Do you struggle with worry and anxiety? Do you find fear taking control of your life, business, or both? If this is you, you can’t miss today’s blog! Today’s blog is from a conversation I had with my dear student, now friend, Erika Diaz Castro. Erika is your Jesus-loving Puerto Rican life coach. She serves anxious, overwhelmed Christian women, helping them with time management and having a biblical mindset. Get ready to dig in as we unpack the three main anxiety triggers and how to combat them.
How to Navigate the 3 Main Anxiety Triggers Christian Women Face with Erika Diaz Castro
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is worry about things that haven’t happened yet. So we do things to protect ourselves, like trying to stay in control and doing things in our own strength, because we trust ourselves and wouldn’t intentionally harm ourselves.
So many of us struggle with being filled with peace because we’re only trusting in ourselves. We have many trust issues with the people around us, and we project that onto the Lord and think that He won’t come through for us like others haven’t. This also happens within ourselves; if we’ve let ourselves down, we’re trying not to repeat that mistake, not doing the thing we’re guilty of having done.
There is this constant rehashing in our minds, whether we’re aware of it or not, trying to get us to do the thing that will keep us from harm. So we put staying safe and being in control onto our own shoulders. We try to handle the fears of the world, raise children, try to find success and make money in business, grow in our marriages and stay true to God and have time with Him. There is so much pressure that we put on ourselves and we’re cracking. We crack under all this immense pressure and call it anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue that comes along with breaking under pressure.
The 3 anxiety triggers that bring us to a breaking point
Fear of the unknown
The first common trigger is fear of the unknown. We want to know what the next step is, how to prepare, and do the thing that the Lord is leading us to do. But, until we know what those next steps are, we don’t feel safe. So there’s all this worry – I don’t know what’s going to happen, what it’s going to look like, how much time is it going to take, how’s it going to affect my family, am I going to sleep, am I going to be healthy or not, am I going to last or am I going to die?
We ultimately think that everything can lead to our own demise. If you stop and say that out loud, I hope you remember that Jesus conquered death, so the worst that could happen isn’t even the worst (in fact, it’s the best!).
Fear of the unknown will lead you to imagine all sorts of crazy things. If you have children, you’ll know that they tell you all these crazy stories they invented in their minds, and you do the same thing, but then you rationalize it. You make sense of it, or you try, at the cost of everything around you and your peace.
Lean into walking by faith
As you inventory this one, it’s important to look at where your fear is fixated on the most. Like when I typically ask this question, it’s my kids. I’ve surrendered the business, money and everything is great, but my kids – that’s where my fear will fixate. I can’t control their outcome. So often, we can control the outcome of ourselves, but controlling the outcome of someone or something else is so difficult, and that’s where we’re really tested to lean into walking by faith and letting God take control. Especially in those areas where you can’t control the outcome, even if you wanted to.
Fear of failure
The second trigger is fear of failing. You can try to do everything as the right parent, business owner, wife, or whoever, but there’s more fear – you become fearful of failing. That all your efforts will lead to nothing. There are many roots for this. It might be comparison, poor self-esteem, or trauma. But ultimately, this fear of failure is fear that your efforts won’t produce anything good, will be in vain, or might even harm other people. Like how many times have you sat watching your kids thinking, I want you to explore but don’t want you to break your arm; which do I choose right now?
Ask God to reveal why
Pride can often be another root. If you have worry and anxiety about failing, start to ask God to reveal why. Everyone has a different root behind the fear of failure but once you know what it is, you can immediately spot it, making it so much easier to surrender it. One of the enemy’s greatest deceptions is hiding the root from you. He doesn’t want you to know why you’re afraid of failure because then you can’t move past it. Knowledge and wisdom are power for breaking free from your fear.
If you want to move past your fear of failure, you have to listen to your excuses. Ask God to reveal the root of these anxiety triggers. Once you know what it is and where it’s coming up, notice where you are tempted to justify it. We are smart. We come up with so many ways to make sense of what we’re saying and feeling. You have to pay attention to why you are justifying the things that you are irrationally fearful of.
