what's true. And if the way you can think about that is pretend. And then I
explain because I don't have to pretend it's actually true. So now go do that.
Alexandra: Yeah. Some friends and I went through the book, Gentle and Lowly together.
Janet: What a good book.
Alexandra: Oh, absolutely. In every chapter, I ended our time with saying, okay, if you actually
believe this to be true, how would this affect the way that you approached God this week or your
relationship with Christ?
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And so I love that. What you're saying is just like, pretend that you actually did
believe this. How would you live? Go live that way.
Janet: Because it's not pretend. But when I say pretend you immediately know what you would
do. And I've done that in counseling. I'll say, just pretend you believe it. What would you do? I
had one of them tell me, I wouldn't even be mad if somebody cut me off in traffic. Like, are you
kidding? If the God of the universe loves me like this, who can worry about that? And I'm like,
okay, well, you know, that is actually true. So go do that this week.
Alexandra: Love it.
Janet: You know. So what did I do, I shared with you at the beginning, my example of sinful
worry when Brent would counsel on Monday nights. Well, part of that was because I was not
occupying my mind with right things. So I decided we were working with the college students,
and they're always out late. And my kids went to bed early, so that worked out well. At 7:30,
when my kids went to bed, Bible study started in my home. And we met and frequently when
Brent would come home from counseling, they were all still there, which was then a problem
because, you know, he's exhausted. And he walks into the living room of like 10 ladies, hello,
and keeps walking and then they would all shuffle out cause he came home. I didn't even know
what time it was. It might've been 9:30. Might've been quarter to 10. Why? Because that was my
act of faith. It wasn't avoid it. It was, I'm going to choose to trust God with my husband. And I'm
going to steward my Monday nights in a way that I'm doing something that honors Him. And
what a sweet time that was. So I'm going to get busy and I'm going to draw near to the throne of

grace, this amazing God promises. We will receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of
need. So what do I need? Run to Him.
Alexandra: You know, sometimes it is hard to draw near to God when you feel anxious, because
you may feel like you're not good enough.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: There is a lot of shame that accompanies anxiety, but like you said, Janet, it's the
throne of grace. God looks upon Christ's righteousness and not mine or lack thereof when He
decides on how to respond to me approaching Him for help and care.
Janet: And hasn't Gentle and Lowly helped you see that.
Alexandra: Oh, everyone should read that book. It's so good.
Janet: Yes. So then I'm going to practice loving God and others. As a practical way of acting in
faith, instead of dwelling on what I fear I might lose.
Alexandra: So when someone sinfully worrying, they're putting too much emphasis inwardly.
Practicing, loving God, by loving and serving others is a great tool to help us all focus on
someone besides ourselves.
Janet: Yeah, and it's amazing then I don't have time to worry. I mean.
Alexandra: That's so true.
Janet: I can't really think about two things at once. I can go back and forth pretty quick to where
it feels like I am, but I can't really meditate on two things at once. And if I'm really focused on
loving God and others, I can't worry at the same moment. So what do I do for preventive
maintenance? So that's what I'm supposed to do when I feel it coming on. When it starting, how
do I prepare? You know, we talked in an earlier podcast about preparing for temptation. How
about the temptation to be anxious? How do I prepare for that? Because it's going to happen,
whether you're prepared or not. Saturate my mind with the character of God. And I have down
there, we'll put in the show notes of variety of books. We've mentioned Gentle and Lowly. Can
we say it again? Gentle and Lowly. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. I love using the book of
John, in counseling and even in my own life. In every chapter, write out what Jesus is like.
Saturate yourself with the character of God. Any Bible book, what is God like here? As I'm
saturating my mind with the character of God, I'm preparing myself to be able to think of God
accurately and worship Him fully the next tempting anxious moment.
Alexandra: Yeah, an analogy, I kind of look at it like is, it's like the depositing money into an
account. If you're going to have a big debit, like, a sin that you may be tempted to struggle with,

like anxiety, you have to keep crediting the account or else you'll be in the red. And if you
struggle with sinful worry frequently, you have to know that it's going to happen again and you
have to be prepared. And so that's how I view my time in God's word. It's giving the Holy Spirit
more to work with in my soul.
Janet: Yes, absolutely. So those are some ideas. We're also going to list some resources in the
show notes. I quoted from Elyse Fitzpatrick's book Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety. Psalm
131 is an excellent, small, short Psalm that can help us think through what does it mean to quiet
our noisy souls. And my husband did a, just a little three minute video on that Psalm. We're
going to link to that. Gentle and Lowly, Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, a book by Bob Kellemen, a
booklet. So if you're thinking, I don't have time to read a whole book. How about a booklet on
"Anxiety, Anatomy and Cure," and another book by John MacArthur Anxious for Nothing. So all
of these will be in the show notes. Hopefully, you've come away knowing while anxiety may be
common. There is hope, and we don't have to stay enslaved to that.
Alexandra: Amen.

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Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money
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Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.