Fear and anxiety are gripping society today. A stunning 42.5 million Americans are diagnosed with anxiety disorders each year. Nearly 800,000 people worldwide die by suicide each year. Repeatedly, Jesus said fear not. But let’s face it, many of us are finding that increasingly difficult.
In this edition of The Roys Report, you’ll hear from someone who knows about fear and anxiety firsthand. In 2011, Christy Boulware suffered a debilitating panic attack. Then she experienced vision issues, paralysis, and hospitalization. At one point, she couldn’t get out of her bedroom, so her mom had to help her care for her own kids.
Prior to this, Christy had been ‘superwoman,’ excelling personally and professionally at most everything she did. But out of nowhere, fear and panic rendered her unable to do even basic tasks, and she was on the verge of suicide.
If you’ve struggled with fear and anxiety, you’re going to find Christy’s story of how she overcame a severe panic and anxiety disorder extremely helpful.
But there’s another battle Christy has fought that many listeners to this podcast will relate to: her battle against spiritual abuse and control. In fact, for many of you, your fear and anxiety is due to spiritual abuse or church hurt. What Christy learned through her process was painful, and it reveals powerful truths for us all.
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JULIE ROYS, CHRISTY BOULWARE
JULIE ROYS 00:04
Fear and anxiety are gripping our society. A stunning 42.5 million Americans are diagnosed with anxiety disorders each year. Nearly 800,000 people worldwide die by suicide each year. And depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Repeatedly Jesus said Fear not. But let’s face it, many of us are finding that increasingly difficult.
Welcome to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys and joining me today is someone who knows about fear and anxiety firsthand. In 2011 Christy Boulware suffered a debilitating panic attack. Then she experienced vision issues paralysis and was even hospitalized. At one point she couldn’t even get out of her bedroom, so her mom had to help her care for her own kids. Prior to this, Christy had been super woman excelling personally and professionally at most everything she did. But out of nowhere fear and panic gripped her, and she was on the verge of suicide.
If you’ve ever struggled with fear and anxiety, I think you’re going to find Christie’s story of how she overcame a severe panic and anxiety disorder extremely helpful. But there’s another battle Christy has fought that many of you will relate to as well. And that’s her battle against spiritual abuse and control. In fact, for some of you, your fear and anxiety is due to spiritual abuse or church hurt. And I think hearing this part of Christy’s story and what she learned through this painful process is going to be especially powerful for you. So, I’m super excited to talk to Christy and to dive into her story.
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Joining me now is Christy Boulware, a speaker and author of the book Nervous Breakthrough: Finding Freedom From Fear and Anxiety In a World That Feeds It. Christy also is the founder of Fearless Unite, a nonprofit helping people overcome fear and anxiety issues. So, Christy, welcome, and thanks so much for joining me,
CHRISTY BOULWARE 03:03
Julie, thank you so much for having me.
JULIE ROYS 03:04
And I wish I could say that I read this book, and I couldn’t relate to anything in it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I’ve had my own struggles with fear and anxiety and trying to overcome those, and it’s difficult. And it strikes each of us in different ways. But your book was so honest and vulnerable. So, I thank you for that.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 03:26
I’m happy to share. And I wish that there wasn’t such an epidemic of fear and anxiety happening in our world right now. Because it truly is. It’s an epidemic. And I think that we have to get more open and honest with the real things that’s happening in terms of depression and worry and fear and anxiety and panic disorder and have more open and honest conversations about it as well.
JULIE ROYS 03:51
And you mean we can’t just pray it away and it’s gone? Tell people they need more faith and boom, they’re better?
CHRISTY BOULWARE 03:56
Are we gonna go there now? Let’s go there now, because I got some bones to pick about that, for sure.
