NONE of us want it. A LOT of us get it. 18.1% OF THE U.S. POPULATION–DANG NEAR ONE OUT OF FIVE PEOPLE!—HAVE A DIAGNOSED ANXIETY DISORDER. The “silent epidemic” most of us keep more secret than hemorrhoids or “female trouble.”
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
Labels abound. Fixes? Not so much. Pills of course…but with problems of their own. Therapy of all kinds. Some of which helps, but never CURES.
Dang near every book in the Bible has a “fear not” verse in it. From Genesis to the gospels, God tells His followers not to be afraid for He is with them. So we feel guilty when we still do:
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am
your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you
with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by
prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to
God. And the peace of God, which transcends all
understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ
Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Yet a word study equates the word “fear” more with “worry.” And we CAN stop WORRYING with our free will choice. We give it up and leave it to Him.
But we CANNOT always stop ANXIETY can we? No. That ol’ nervous system goes on tappin’ whether we are worried about anything in particular or NOT. I often wish they would give it a new label…”NeuroConsternitis” or something.
And because it is invisible, the suffering is amplified. No wheelchair, crutches, cast or Band-Aids. Others can’t SEE it, no lab test SHOWS it, so most assume it is something WE are doing wrong. Sympathy for a tumor or loss helps heal those victims. For THIS we hear “get over it” and “you’re a mess.”
If negative thinking and worry are the problem, then why does it wake us up at night too? We aren’t worrying or negative-thinking THEN, are we?
Sure, we have become more sensitive to our body’s signals over time. But a lot of our illness is PHYSICAL, just like theirs. Our BRAINS and NERVOUS SYSTEMS are OFF. Science has proven it can be GENETIC, identifying three known genes related to “Mood Disorder.” Plus ample evidence it is partially toxins in our environment. Some of us have a gene that will not process those toxins.
And fMRI scans prove that childhood abuse damages the growing amygdala in the brain, home of the “Fight or Flight” reflex. So anxiety can be the skid marks the traumas of life left on our nervous system.
I myself have a very scared two-year-old inside. Bad things happened when I was too young to fight. My “Fight or Flight” is permanently STUCK on FLIGHT. That’s what that adrenaline rush is. Worked for the cavemen running from tigers. Not so great for us today.
Not to mention how media amplifies dangers from around the world. War, terrorists, plagues, “warning signs.” The biggest danger to our health nowadays IS the warning signs.
So, in a nutshell, anxiety is NOT all our fault. NOT all our cure. And definitely should NOT be our SECRET any longer! One out of five people?!?!? No rare shame there, fellow pilgrims!
Even the apostle Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” he asked God to remove. It never happened. He accepted it and wrote three fourths of the New Testament.
“,,,to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
–I Corinthians 12:7-9
I wonder if HIS thorn was anxiety? Like he says, it does slay pride and make us wise about the devil. Helps us lay our FLESHY goals down so GOD can work THROUGH us. Fist bump, Paul !!! A very worthy goal.
So after many years of being blindsided repeatedly and doing EVERYTHING the world offers and still suffering from anxiety, I finally decided to just LAY IT DOWN. LET His grace be sufficient for me too. THANK GOD for it. Because EVERYBODY has SOMETHING.
Would I trade with the lady who lost her only son? No. Or my friend who has a brain tumor? No way. Maybe with the girl who lost her parents and best friend in a car wreck she survived? Definitely not.
So “Lord thank You for this” is my pill now. I OFFER IT UP to the Lord who knows me better than I know myself. The gratitude brings a flush of spiritual consolation. And a way to thumb my nose at the devil’s dark insinuations. It holds me closer to the Lord than I ever would have been without it.
Think about it. Who do YOU cling to most when you are scared you are dying? God.
We “participate in the fellowship of His sufferings” too. “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings” Philippians 3:10
So that “I” in anxiety? NOPE! The “He” in our anxiety is the answer. Jesus sweated drops of blood in that Garden! He begged God not to make Him do it. He got up and did it anyway. He knows! And WE know it keeps us humble and leaning on Him.
So THANK You for these hellacious sensations in our bodies, Lord.
The ones that keep us humble, skulking out of ERs and calling in to work.
That keep us looking UP.
Keeps us close while You teach us about Your faithfulness.
Maybe not while we are sobbing or taking our pulse at midnight or crying with fear we are dying.
But we do know, more than most, that we are entirely lost without You.
Thank You, Lord. Turn it all to good, Lord.
So grateful for Your gifts—righteousness, sanctification, redemption—that do NOT depend on what WE can or cannot do. No “I” there either!
THANK YOU for the million mercies that come when the horror passes. It builds our trust.
Whew. Thank You.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6)
“Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22)