Begin your healing journey
You also have to come back to where your trust lies. Because if you don’t trust that the Lord has you, that the person you’re in a relationship with honors and respects you, and that something will be taken care of, then you go into this mode of trying to make sure and control the situation and succeed on your own terms.
You’ve also got to live it out, knowing it will be a journey. When you’re breaking free from any of these triggers, maybe you can snap your fingers and be free of them, but for us, they have been a lifetime of growth on God’s timeline, not our own. Sometimes there are lessons and growth on the way to freedom. If you need to be free and begin your healing journey, listen to this testimony on the healing process.
Inventory your excuses
Remember, inventorying your excuses isn’t to beat you up or shame you, it’s information about you that you can begin to use to break free from this thing. God will help you do this, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, work on it together with the Lord, and don’t get mad at yourself if you fall into it again, that’s normal. Shame is just keeping you from God. Let the remorse behind the shame lead you to repentance and come to God.
Fear of conflict or rejection
Think about this. When anything grows or changes, your business, relationships, etc, everyone is affected. Change doesn’t just affect you. For example, the success of your business doesn’t just affect you; it also affects your family. And sometimes that change isn’t something that those who you are in a relationship with are as comfortable or excited about.
Growth in your business will mean you have to have harder conversations, and there will be more gaps to be bridged. And many people don’t like having hard conversations; they don’t like having any conflict, and they don’t like the feeling of letting someone down or someone being upset with them because they feel like they are being rejected. The problem is that with any change, your mind is already thinking about the hard conversations. These conversations are growth opportunities that are painful for everybody. You all have to learn to work through that.
Hidden anxiety triggers
This can be considered one of the hidden anxiety triggers because it can be hidden behind other things, like not wanting to ask for help. On the one hand, you don’t want to ask for help and put anyone out, but the cause is actually the fear of being rejected or creating conflict with those around you. Once you can start to ask these questions, it begins to unlock all these doors toward deep and vulnerable conversations. There is meaning to pushing through this fear because God has a breakthrough on the other side for you!
How do you work through these anxiety triggers?
So how do you work through this fear? Firstly, if you are anxious about anything, go to the Lord first. Being anxious or worried is an opportunity to recognize that we are trying to do something in our own strength. Then, before you speak with anybody, ask Holy Spirit to give you the words because we want to invite the Lord into our conversations.
Secondly, you need to know what you want to communicate and not sugarcoat it. So many people confuse others with what they are saying because they aren’t really saying it. (Although if you are a straight shooter, you might have to tone it down, asking the Lord to help you say it better.)
So many people don’t know how to communicate with clarity because they are afraid of offending someone or being misunderstood. You can’t control if your words get twisted or get taken in the way you communicate them, so you need to know with clarity what you are trying to say.
Then you’ve got to agree with yourself in advance that you’re not going to force the person to get on the same page as you in that conversation. You have to be willing to circle back.
Leave an open door and say, “you know what, we’ll come back to this. I love you and don’t want to fight with you”. Don’t lead it down a path that it doesn’t need to go just for the sake of getting your way or making sure that they get you. Never come into any conflict flesh forward; always come in Spirit forward.
Where to find out more about Erika?
If you want to find out more about Erika, you can head over to her website which has everything you’ll need. Her podcast is called Her Renewed Strength. And if you’d like to lean more into studying the Bible, Erika also runs a bible study on Facebook, which you can find through her website or podcast.
So there you have the three main anxiety triggers and some simple tips to start combating it today. You don’t have to be afraid of failure, rejection, conflict, or the unknown. Remember, God, walks this journey beside you and wants to help you. You can do this! While it may seem scary at the time, don’t forget there is a breakthrough just on the other side.
The more I get to know my students and the more I participate in masterminds with my peers the more I’m starting to comprehend the overarching problem and prevalence of one, perfectionism, and two, overthinking.
Perfectionism keeps us in a place of constant consumption and learning. Redoing things over and over and thinking that we can’t move forward until they measure up to some elusive standard.
Why do I believe we need a morning routine? I believe you must have a morning routine because it helps you get into the mindset of productivity and purpose.
When we get right with God we: Renew Our Minds
Get Into the Word
Are Able to Live Our Life Guided by the Holy Spirit
The difference in how my day goes when I do my morning routine and when I don’t is night and day.