JULIE ROYS 04:02
Let’s table that because we are going to get to that and I’m looking forward to getting to that. But let’s talk first about where you started. Because you never thought that you would ever be in this place of struggling with fear and anxiety. As I read your book, you were like a superwoman, right? You never met a challenge that you didn’t face and overcome and then all of a sudden, you’ve got this issue with panic attacks. Just if you would describe your progression and how you got there.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 04:34
I’m sitting on the sunny beaches of Cancun sipping a fruity drink reading my gossip magazine, and all of a sudden this feeling of ‘I gotta get out of here now’. Now, Julie, I’m looking at the beach. I’m having a great time. Why in the world would my body all of a sudden just break down on me? So, it was this feeling of I gotta get out of here now, my heart starts beating really fast, I feel very disoriented, I’m dizzy, I’m queasy. I get up to my bedroom in our hotel, this very nice hotel that we’re at. And all of a sudden, I’m like, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna pass out. And I remembered I packed this really strong fan. And for something just told me like, start taking deep breaths into this fan. I start taking these deep breaths, cleansing breaths, and this lasts about 20 minutes. And then it was poof, it was just gone. I go back down to the deck with my friends and my husband, and I’m like, I have no idea what just happened to me, but that was so weird. And they’re like, Christy! We’re in Cancun! It was probably just bad water, bad food, whatever it might be. And then we just brushed it off. And that was my first episode that took place.
JULIE ROYS 05:38
And so, you go home, and you’re thinking that was just weird. And then what was it about two weeks later, or something like that? This is so weird how this hits us. I mean, it reminded me of that book, The Body Keeps Score. And of course, it’s talking about trauma and stuff. But we can pretend that stuff isn’t happening and that we’re not under all this stress and pressure. But eventually our body will tell us what’s going on. So, tell me about how that happened that you began to realize, no, this is a full-blown panic disorder.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 06:09
Yeah. So, I actually was in the airport on the way home Julie, I open up my email, and I realized I had missed about 200 emails. Now here’s what you need to know, I was in a high power corporate medical sales career. I had climbed the corporate ladder, I was incredibly successful, doing really well for myself making over six figures. And I was a workaholic. And I never rested. I was constantly obsessed with achievement, and accolades and money and the next sales gig that I could land. And so, I open up my email and like, oh, man, I got 200 emails, and all of a sudden, I started seeing black dots in my eyes. Sometimes when you slam on the brakes in a car because you don’t want to hit the car in front of you, and then you get this rush of adrenaline that comes through, and it feels like pins and needles in your body. That’s what was going on. I had black dots and pins and needles on the right side of my body. And I’m like, what is happening to me? It progresses, I go home, I’m trying to sleep, I can’t sleep. In the middle of the night, it’s about 3am, I start feeling complete paralysis on the right side of my body. I call my primary care physician and I’m like, Doc, something I can’t feel the right side of my body. He’s like, Christy, I think you’re having a stroke. Go ahead and take yourself to the emergency room. Husband takes me to the emergency room. And I get there and of course I land myself a stay. They do all the right stuff, cardiac screening, everything. I’m there for about a day. Doc comes in and guess what, Christy? Good news. everything checked out okay.
Now, Julie, at that point, I wanted to punch the doctor because I’m thinking there’s no way I’m okay. Like, I feel like I’m dying. And he said, but here’s the deal. We’re pretty sure you’ve got panic and anxiety. And I’m gonna write you a prescription for Xanax. Go home, follow up with your primary care in a little while and I thought you got to be kidding me? Like panic and anxiety? A bottle of Xanax? Like nothing computed, nothing made sense. And all the while I’m snowballing out of control. This panic and anxiety is getting worse and worse and worse. And just like that discharged me home. And I’m starting to understand, what does it mean to have severe panic and anxiety disorder?
JULIE ROYS 08:20
And at one point, it got so bad you couldn’t leave your bedroom? Is that right? Like your mother had to come? You had kids at the time too, right? What were the ages?
CHRISTY BOULWARE 08:28
Two small boys. Actually, this still haunts me during the severe panic and anxiety disorder. You’re right, I couldn’t leave my bedroom, my hair was falling out of my head I couldn’t eat. In my darkest moment, I had suicidal thoughts. There were hunting guns that were in the corner of our bedroom, and they weren’t loaded. But I knew where the bullets were. And the kingdom of darkness just whispered this thought, why don’t you just use those guns, you’re never gonna get through this. This is going to be your life forever. You’ve already missed your son’s first steps, which is, I was so confined to my bedroom that it was my only safe place. It was the isolation, it was, as soon as I began to walk out of the room, the panic and anxiety was so intense and so deep that I couldn’t breathe, and I couldn’t eat. And it was just like I couldn’t leave my bedroom. And it was so severe and so bad that the thought of, if I have to live like this, if this is gonna be my life forever, it would be better if I just wasn’t here.
