About two months ago I began to feel badly, and I wasn’t able to sleep well after that. Then I started having horrible thoughts about God and other people…. I don’t know why. I also worry about what will happen tomorrow. I ask God to change me, but every day I feel like I’m going from bad to worse. I feel terrible, and have pain, doubt, and thoughts that torment me.

Dear Friend,

We are sorry to hear about the difficult trial that you are going through. To try and help you, it would be good to know about the other things that are going on in your life. Have there been any major changes such as a new job, a move, or the loss of a loved one? If you had none of the negative thoughts until two months ago, then something probably happened or changed. If you can figure out what that was, it could help.

Thoughts and emotions are linked together in the brain, so your negative thoughts cause anxiety and your anxiety causes more negative thoughts. It is like a race track where the cars go around and around repeatedly, but never reach a destination. The race cars stay in the same loop over and over. When your negative thoughts just won’t go away, they are in a similar loop and you have to do something differently to stop the looping. The loop is also what keeps you from sleeping, as it keeps your mind active and doesn’t allow it to rest.

King David of Israel wrote much of the book of the Bible called the Psalms. Many of the verses of the Psalms express that David had anxiety about things that were happening to him and to his people. He had anxious thoughts, just as you do, but he found that he could deal with the anxiety by concentrating on God’s goodness and power.(1)

You can do the same. Divide a sheet of paper in half. On the left side, write down every anxious thought that you have. If you can’t think of them all at once, you can add more to the list later.

On the right side of the paper, copy promises from the Bible. It is easy to find promises by doing an Internet search such as “What does the Bible say about anxiety?” Find the promise that gives you the most comfort for each of your anxious thoughts and write it next to that thought. Then, keep the paper with you or turn it into a document to store on your computer or mobile device. Every time you are tormented by a specific anxious thought, find the corresponding Biblical promise and read it ten times. Let it serve as a calming reminder of God’s promises to you.

Concentrating on God’s Word will stop the loop for a time, but it will probably start up again, so you will probably need to continue consulting your promise sheet for several weeks. If you do it faithfully, and it does not help, then please consult a medical doctor. You may have a chemical imbalance in your brain that needs medical treatment.

We wish you the best,

1 Ps 94:19