To the person contemplating suicide. To the person drugging themselves to dull the pain. Living on the razor’s edge will bury you so dig in with both heels and hang on with your trembling hands because you’re not an isolated case. Antidepressants are the 3rd most prevalent prescription drug taken by Americans because anxiety and the rate of antidepressant use in the United States is climbing. Anxiety, worry and tautness are the most disruptive forces we can face. We can switch the light back on in our souls and enlisted pastor Max Lucado to help. Lucado wrote a book Anxious for Nothing, a how-to guide on finding the palatableness in the sourness of life. “Life gives lemons to all people, bad people, old people, all people. Life comes with lemons, but we don’t have to suck on them,” wrote Lucado. Truly, suffering is no respecter of persons but you can smile again by defying the fear, using Scripture and by casting your cares ahead of time to mitigate worry. Let’s look into how we can obtain control over our lives again.
Acknowledge your struggle.
Not only are we a nervous people, but our nation is riffled with anxiety and this impacts cognitive function, along with our decision-making. As Christians, we are part of this dynamic. “We don’t ever make our best decisions with an anxious spirit. We don’t have our best conversations when we’re full of trepidation. By understanding anxiety and how it can affect us negatively is really important before we can really make progress. We need to get ourselves into a posture of peace,” Lucado said. In recent years pastors have come forward to address mental health in the church, Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren talks about his son’s suicide to bring awareness and Pastor Perry Noble of New Spring Church of South Carolina addressed his clandestine battle with depression. Basically, the church needs to support people struggling in this area, not shun them. We can’t face something we don’t acknowledge. There is no shame in anxiety. Burrowing it can facilitate further damage.
Don’t allow anxiety to have a home.
The apostle Paul talks about anxiety in Philippians 4:6-7. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Lucado was surprised to learn that this is the most underlined verse in the Bible according to research done by Kindle Data. “Paul gives a pretty clear 4-step solution for helping us deal with anxiety. The first is asking God for help, be anxious for nothing, petition and let your requests be made known to God with thanksgiving. Before our anxiety finds a home in our hearts, we can take our anxiety and present it to Christ. This is really I think peace 101. If we want to find peace, we need to make it a point not to internalize our anxiety.”
Let it go.
Lucado suggested when trouble hits and you look ahead into the day, visually see yourself casting your trouble to Him and it really works. Casting is an act of relocating the object, or in this case your worry. During your conversations with God, ask Him to go ahead of you before the meeting, before you meet with the boss or when you need to complete a project. When anxiety bubbles up, remind yourself you already addressed the challenge with God. We are victims of our own thought patterns. You can’t avoid traffic, rude people or the bad weather. But you can avoid toxic people, situations and an overloaded schedule that feed your anxious thoughts. “The very first step when an anxious or troubling thought comes my way is to take it in prayer to God and say, ‘Lord, help me.’ If I can learn to do that, I will discover a peace greater than I ever imagined.”
Start praying more specifically about fear.
When it comes to prayer, why do we need to follow through when we are struggling against panic? Doesn’t God know our hearts? Lucado was frank and calmed the doubts. “There’s a case in the New Testament of Jesus healing a blind man named Bartimaeus, but before He heals him, Jesus asked ‘Tell me what you want?’ Jesus already knew the answer. When we get specific with our requests then we reduce our problems down to size and we then see God at work.” An illustration of being more specific can be as follows. If you have a conference with a client at 1 p.m., who is not easy to get along with, ask the Lord to help you enter the meeting with a prepared heart. By this, you’re giving the meeting to God. “This is creating a relationship and a conversation and an ongoing dialog with God who wants to be our Father, who wants to be involved in the day-to-day outpourings and outgoings of our lives.” Once we can get more detailed in our prayers, we need to face our fears, which anxiety is often rooted in. Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotional state consisting of psychological and psychophysiological responses to a real external threat or danger. “Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one,” stated Lucado. The apostle Peter dealt with this fear and conceivably stress. Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But he saw the strength of the wind, was afraid, and began to sink, and cried out, “Lord, save me!” We know that Jesus came and rescued Peter. “If we feel like we’re sinking in life or feeling like we’re submerged in our challenges and floundering, the odds are is we’ve taken our eyes off of Christ. It’s not fatal, it wasn’t for Peter,” Lucado added.