And I remember my husband coming home the day that I was having those thoughts and I had put blankets over the guns. And he came in our bedroom that day, and he’s like, Christy, why are there blankets over my guns? And I just fell and collapsed into his arms, and I was like, because I am afraid I’m going to use them. I’m tempted to use them, and I remember him thinking like, wow, I can’t fix this. This is so bad.
And see Julie I was a person that had it all together. I was a person that prided had myself in getting out of any difficult conversation, landing any sales deal, always being in control. So, to all of a sudden go from being this high executive, workaholic, corporate girl that had it all together to literally having back-to-back panic attacks being diagnosed with severe panic and anxiety disorder, not being able to leave my room, was such a huge change in my life that nobody understood, nobody got it. They were used to in control Christy.
JULIE ROYS 10:31
And you were used to in control Christy. I loved how you wove together in your book, your faith journey, with this whole journey through mental illness and panic disorder. Your faith at this point, sounds like you call it a CEO faith. So, I’ll let you describe what CEO is for but describe how this began to really break you. But spiritually, Jesus said, until a seed falls into the ground and dies, it can’t be reborn. And it really is often these breaking situations that brings us to the point of need, and understanding we need a savior. So, describe your faith and how this began to impact you spiritually.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 11:15
Yeah, and it’s the play on words with the title of the book. It’s nervous breakthrough, I had a nervous breakdown. But my nervous breakthrough was really the breaking point for everything that was important in my life. I was a CEO Christian, which is Christmas, Easter only. I grew up Catholic. And I had Catholic roots. I grew up praying traditional prayers, the rosary, going to parish school religion, but it was just a tradition. It was just a set of rules. It meant nothing to me. And it wasn’t until I was suicidal, having a nervous breakdown, diagnosed with severe panic and anxiety, where I started to ask myself important questions like, if my help doesn’t come from me, self-help, then where does it come from? And I would ask myself questions like, maybe there’s a better way than the way that I’m doing things. And I remember in the middle of my nervous breakdown, after the situation with the guns, there was a little cross that was above our bathroom in our master bedroom. And this cross meant nothing to me. And I had never even really paid attention to it other than it was just a nice gift that somebody gave to me at one point. And I remember after being so broken, that I got down on my knees, and I prayed to this little cross, because in my Catholic roots, you would kneel when you prayed, and I kneeled. And I was like, alright, God, if you’re real, and you are who you say you are. And again, Julie, I don’t know what I’m praying at this point. You know, I’m just saying these prayers out of desperation. Help me, I can’t make it through this on my own God, I need you to show up. And I promise if you do, I’ll dedicate my life to you.
That was the desperation. And it was like after that moment of surrender, after that moment of prayer, little mini miracle after mini miracles started to take place. And hope began to come back in the room. And also, the shift of that too was my husband’s prayer for me after the guns. We were not a praying couple. We knew of God. We didn’t have a problem with God. But we didn’t need God. And it wasn’t until I untangled my Superwoman cape and laid it at the feet of Jesus, that things started to actually turn around in my life.
JULIE ROYS 13:34
Interesting. And I’m just curious, as I’m listening to you, I’ve been actually going to an Enneagram coach, slash kind of spiritual advisor person.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 13:44
Are you an eight?
JULIE ROYS 13:46
No, everybody thinks I’m an eight. And I’m not and actually, she initially thought I was a one. Because that’s a reformer want to be good. And then she realized, no, I think you’re a three. Which is the achievement oriented. Are you a three?
CHRISTY BOULWARE 14:02
I’m an eight. I’m an eight.
JULIE ROYS 14:03
Oh, you’re an eight! Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah. The challenger. Yeah. But I thought that was interesting. She said, “I think you grew up in such a one environment like I grew up in the holiness background. And that I think that’s why you presented as a one is because that’s like what’s most important to you. But yeah, more of a three. And I described something in my past where I’m like, I wonder I’ve always wondered Is that panic attack and she’s almost every three I’ve talked to has these in their background. And I remember at one point, I just memorized Psalm 90. I’ve memorized tons of Scripture, and I would just say them to myself to get through it. And that renewing of your mind that Scripture does is amazing, like putting the focus on Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I mean, just so hugely important. And it’s funny because I think a lot of people think, because of the line of work I’m in and the kind of people I go up against, I’m not scared. I’m scared all the time. If it weren’t for the Holy Spirit and His indwelling of me, and given me the courage and courage is not the absence of fear, right?
