Whenever I talk or write about anxiety, I think it’s important to let those listening or reading know that I am not a trained counselor or clinician. With that disclaimer made, I can then encourage everyone within earshot to get the help they need. The work of doctors and therapists, spiritual directors and wise friends, is absolutely vital. For some, it can be the difference between life and death.
The reality is that finding freedom from anxious thoughts and feelings cannot happen on your own, outside the care of others. The resources of the Body of Christ — not to mention the medical community, if that’s what’s needed — are immense. Don’t let them go underutilized.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, find someone who understands the vulnerabilities inherent in the human condition and ask him or her for help. Don’t wait. We flourish to the degree that we acknowledge our brokenness and seek to overcome it in solidarity with others. Most of our anxieties work against us, wanting us to remain isolated, outside the reach of those we need most.
A big part of my own journey towards less anxiety and more peace is connected to the people that God has brought into my life. Counselors. Friends. Pastors. Authors. Musicians. Family. All have been like a balm that God has used to heal the emotional unrest. Sure, the anxiety’s still around, vying for my attention at the most inopportune times, but it’s not as dominant as it once was. In fact, there are days when there seem to be no signs of it at all; it just doesn’t surface the way it used to.
When God partners with a community of compassionate individuals to bring healing to our lives — through interventions ranging from prayer to self-care to counseling — it shouldn’t surprise us, especially if that’s what we’ve been asking Him to do. The slow, steady work of grace impacts us over time as we make ourselves available to it, a process which will always involve us being willing to accept the help we need.
When we welcome the love and support of other people, we create space for God to work in us and through us. He has designed us for relationship and is committed to our good. That’s why the road to becoming a less anxious person should never be walked alone.In my last two posts in this series, we’ll talk about why it’s crucial to have a set of core beliefs and practices that can sustain us when we’re overwhelmed by anxiety. Because what we think and what we do make a tremendous difference in how we feel.