Community, Emotional Health, Worship

Overcoming Anxiety Through Surrender

February 28, 2019
Bethel Music

Overcoming Anxiety Through Surrender

This is an excerpt from Brian Johnson’s new book When God Becomes Real, available now on Amazon, Bethel Store, and Barnes and Noble.

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I sat in my living room watching tv that evening when the terror began to creep in. I wanted to run to the kitchen and grab a pill to numb the panic.


But I knew that instead, I needed to lean into the fear.


I laid down in the middle of the living room with my arms and legs outstretched, and I closed my eyes. It was the most vulnerable thing I could think to do. It was the thing I feared the most in that moment, being so exposed. I felt the panic start to close in, and everything in me wanted to grab another pill and make it stop. I recognized that anxiety for what it was, though, my body’s defense mechanism, and I knew it was trying to send me a message.


Slow down. Don’t run. Listen.


It was a significant moment, a moment for God to do what only He can do. Even as the panic rolled over me in waves and threatened to sink me, I stayed on the floor. I kept telling myself the panic would end, my body couldn’t keep producing these panic-inducing chemicals forever. I reminded myself that God would see me through this, and that’s what He did.


When I thought I couldn’t take anymore, I felt Him reaching in, steadying me, bringing His peace.


After only a few minutes, the panic passed, and I was at peace. It was a victory I needed, one that came only when I settled into the moment with God. I was on the road to recovery.


Even though I was off the medication, I needed to keep pushing into the Word. Every day was a new experience of grace. Every day brought an increase in peace, clarity, and hope. I understood the truth in Philippian 4:12: “Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.”


With a clear mind, I could now see how the meds had been nothing more than a crutch.


It had helped me along at first, and I wouldn’t have been able to get a grip without it, but over time I’d come to rely on it to numb the panic and pain. I used it to ignore the underlying wounds. Then that moment of clarity came on the trip back from Napa, and I could see that I’d treated the symptoms of panic instead of getting to the root cause of the panic.


So many of us use crutches to avoid our pain: drugs or alcohol or food or porn. We might use money or status. Sometimes we even use good things in the wrong way like sports, relationships, careers, or hobbies.


We continue to numb ourselves, ignoring all that pain, but if that pain goes untreated, it becomes infected.


It’s that kind of infection that poisons us from the inside out. And no one is exempt from this kind of poisoning.

Download Chapter 1 of When God Becomes Real at