Christian Stress Release

When Fear Cripples Us (1 Kings 19:3-4)

Hand reaching out from under the water of a lake for help. When we're stressed to our limits we are crippled with fear, feeling like we're drowning, just reaching for God to save us. Elijah felt this crippling fear too.

Panic can consume us so fiercely that we become crippled with the fear.

This post is going to talk about panic at the level of desiring death. If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal ideation, planning or attempts, please skip this post as it may be too overwhelming to read. You can find resources for these struggles on the GET IMMEDIATE HELP NOW page.

When Fear Cripples Us

Have you ever been crippled with so much fear that you wished you were dead? (This could be suicidal ideation or planning, or paralysis with fear, asking God to take you home.)


So did Elijah, one of God’s chosen prophets.

Elijah’s Cry for Death

In 1 Kings, we find Elijah running for his life from a deranged satan-worshipping woman named Jezebel. She has led all of God’s people astray through the worship of the idols/false gods known as Baal.


Throughout Elijah’s life, he is called to bring truth to that darkness; to turn God’s people back to Him. It isn’t working, none of them will listen or turn back to God. So by chapter 18 he sets them up to prove that God is the only God.


In this heartbreaking story, we see the people waking up to the lies and deceit of Jezebel. We also see God prove His power and might through a supernatural wonder. It works, of course, and all of God’s people turn their hearts and minds back to God. This is amazing!




As you can guess, Jezebel is furious and threatens to murder Elijah. Given the nature of her wickedness, he knows she’s capable of it and begins running for his life, absolutely terrified. He runs into the wilderness, hides under a bush and prays for God to take his life. Elijah is suicidal and paralyzed with fear, begging God to end it once and for all. He’s done.


This is the extreme level of panic that a human can experience.

What Panic Does to Us

When we look at the science of Elijah’s panic, he’s at the extreme end of the Stress Spectrum. His brain and nervous system are in the state of Fight, Flight, Freeze (the bad stress, known as High Stress). 


Considering the fact that he’s crying out to God for death, we know he’s at the end of his rope. His brain has determined that fighting Jezebel isn’t safe, so he runs away. But now that he’s away, he’s still panicking, fearing death. Running didn’t bring him to safety, so his brain flips into the state of Freeze.


Freeze is the paralysis, or shutdown, where we’re incapable of seeing a way out.


If you’ve ever been paralyzed by fear to the point of a panic/anxiety attack, this is it. Your world closes in around you and you forget that anything good could ever exist. This level of panic hijacks your ability to see the good of the future. It leaves you only obsessing about the bad that exists in the present moment.


If you suffer with PTSD, it’s your brain thinking that the past danger is happening all over again.


For Elijah, his brain is paralyzed with the fear of his physical life being taken.


For us, it’s often our emotional selves that are being threatened. When we experience too much in this life, we can get overwhelmed to the point of panic. Freeze is the state we drown in, unable to see a way out. So while we may not be in physical danger like Elijah, we’re still experiencing too much. Too many emotions, too many threats, too much bullying, too much.


Sometimes we beg God for healing and change. Sometimes we beg God to take us home. How do we come out of this panic?

How We Come Out Of It

If you’ve ever suffered from this level of panic, know this:

You’re not alone. Elijah and many others written about in the Bible, felt this fear too. You’re not crazy or bad for feeling it. You’re human. And you’re not alone.

God designed our brains to come out of the state of panic when we see hope. Hope can mean something good in the right now, or in the future. Keeping a list of the good things God’s done for you is an incredible resource to remind you of this. Having a vision of heaven with Jesus can also be an incredible resource to remind your brain good is coming. You can make it through this! Then, force yourself to look at these blessings from God and truly remember them. By forcing your brain to remember the good, you can literally pull yourself out of the state of panic. Jesus shows us this beautifully.

Mental health techniques are also an incredible way to safely and gently bring yourself back to the present moment. The Membership has an entire series of videos just for this, called Grounding Out of Panic. It includes 9 different videos where you’ll be led through releasing your panic/anxiety attack. This shifts your brain and nervous system out of survival mode, back into Rest & Digest. The state of peace. Or as I like to say, the peace of Jesus, and the woman God designed you to be.

You don’t have to suffer this panic, but when you do, you have resources available to you. Scripture, God’s blessings in your life, the promise of heaven and mental health.


I’m praying for you

   – L aura