What you need to know about dealing with anxiety as a Christian
Church should be the most life-giving place you’ve ever encountered. If you are dealing with anxiety, know that you are loved and accepted by God. Acknowledging your struggle is the first step. We all experience anxiety to a certain degree. It could be situational, centered around a specific difficult season. We often mix up the words “worry” and “anxiety” during these times. However, when anxiety begins to affect our health, it may be due to an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder according to WebMD include panic, sleep problems, tingling in extremities, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness and more. Left untreated, anxiety disorders can be disabling. But there are available treatments; there is hope. If this is you, seek medical attention. Because of the stigmas created by the church, many Christians don’t get the help that is available. Let me say this clearly: Asking for help is not a sign of spiritual failure; if anything it is spiritual strength.
Seeking help is a strength
Christians are not immune to anxiety disorders or any mental health illness. God never promised that faith brings healing. What God did promise is that you and I will never be alone as we walk through the difficult parts of life. Part of not being alone is the call placed on the church to love and care for one another. It is your responsibility to ask for help; it is the church’s responsibility to respond with love.
Pride says I’ve got this, but humility says I need help.
How often have you heard that pride goes before the fall? How often have you seen it play out in your own life or in the lives of those around you? One doesn’t need to look far to see this truth (Proverbs 3:34). Seeking help, being humble in your own struggles, is a sign of strength.
God honors the humble
First Peter 5:6-7 (ESV) says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
God honors the humble and does so at the proper time. The problem is that you and I don’t get to say when that time is. It requires a little patience on our end, whether we are the one seeking out help or the one helping (Ephesians 4:2).
When we cast our anxiety on God, we will be cared for. This is a promise. We aren’t told to get ourselves together, to fix our problems, to come only in our perfection. No! The Bible says to cast your cares, your worries, your anxiety, your struggles onto God because God loves and cares for you.
Jesus’ life demonstrated His love for us. He willingly entered into our suffering. The cross further displayed that God is willing to care for us at all costs. The grave showed us that God is powerful enough to care for us.
Your story is powerful
We all have struggles. When we are open about what we are struggling with, we free two people: ourself and the person we share our struggles with. By discussing our anxiety, depression, mental illness, we are ending the stigma and shutting down the shame. You and I are not designed to carry the weight of the world. That thing that you are anxious about? You can cast it onto God. You might still wrestle with anxiety, but it won’t control you.
Do not be ashamed of your story. It is yours and it is powerful. Whether your anxiety is nothing more than worries for tomorrow or part of a mental health disorder that requires the skilled knowledge of physicians and psychologists, know that your story is one worth sharing.
The power of God’s Word is that we are taken through the tough times but we are given peace and joy in the midst of our burdens. Take your burdens to Christ. You and I do not have the ability to carry it, but God does. In the middle of the struggle, God promises to be right there with you. You are not alone.
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