CHRISTY BOULWARE 15:02
So good. No. I think understanding the depth and magnitude of God’s love is one of the major things that we underestimate in dealing with overcoming fear and anxiety. And so, the Scripture you’re talking to is 1John 4:18, but we’re not reading the beginning part of it. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
JULIE ROYS 15:03
It’s walking through it. And for everybody who’s like getting all, I don’t know, you bring up Enneagram you never know what people were gonna say. I don’t even know what I think about it that much. All I know is I trust this person because she’s grounded in a Christian worldview. And I just find it a helpful tool. But as you’re saying this one of the things that she said to me, she went to these conferences, you know, it’s a secular, sort of in the Enneagram thing. And she said, they talked about fear. And they’re like, Yeah, this is all rooted in fear. So, you just have to stop fearing. And she’s like, you know, like, where? And she said, but the thing that struck me as a Christian being, you know, having the scriptures, perfect love drives out fear, right? Perfect love drives out fear. And I know that was important for you in your journey. If you could talk to me about how God’s love became real to you during this process, in maybe a way it hadn’t before.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 16:21
So first, we have to get real with the fact that there is no fear in love. So, if we’re fearing, is it possible that we don’t quite understand the love and magnitude and character of God’s faithfulness and goodness? I remember just recently; I was fearful about a procedure that I was having. And I was kind of having these mini panic attacks. I call them setbacks after the initial nervous breakdown now, when I have a panic attack, I call them a setback. But basically, I was in the closet, and I was praying. And I felt the Holy Spirit just say to me, daughter, I don’t dangle suffering over my children. And it was this moment of, well, yeah, would my dad dangles like my actual biological would he dangle suffering and I and I realized that not everybody has a beautiful relationship with their father, but my dad would never dangle suffering over me. That is not a loving thing to do. So, I started to just realize that man, God’s love is so deep and so good, and so faithful, that I have to understand his love better. And when I recognize his love, I’m not going to fear as much, and His perfect love really does cast out fear. So, I was trying to teach people like when you’re fearing and you have this anxiety, ask yourself like, is this the Lord? Did the Lord send this to you? And it’s no he didn’t. There is no fear in love because perfect love casts out fear.
JULIE ROYS 17:47
That was key for me is recognizing whenever you’re feeling fear, that’s never from God. Fear is from Satan, right?
CHRISTY BOULWARE 17:55
For I did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, in 1Timothy That spirit of fear is demonic, and it’s just not from Jesus. Now, is there times that he’s going to warn you? But in those times where I have had those warnings, there’s a level of perfect peace that passes all understanding. I talked about when my father-in-law was dying of pancreatic cancer. And I remember being in a little side by side going to the farm with them. And I was like, I called him Papa B. I said Papa B, are you afraid right now? You’re facing death? No, I’m not afraid. I have this is like, Okay, God, whatever we’re going to face, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, no matter what I face, you’re going to be walking right beside me, therefore, I don’t have to fear. So therefore, if I am fearing, I know that it’s not from God. So, it’s just having to really recognize the fear that we walk through and knowing that he’s going to be right by our side, even if we do walk through it there. And we don’t have to be afraid then.
JULIE ROYS 18:54
And so, would you say that during this process is when you actually became a Christian? Or do you feel like you were a Christian when you were a kid? I don’t even know those designations are important, you know, in a way, because we either walk with Jesus and work out our salvation as we’re doing that. But I’m just curious, at what point you would say, Yes, this is where I became a Christ follower.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 19:15
Yeah, this is interesting, because I’ve wrestled with this, because in 2007, in my past church, my pastor asked me to raise my hand, and repeat a salvation prayer after him. And I guess in that moment, that’s when I committed my life to the Lord. But no fruit came from that prayer at all. I went back to doing my same old things. This was in 2007. And then in 2011, I had the nervous breakdown. And I would say that my moment of surrender, which surrender is a daily choice. Every day I have to choose to surrender to Jesus Christ every single day, sometimes minute by minute, Julie. And so, I think that breakthrough moment that breakdown moment was when I decided to say you know what, I’m no longer in control. You’re in control. Had I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at that moment in 2007? Yes. However, I don’t believe my lips knew what I was saying, I don’t know that even my heart and my mind knew what I was saying, I required discipleship, I needed somebody to walk through that with me. I mean, my heart was good. I wanted that. But I didn’t know what I was saying, I didn’t know what I was committing my life to. And it wasn’t until that breakdown where I really had that breakthrough moment. So I would say my true surrender moment happened in 2011, in the middle of my severe panic and anxiety disorder.
