Is It Possible To Quit Anxiety Cold Turkey?

Is It Possible To Quit Anxiety Cold Turkey?

“Give me the estimate and let me see if I’m still breathing after I see it,” I said to the carpet guy at Home Depot. We were going to have to replace all of the carpet in our rental house. Slowly he turned the monitor and pointed to the number.

“Okay then,” I said calmly.

Inside: Oh my word! We do not have that kind of money. Panic. Shallow breathing.

The guy turned back to the computer, to get me a computer print-out of the estimate. That is when I did something that changed everything on my insides. I turned my mind to God.

For a few weeks, I had been reading Dallas Willard’s book Life without Lack: Living in The Fullness of Psalm 23. He instructed his readers to read Psalm 23 before reading every chapter in his book, and I had decided to memorize the whole Psalm in Spanish. That meant I had Psalm 23 on hand in Home Depot.

So I said to my anxious self:

El SEÑOR es mi pastor, nada me falta…No temo peligro alguno porque tú estás a mi lado.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…I will fear no evil, for you are with me.  (Psalm 23:1 and part of verse 4 NIV)

Could I really believe that I would lack nothing, even though the numbers in our checkbook stated matter-of-factly that we lacked carpet money by a large margin?

That’s when I looked over at the empty chair next to me. In Spanish, Psalm 23 tells me that the LORD is at my side. The Creator of the universe was in the chair next to me at Home Depot. The one who spoke matter into being, who made the fabrication of carpet even possible, was right there. If I were to fall for the idea that I lacked what I needed for our rental carpet, I would have to throw out my belief that Jesus could do things like feed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and fish. He either can take care of what we lack or he can’t. He either cares about our needs or he doesn’t.

The Home Depot carpet expert had no idea that my mind was seeing the all-sufficient, eternal God of the universe in the chair next to me. He had no idea I was turning my heart to worship the Shepherd while he was hitting “print” on a page that had impossible-to-pay numbers on it.

As I thought about who God was and what he was capable of doing, anxiety disappeared and I experienced total calm.

Shalom to beat all shalom’s.

Wait, I whispered to the Lord. Are you kidding me? Can I really just believe Psalm 23:1 and be in peace all the time? If I had discovered a box filled with stacks of cash in the chair next to me, I couldn’t have felt richer in the moment. Arriving at peace while being handed a painful carpet estimate was incredible.

Do you know why we don’t grab onto because Psalm 23:1? Because it seems too good to be true. Can it really be this easy? Just believing that because the LORD is my shepherd means I am never going to lack what I need? Can it be true that the Shepherd really cares about me this much? The answer is yes. He really does care, he always can help, and I really do just have to believe.

I’m now carrying around Psalm 23:1 as a personal treasure. It’s my secret to feeling loved and being calm and saying goodbye to anxiety. I pray that all of you will dare memorize and believe this verse, too. Imagine how peaceful we could be.

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  1. My sweet momma left this world this week. She battled Parkinson’s disease for many years and was tormented by hallucinations. It was my privilege to care for her the last 2 years of her life. Each night as I tucked her in we would share the 23 Psalm. Sometimes she would recite. Sometimes I would. Sometimes we would each take a line. Sometimes we would embellish each phrase with personal experience such as describing the green pasture or naming the blessings that run out of our cup. I miss her dearly but rejoice that now she is dwelling in the house of the Lord…forever! Thank you for faithfulness in encouraging us to know God and live big.

    1. Oh, sadness! I’m sorry, friend. What a precious story you’ve shared with me. I’m happy for your mom to be whole, but I know the grief of loss. May the Lord surprise you with his comfort at every turn. Hugs from Montana.

  2. Diane Nickerson says:

    And suddenly, a well-known verse lights up with new meaning and application. How have I missed this all these years? Excitement floods my soul at how this will change me!! Thank you!!

  3. Penny Eaves says:

    Christy, this really resonates with me. God lead me back to Psalm 23 a couple of months ago. I rewrote the psalm using the words and then what it meant to me: “The LORD is my Shepherd (the Creator of the universe and everything in it) is me Shepherd (shepherding me/guiding me each moment). I shall not want (He will provide ALL that I really need). And so on…So, what you have said really has been an awesome support for me as I “walk through the valley of death” with my progressive lung disease. How awesome of our Father to again show me this really important/valuable lesson in your posting. Blessings, Penny

    1. Oh Penny, you came to my mind just this last week, and I wondered how you were doing. I pray the Lord will feel ever nearer to you, as you suffer. I’m so sorry for the pain of illness.

  4. I love this. Aaaaand, the practical side of me is asking, “Did they get the money they needed, or not?!”

    I do get that the peace is the point … but I want to know how the peace kept on playing out. Did you continue to have peace as God miraculously supplied the cash? Or did you continue to have peace without the money, …. and then what happened?

    Cuz having peace just for that moment in Home Depot, I think I could manage. It’s just the ‘ever after’ that I have trouble with ….


    1. The carpet purchase was just last week, and no we do not have the money. It’s on a credit card and will go onto a loan next month if not taken care of. As I think of it, I keep saying, “Lord, you will make sure we lack nothing, and you know my heart longs to stay out of debt.” I do keep experiencing peace, because I am worshiping him. He is the Creator. All of the earth belongs to him, because he made it. He sees our need and CAN take care of it and WANTS to take care of it. This incredible peace is for right now, in the time of not knowing how the Lord will help us.

      I totally get what you’re saying -that one moment of peace seems do-able but sustained peace does not. The trick is in whether I’m going to choose to believe Psalm 23:1 as a lifestyle or just in a crunch. If anxiety sneaks back in, it’s because I’ve stopped believing that God is a good Shepherd and that I’m in his care. Anxiety says that I’m going to have to take care of this financial problem on my own, and that is an insult to God’s kingdom rule in my life. I’ve actually been apologizing to God for all of the times I’ve chosen not to believe that he is my caregiver now. We must be dependent on him in order to have peace, but our pride loathes the idea of being needy and dependent. We must believe we have entered into the care of a good Father and gentle Shepherd. Then we can relax our shoulders and breathe.

      1. Christy, I can’t express adequately how much I love that you’re sharing about the ongoing peace you feel even BEFORE you have a tidy resolution to share – !! Thanks so much for sharing as you learn. God bless!

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