Dealing with Depression

How Anxiety Robs us of Our Trust in God

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Growing up I thought something was amiss with me because I was not a happy go lucky kind of kid, I perceived the world from a more intellectual context, a more concerned point of view.  At that time, I had no idea there was a clinical name for my condition.  I assumed it was just me being more introspective than my peers.  I had a hard time just living life in the moment.  Thoughts of “what if” regularly ran and still do at times through my head.  Later I would discover I am not alone.  Other poor souls are on this journey with me, it’s called anxiety.    Like many other conditions, there are many various levels of this trust-robbing monster.   Here is how one article describes this situation.

“It’s a normal part of life to experience occasional anxiety. But you may experience anxiety that is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming. If it’s an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. When anxiety interferes with daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions – just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States.”1You may be asking yourself why in the world would you share something so intimate?  I believe that in sharing you will better know me and also maybe it will support how you deal with life if anxiety is your constant bedfellow.

The Triggers:

There are seasons when the anxiety is so modest I don’t detect its existence. However, I have likewise noticed that there are triggers in my life that set the stress in high gear.  One of those triggers is pending changes or uncertainty.  I am at a stage in my adventure with the next four months is entirely up in the air.  So, the anxiety is running at Usain Bolt speed.  During a recent conversation with God, where I let him do the talking, He gave me this phrase to calm my troubled spirit. “Worry gives you the false impression that somehow you are doing something to contribute to the solution of your fears, but what you are doing is getting into my (God’s) business.”  Wow, that hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had allowed my issues to shove God right out of my soul, or at least relegate him to a back seat.  My anxiety was robbing me of allowing God to take control of my life.  Once I acknowledged that I had a sense of peace, I don’t know how long that will last, because Satan also knows my triggers and peace is not what he seeks for the children of God.

The Calming Presence of God:

When anxiety is visiting your heart, seek refuge in the presence of God’s Word.  Here are some verses that over time God uses to remind me He is in control.

“We can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:34

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

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.” 1 Peter 5:5-7

What has worked for me is to calm my heart and mind.

  • Trust in the promises and the power of God.
  • Take time to pray and mediate on His grace and love.
  • And focus your mind on positive things.  As Paul writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).  The unfortunate reality of anxiety is that usually 98 percent of the things we are anxious about or worry about never happen. The fear is unrealistic, and the more you focus on it, the more significant the anxiety grows.  Learn to live each day to its fullest.

[1] https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

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Devotional Message, The Journey of Faith

Are You Pushing God Away?

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The story has been told of a believer, Frederick Nolan, who was fleeing from his enemies during a time of persecution in North Africa. Pursued by them over hill and valley with no place to hide, he fell exhausted into a wayside cave, expecting his enemies to find him soon.

Awaiting his death, he saw a spider weaving a web. Within minutes, the little bug had spun a beautiful web across the mouth of the cave. The pursuers arrived and wondered if Nolan was hiding there, but on seeing the unbroken and unmangled piece of art, thought it impossible for him to have entered the cave without dismantling the web. And so, they went on. Having escaped, Nolan burst out and exclaimed:

“Where God is, a spider’s web is like a wall,

Where God is not, a wall is like a spider’s web.”

Where God is not, a wall is like a spider’s web.”How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings! But you were not willing! (GWN) Luke 13:34b

Jesus Christ has shown himself more than willing, to receive and entertain any poor soul that comes to him, and put themselves under his Lordship. “How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her brood under her wings, with such care and tenderness!”

How willing are we to give up control?

I can’t speak for other sinners, but I personally like to be in perceived control of my life.  Now mind you I have not often done a great job with that control, but I still love the idea that I am in control.  Take a step back and look at the reason we sinners struggle with the above verse.  It summarizes a struggle we have with Jesus for control.  Jesus enlightens us with the divine truth here.  You are not protected, not under the wings of Jesus, because of one reason, our “unwillingness.”  God didn’t turn His back on us. It’s is just the opposite.  We reject His care.  People chose self-reliance.  Our strength is more appealing. Independence rules that day. The pull yourself up by your own bootstraps has led us to desire to do things our own way.   Consequently, we come running to God when our strength fails. This desire for control left the blood of Jesus on Israel’s head and covers ours as well. Jesus laments the choices humanity makes. You read that remorse in the verse above. Oh, how I wished you had taken a different path.  That you made wise choices. Would it be better for you if you trusted in the One who cares for you deeply?  Jesus cares for you.  His care led Jesus to give His life to save you from your sins.

As we face the tough choices and times in our lives today may God guide us.  May He encourage us to trust in Him. The Holy Spirit points us back to the power of the Cross “It is my desire to gather you, to protect you from the trials of life, and through the blood of Christ gives you eternal life.” So, often in the midst of life’s toughest moments, we feel alone, isolated, wondering where is God in all this?  Know that God is there.  Waiting to bring you under His protective wings, if you are willing to give up control. God stands ready to encourage, ready to protect. Are you listening, are you seeking, are you willing? Maybe we are not trusting that the spider web is God’s wall and seeing only the spider web?

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father gives us hearts ready and willing to receive that word of encouragement and the protection offered by you. In Jesus name. Amen.