JULIE ROYS 20:36
This would be a totally other discussion, I won’t go too far down this rabbit trail, but I’ve talked to a number of Catholic believers who own their faith later in their life or sometime in their adult life. And I talked to a guy who actually was involved in really evangelism among other Catholics. And he said, Boy, I tell you Catholics are so easy to lead to the Lord. And he believed there was a grace imparted when they were baptized. Of course, a lot of evangelicals would be like, No, that’s not possible. But he said, All I can say is the heart is often so ready to receive, because it’s been maybe bathed in this. And Catholics, of course, have a really good strong sense of guilt. So you don’t have to talk that much about needing forgiveness of sins. But I always love talking to people that come from a Catholic background, and who have really found true faith. And I think you can grow up just as nominal in a very Bible believing Evangelical Church and walking through the motions, and never have owned your faith. Fascinating to hear how this worked, and how the Lord worked in your life, to bring you to this point of surrender.
You also Okay, I’m going to bring it full circle to our initial thing about medication, and faith versus medication. Obviously, there’s a faith component. Honestly, I don’t know how anybody makes it through any kind of mental illness without knowing the Lord without having God working in them. Because our mind is a battlefield. And if we are not renewing our mind with what’s true, the lies will just overcome us. But there’s also just our human weakness that our flesh, like sometimes we need some help. And so I know there’s been a lot of guilt around using medication as believers. And I think it’s really unfortunate. But would you speak to the role that medication played in kind of your healing and walking through this process?
CHRISTY BOULWARE 22:30
Absolutely. I was blessed with a Christian primary care physician. I didn’t know that he was a Christian. But when I had my follow up, after having my three weeks of back-to-back panic attacks, I walked into my primary care physician, and we discussed my hospital visit, we discussed my symptoms, and he looks at me and he says, Christy, you have severe panic and anxiety disorder. And then he goes on to say this, you are going to have to get to the root of your problem. Because if you don’t, and you don’t figure out how you got here, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to give you a prescription, and it’s going to help, and you should use it. But you’re going to come back to me with the same problem and I’ll up your medication, and then you’re gonna come back to me again, and I’ll up your medication to where it’s gotten so far, that I can only give you so much, and then I won’t be able to help you anymore. So, I suggest you go home, and you do the work. And you figure out how you got here, and he even suggested, get into a church get into a church family. Now at this point, since I was a CEO Christian, I wasn’t faithfully committed to a church at all.
So, I remember thinking in the moment, wow, I don’t want to continue to be on medication for the rest of my life and keep upping my medication over and over and over. I don’t want to rely on that. So, I have an interesting perspective on this. I believe that the church has done a mighty disservice to people that are dealing with fear and anxiety with the work that I do with a nonprofit organization that I run. I can’t tell you how many people have come to me with spiritual abuse that have said, I was told that I didn’t have enough faith or if I would just pray more my anxiety would go away or mental health isn’t a real thing. And it breaks my heart because it’s really I have to tell you, if somebody in the spiritual community in the depths of my hell and the middle of my fear and panic and worry, would have handed me a Bible and said, You need to read your Bible more and you need to pray more, I would have been so devastated and so wounded, because here’s the truth. My body was in breakdown mode. I had so much adrenaline and cortisol flooding my body that I was literally in a depressive state, and I couldn’t function and think on my own. I didn’t know how to pray. I couldn’t open a Bible. I couldn’t read for myself. The medication got me to a point of stability to where then I could function I could shower again I could eat. And I was able to actually read a Bible or a book or pray or think clearly.
