Anxiety is not that simple because it is often misunderstood to be simply that a person is stressing too much. There is a distinct difference between the sin of anxiety (fear and worry of being caught in your sin) and the mental health disorder of anxiety that is characterized by physical changes in the brain. Anxiety is both a mental health issue and a spiritual issue.
In principle, anxiety is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. It often includes panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Sadly, anxiety disorders are on the rise which makes it critical for the Church to understand the epidemic on our hands.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the world, affecting millions aged 18 and older, every year. It is highly treatable, yet only 37% of those suffering receive treatment. People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders. It is developed from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
Today anxiety will creep up unexpectedly. It normally happens when we’ve put, too much, on our plate or we say too many yeses. Our body wants to say no. finally, it shuts down in ways we don’t expect. God didn’t design us to hustle 24-7. He designed us to Be Still and Know. To ‘Be still’ means to rest in God’s presence. This verse wasn’t written in the context of taking a spa day. It was written in the context of war. It means to stop; cease striving and stop fighting and acknowledge God. Daily we should learn to be still before our Lord. That means to be un-busy, not hustle and free your mind. We are to prioritize our time with Him and listen to what our bodies need. Rest, exercise, a good bedtime routine, eight hours of sleep, consume healing foods and meditate on God’s word. This is how we war against the battle of anxiety.
Yahweh, when I feel crushed by my worries, lift my mind, and help me to see the truth. When fear grips me tight and I feel I cannot move, free my heart and help me to take things one step at a time. When I can’t express the turmoil inside, please calm me with Your quiet words of love. Father, I choose to trust in You, each day, each hour, each moment of my life.
God, I know deep down that I am in Your grace, forgiven, restored and by Your sacrifice, You have set me free. In Christ’s name Amen.
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