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Looking into "the Depths" of Anxiety

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

Psalm 130:1

Sunday, Pastor Erik walked us through Psalms 130-31, (which you can watch or listen to here). As he began his sermon, Erik took time to acknowledge that we all go through difficult and even dark times. The psalmist refers to these times as "The depths". Sometimes these are from our sin and sometimes they are from outside circumstances. In either case it is important for us to turn to God and see Him sovereign over our sin and our situation.

But what about for those who feel like it wasn't sin, but also not something else outside of them, but something INSIDE of them that they can't control. What about for people struggling with persistent anxiety disorders?

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Last week we posted an article "I Trust God, but What if I'm Still Anxious?" and got a lot of positive responses. Since the psalm, and Erik's sermon, touched on this topic again, we wanted to provide some additional help.

Over at Tim Challies blog, a guest writer, Adam Ford, discussed his experience as a Christian who struggles with Anxiety. Here are a few excerpts:

For 7 years I have lived with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Social Anxiety. It has completely changed my life. I have written and drawn about these things before and the response has proven to me that there are tons of Christians who relate to my story. This probably includes people you know. I also know that many are hesitant to tell others about their struggles. So for them, based on my experience, I compiled a little list of things you should know about your Christian friends and family who struggle with anxiety.

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Here's one of the items he lists:

We know it doesn’t make any sense.

It doesn’t make sense to you—or us, most of the time. It’s called a disorder because it is a disorder—our brains are malfunctioning. We know our thoughts are illogical. We know there is no good reason for our adrenaline to be pumping like we’re running from a T-Rex. We know it’s just the anxiety messing with us. But knowing that doesn’t help a single bit.

Having anxiety doesn’t make us overly concerned about things as much as it makes our brains short-circuit as a feeling of certain impending doom envelops us. Being in an anxiety pit is a feeling that can’t be explained, and in bad times it’s a feeling that’s with us from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep. It’s our life.

And what he says helps:

The gospel is everything to us.

We live a life in which our feelings actively try to kill us. It’s a strange existence. We know better than most that feelings can be filthy, stinking liars. While subjective feelings try to do us in, the objective truth of the gospel is what sustains us. It’s our life raft.

And his final word:

When you know we’re struggling, send us a little reminder of the beautiful truth of the gospel. It might be a blessing bigger than you know. Tell us what Christ has done. Tell us “it is finished.” Tell us what He accomplished on our behalf. But please, don’t call—a text or email will do just fine. 

Christian, it is very likely that you or someone you know also deals with this on a daily basis. Please head over to Challies' blog to read the rest of the article, and check out some of Adam's other writings and comics related to anxiety (below).

This understanding just might be the grace you need in this moment, or the grace you can share with someone else in theirs.

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