So, I feel very strongly that we should use medication and every good and perfect gift comes from above. So, if God is offered the medication and we have medication available, and we’re in a space where I was in then goodness gracious, use it now.
On the other side, I believe that we’re passing out antidepressants like candy. And that’s not the answer, either. So, what is the answer? The answer is we are a holistic body, soul, and spirit. I like to use a tricycle is a visual, but it’s got three wheels. And if I rolled into this interview with you on this tricycle, and only two of the tires had air in it, and one was completely flat, I would look like a fool trying to pump this thing into our interview, because it’s just not going to work properly. I have this dream of the faith community and the medical community coming together and working together so that we can treat somebody body soul and spirit and I have a whole chapter in my book on that. And so yeah, is there room for medication in the life of the believer? Absolutely! Especially for mental health. And I’m so grateful that I had it because I couldn’t, I wouldn’t have been stable without it. Now, am I on it anymore? No. But I did the hard work dug deep. And I like to say it’s like an arrow, a bow and arrow, sometimes you got to pull the arrow back. And that gives you the strength and the power to plow forward. And so, I say anybody, it’s my personal conviction. But if you’re on an antidepressant, or you’re using medication for anxiety, I believe that you should be walking with a therapist. I believe you should be doing the hard work to find out why it is that you’re there. And for me, it was years and years of the approval of man, that’s what my soul lived for. Success was my drug of choice. It was accolades and money and all the things that really doesn’t bring happiness and peace into your life. So, I had to dig deep. Why did I care so much about that? Why did I care about the approval of man? Why was I so obsessed about success and master’s degree and money and landing the next big, like, why was my worth founded in those things, and instead of in a holy, amazing God? So, I had to work through all of that. I had lots of pride; I was dripping with pride. All of my conversations were about me, myself, and I, and just really learning to let go of that. And focusing on what really matters in life, which is serving and loving Jesus,
JULIE ROYS 27:43
We look at these as breaking situations, I think they actually are what make us human. I look back at my life, and there’s numerous times where I feel like the Lord has broken me. I feel like I keep having to be in that Jacob situation where you wrestle with the Lord and you get the limp, you have to walk with a limp, or boy, I tell you pride it is the root, I think of just about all sins, has some sort of origin in pride.
Let’s talk about the battle of the mind a little bit. We’ve alluded to that. But when it comes to anxiety, there’s the snowballing effect, right? There’s a little thought, and then you obsess on it, it becomes bigger and bigger, and we get more and more anxious. So how did you find that you could deal with these thoughts? Scripture says take every thought captive. Easier said than done. Right? It’s like, okay, I got it. That’s a very difficult thing to do. And yet, I do think it’s something I don’t think God tells us to do something, and then doesn’t give us the equipment to do it. So how did you learn to deal with that?
CHRISTY BOULWARE 28:50
What I’m about to share with you is probably single handedly one of the most important things that I had to learn to be able to overcome fear and anxiety. And it’s this whole idea of our thoughts matter. And you mentioned the snowball, but like I’m a very visual person. So, what I literally think about is this tiny little snowball at the top of the hill, and then you just, ploop, you make the snowball go down the hill. And as it goes down the hill, it’s getting bigger and bigger, but it’s also getting faster and faster. And so, when I think about that, I think, Okay, I have got to stop my negative thought that’s coming in while it’s this tiny little ball at the top of the hill, because if it doesn’t, it will plow me over and I will have a panic attack. And so, the revolutionary idea that I had to understand was that my thoughts matter and my thoughts will cause panic and anxiety. And once I got real with that, and then I realized there’s science behind that, but then the Bible backs that up. I love Romans 12:2 where it says don’t conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It’s this whole idea of okay, what does renewing your mind actually mean? What does it really mean to take every thought captive? And so, for me, it starts with a thought dump. Almost every day, Julie, and I’m not perfect, but almost every day, I will do a thought dump, which is where I’m really saying to myself, Okay, what ticked me off today? What am I frustrated about? What am I worried about? What am I happy about? So, I put gratitude in there as well. But then so what happens is, I began to see a theme. I am worried about my health today, or I am worried about this relationship today. I’m worried about this conflict. So, then I’m recognizing. so, I have these five R’s that I do. So, it’s the thought dump, and then I recognize so what’s the theme of my negative thought? Then I’m gonna replace it. So, what are the scriptures that I can use to replace these lies or these themes that I’m believing about myself? And then I’m going to rewrite it. And so, I’m going to actually take some time to insert God’s truths into these lies that I’m believing, and then I’m going to recite it. And I don’t think people go this far, they don’t talk or say it out loud. So, I take time to speak these rewrites out loud. And then I’m going to repeat it. I’m going to do it over and over. And guess what? The second I’ve mastered that negative thought that I have, another one comes in. So, it’s like, it’s and I have to then refuse to not renew my mind. Like, I have to renew my mind every single day. And so, I like to tell people once you’ve had a nervous breakdown, it’s like a heat stroke situation. Once somebody’s had a heat stroke, they’re more susceptible to having another one. It’s the same thing for me with panic and anxiety. So, I have to guard my heart and my mind, I have to do these thought dumps. It is a necessity in my daily living. Otherwise, I will have a panic attack in three seconds flat, and I know it like I know it. So, if I don’t journal if I’m not diligent about renewing my mind, I’m going to have what’s called a setback and aftershock is what I call them aftershocks, yes.
