Camp explained that at one point his anxiety had him confined to bed and unable to leave the house. Then he began to pray.
Just one verse each day.
Famed Christian star Jeremy Camp is no stranger to sharing his personal stories of hardship and faith in his music and media. In 2020, his biopic I Still Believe took audiences through the ordeals of his younger years and accompanying his first wife as she died of ovarian cancer, and he has been very open about his life, family, and faith in interviews. Now he’s sharing how Jesus helped him through a time of great anxiety in his life, the subject of his new song “Anxious Heart.”
At 45 years old, Camp has lost none of his youthful exuberance and talent at writing impactful Christian music. “Anxious Heart” feels almost like a rock song, but it is infused with pop and R&B elements. Camp has a little bit of an edge in his voice, which is so fitting when talking about the frustrations that anxiety can bring, and it works to make the song more personal and poignant. Those with anxiety disorders may find the first verse particularly emotional, as Camp describes the uncontrollable aspects of a panic attack.
In an accompanying video to “Anxious Heart,” Camp revealed that he has been struggling with his own anxiety for the last several years. Referring to the tune as “one of the most personal songs” he’d written in a long time, he explained that his consternations reached a peak when he was taking his daughters on a mission trip to Uganda:
“My daughter got the yellow fever shot and she got really sick … The doctor told me ‘you know, your daughter can die from the shot’ and so all my fears just came to a place where it was boiling up so much that I started freaking out. So she got sick and I’m thinking the worst. Of course, I went through losing my wife to cancer so I know those things can happen.”
Thankfully, his daughter was only diagnosed with the flu and she recovered before their Uganda trip, but the anxieties began to pile up on Camp. While on the trip, Camp and his two daughters conducted their mission duties with ease, but all the while his anxieties were beginning to overwhelm him:
“I was doing outreach there and it was incredible. We had 35,000 people and 1,000 people responding to the Gospel, so rad things were happening. But inside, I just had this overwhelming fear and worry and just overprotection of the kids.”
Camp said that he began to view his overprotectiveness of his daughters as a failure to trust in the Lord. Even after the trip was over he couldn’t shake these anxious feelings, but it came to a head during a subsequent trip to Israel, when he collapsed after working out.
“I did this set of push-ups and I felt this weird welling up inside of me of panic that I can’t describe. All of a sudden this panic turned into I couldn’t breathe. I’m on the ground trying to breathe and I called my wife like ‘I need you now.’ This kind of feeling of hopelessness I had never experienced before.”
Camp said that his wife came and prayed for him and it was not until she laid hands on him that he felt he could battle the fear and worry, or as he describes them: the enemy. This was not the end of the incident, however, as Camp would find himself stricken with fear for several weeks. He said he couldn’t go outside, or get out of bed, his thoughts consumed with irrational and dark fears. He said that for the first time in his life, he even contemplated whether or not there was a God.
“Things I’d never thought of before. Here I am, I’ve been a Christian my whole life, gone through hardships and seen God be faithful in massive ways. Watching my wife die, telling her to go be with Jesus and then for him to be faithful to walk me through it. So I’ve known he’s there.”
Finally, unable to handle his anxiety anymore, he called on Christ for help:
“Finally, I said, ‘God, what is it? Please tell me,’ And literally, He spoke to me and said there are three things: … my family, my future, and my finances.” Camp said that it was imperative that he learn to trust in God to protect what’s most important.
He said that writing “Anxious Heart” was therapeutic, but he found a great deal of comfort in Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Watch the full interview below.
[Editor’s note: While prayer can help us cope with and heal from anxiety and other conditions related to our mental health, we should always seek medical advice and consult with professionals as needed.]