Let’s talk about anxiety.
It’s sometimes a taboo topic amongst Christians. When I was younger, I remember hearing that real Christians don’t struggle with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, panic, etc.
I disagree wholeheartedly.
And, lately, I have been given the honor of speaking with women who have opened up to me about their struggles with such things. Good, lovely, Christian women who fear other’s judgement and wrestle with what they have been taught about these issues and their faith.
I have also had the opportunity to share with women about my own struggles with such things. Thankfully, they did not judge me. In fact, several ministered to me. Yet, I understand the fear of others knowing, condemning, judging, and labeling. It’s real.
So, let’s talk about anxiety. Unfortunately, the attitude that believers don’t suffer with it is bogus. If it wasn’t an issue, God would not have addressed it in His word.
Here are some verses to consider: 1 Peter 5:6-7; Philippians 4:4-7; Matthew 6:25-35; Psalm 23:4; 38:17-21; John 14:27
Each of the above address anxious thoughts and worry. Those who have never suffered with it, find it simple to tell others, to pray and read the Bible when it hits. Yet, as someone who recently went through some serious anxiety attacks (that came without any warning), I can tell you when you are in the midst of one, you lose your mind. It takes some time before you can control your reaction and do what you know you need to do.
For me, it was humiliating and embarrassing. I questioned my faith and my mental health. I questioned a million things, actually. And, once I recovered, I did pray. I asked God what was going on, to heal me, to take it away, to not let me live like this.
Do you know how He replied? My grace is sufficient for you and My power is displayed in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). And then He began to speak to my soul. In those moments, He had my full attention. Something He had not been receiving.
No, the anxiety was not a punishment from Him. It was the consequence of living in a fallen world. It was the consequence of a broken spirit, personal trauma, and my negative thoughts. Yet, in the midst of it all, He was there. And He reminded me, through His word, that my anxiety is not a sin (although at times it can be caused by sin). It is not an evil. It IS real and believers do suffer with it.
I found that in our suffering, He is present. He is there when I feel alone. He is available when I need Him RIGHT NOW. He is my comfort when I am highly uncomfortable. He is my peace when it seems no peace can be found. He is my still when my mind is chaotic. And He is my calm when I can’t calm myself.
If you suffer with anxiety (or other mental health issues), I want you to know you are not alone. He is available for you, too. He cares. He knows. He is waiting to comfort you. Don’t give up. Keep pressing forward.
Most of all, remember that you are loved. You are not forgotten. And you are definitely not alone in your suffering. Pray for God’s healing but be willing to walk with Him through discomfort if He chooses to say, “Not yet, child.”