JULIE ROYS 32:07
Wow! So, it’s not something in a way you are walking with a limp. You’re recognizing this is my humaneness. This is my weakness, and it’s something that you live with, and you can overcome. But it’s like we live with our weaknesses, right? But how beautiful that it forces you to live a reflective life, it forces you to live a life that’s in conversation with your father about what’s true about me and what’s not true. And really daily, putting off the old man and putting on the new man, or the true self and the false self, however you want to call that. you also talk in your book about smoke alarms and recognizing that there’s smoke alarms that are going off. And I think you know, for the first part of your life, you were just ignoring these. Talk about those and how we can be recognizing when alarm goes off.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 32:56
Julie, if you and I were in the middle of this interview right now and a smoke alarm went off, we both would have to go Hold on stop cut the interview, you’d have to edit it, all that stuff. And we would have to pay attention to that smoke alarm. Yet, our body has these beautiful God has designed these beautiful built in smoke alarms that you and I are plowing through every single day. So, I’m very passionate about teaching people about smoke alarms and reminding them not to ignore these things. So, things like clenched jaw, or I always tell people when they’re sleeping, pay attention to where your shoulders are. Nine times out of 10 my shoulders are up here, and I’m supposed to be in bed. Like my shoulders are up to my ears and I’m tense in bed when I’m supposed to be relaxed. So, pay attention like where are your shoulders? How do your shoulder blades feel like how is your body? Are you clenching your fists? These are indicators. They’re smoke alarms, there are stress going on in your body that you’re not paying attention? Are you having tension headaches? Are you often having headaches? Is your stomach often off? Like you feel like you’ve constantly got butterflies? Are you having heart palpitations? Are you having tightness in your chest? These are all beautiful blessings. I like to tell people that sometimes anxiety is my friend, because it says hey Christy, something’s off here. Where are you not trusting the Lord? Where aren’t maybe you’re walking in unforgiveness right now maybe you’re bitter towards somebody, maybe you’ve got a conflict that you need to hit straight on and you’re not doing it? What are the smoke alarms that are going on in your life? Because I promise if we’ll just stop and go okay, Lord, my jaw has been clenched for three days. And I’ve had insomnia for four days. What is it that I need to hear from you on? What is it that I need to do? What is it that I need to trust you on? Just the other day I use a roller to help get the tension out. And I just felt like the Lord was like, hey, you can think about every knot that’s in your body is a way that you haven’t been surrendering or trusting me. And I thought oh man, what a way to look at it. Okay. Like I’m building this tension up, because I’m either trying to take control again, I’m not trusting the Lord, I’m not waiting on his timing. So, it’s like Carrie Underwood says, Jesus take the wheel. I’ve taken the wheel back again. So, it’s so important that we pay attention to the smoke alarms.
JULIE ROYS 35:16
So, I haven’t talked yet about Christian community. But I know for me, and it’s been traumatic for me, and I’ve talked about this in other podcasts, but we lost our church home, or we left. But it was a point at which we couldn’t trust the leaders anymore because of some of the covering up of sex abuse and some things that were happening. But that’s a trauma. And I found, we’ve been in a position in the past year and a half of rebuilding Christian community again, and I’m in my mid-50s, I’m not really enjoying having to do that at this stage of life. And yet God has been so gracious to bring just the people that have come into my life in the past year to 18 months have been just amazing gifts from God. It’s funny, I was talking to somebody just yesterday about the pain that they’ve gone through, in church and in Christian community. And I’m like, can’t live with them can’t live without them. You gotta just press in and somehow find Christian community, whether that’s in a formal church, when I totally get when people can’t. But man, we just, we can’t do it without each other. So, I’m just curious what role that Christian community played in your life, as you began to rebuild,
CHRISTY BOULWARE 36:32
I’m going to tell a little bit of a story because for my journey, letting someone into my mental health space was very challenging. And not everyone earns the right to speak into that deep, dark place. And I learned that the hard way. And so I had to really understand what proper community was first. And Beth Moore has this brilliant quote. She says be authentic with all transparent with most intimate with some. And so, then I had this kind of visual that I like to think about. And so, in the early 2000s, frosted glass in a bathroom was like, on a shower was really in and cool. Now, it’s like clear glass is really cool. But anyway, I have this thought of it’s frosted, glass, Christy, like, when you would walk into a bathroom, and you’re showering and frosted glass, if somebody came in, it would be fuzzy, right? They wouldn’t be able to see everything, they could see some things, but not everything. And I think that’s how we’re supposed to be with most people. Transparent where you can see but not everything. But where I went wrong is I was intimate with so many people about my journey, and my healing, and just my heart. And they didn’t prove to me that they could handle it. And I was destroyed by that. And that actually wound up isolating me more. So, for me, I had to learn what trustworthy people were. And I had to learn that the hard way. And so, community at first wasn’t a great thing for me. And it wasn’t until I had to walk through that, until I realized that once I shared with healthy, trustworthy community, God’s people then that true healing and community took place.
JULIE ROYS 38:22
Yeah, that’s something definitely as I’ve lived in this very public space that I’ve had to learn and learn some of it the hard way, that there are some things you really do have to hold very tightly and only share with really trusted friends.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 38:38
Be a little frosty is what I like to say.
JULIE ROYS 38:40
A little frosty is very true. And especially when you’re in a space where you have as many enemies as I do. You really have to watch that, yet you have to find that place where you can be real but absolutely true that you don’t have to be intimate with very many, even though that’s really important. Well, this concludes part one of my interview with Christy Boulware. And if you’ve been encouraged by this episode, you’re going to love Christy’s book, Nervous Breakthrough: Finding Freedom From Fear and Anxiety in a World that Feeds It. And this month we’re offering Christy’s book is our gift to anyone who gives $30 or more to The Roys Report. As you know, we don’t have any huge donors or grants driving our work, but we have you the people who are passionate about seeing truth exposed and the church restored. So, if you’d like to support our work and get a copy of Christy’s book, just go to JULIEROYS.COM/DONATE. But there’s more to come from my conversation with Christy. In part two, Christy tells what happened when she got well enough that she wanted to help others and start her own nonprofit. You would think this would be something that her pastor would be excited about, but instead he tried to shut it down which sent Christy into a tailspin. Fortunately, some wise friend spoke truth to Christy about her pastor and her church.
CHRISTY BOULWARE 40:05
We sought console outside of our local church. And so, I sent the notes over to this pastor, my husband and I, and this pastor and his wife, we sat down over a nice lunch. And I’ll never forget it, Julie, he just very boldly and bluntly said, Christy, we reviewed your pastor’s notes, and we think you’re in a cult. And we think that he is using scripture to manipulate and to control you.
JULIE ROYS 40:31
Well, again, that’s just a taste of the second part of my discussion with Christy, which explores spiritual abuse and how to respond to it. We’ll be releasing part two in just a few days, so you’ll want to be watching for that. But thanks so much for listening to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. And if you want to make sure that you never miss an episode, I encourage you to subscribe to The Roys Report on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts or Spotify. And while you’re at it, I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us spread the word about the podcast by leaving a review. And then please share the podcast on social media so more people can hear about this great content. Again, thanks so much for joining me today. Hope you were blessed and encouraged.