Being Still When Anxious
Before, I begin with my sermon, I would like to share a short testimonial of a Christian person who faced severe anxiety
I’ve always considered myself to be a person who handles stress pretty well. I like to be busy. I enjoy taking risks. I never thought anxiety was my problem.
Then, a little less than a year ago, I hit a wall. I could never seem to get enough sleep. Small tasks I had normally done with little thought or stress were suddenly accompanied with an almost crippling anxiety.
One day as I was driving, it suddenly felt as though my heart was malfunctioning. That was my first panic attack. It was also the moment I realized I could no longer ignore the stress and anxiety that was slowly taking over my life.
Something had to change.
After that day, I began seeking counsel. I saw a doctor. I began making changes. By God’s grace, I am now no longer on any medication, the panic attacks are gone and my anxiety is at an all-time low. I still have days that are harder than others, but those days are increasingly few and far between.
I continue to meet many people who find themselves in a similar place to where I was just a year ago. Those conversations have confirmed that we the Church have a long way to go when it comes to addressing issues of mental health. Many aren’t sure how to understand or respond to their struggle as Christians.”
Definition of Anxiety
: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
Anxiety is the feeling of fear, worry, or unease, which most people experience occasionally. The stressful or unfamiliar situations and events that cause these feelings are what people call anxiety triggers.
Anxiety resembles fear, but when a person experiences fear, they know what they are afraid of – whereas anxiety is often less specific.
Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, but severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating. Some people are more vulnerable to anxiety than others, but even those who become anxious easily can learn to manage it well.
, where people always tell themselves that the worst will happen, can cause anxiety. In fact, there are a wide range of causes and coping mechanisms; here we will explore some of the most common ones.
Common reasons for feeling anxious include:
work related stress
Some of the Triggers that can cause Anxiety:
Avoiding triggers (avoiding triggers and then facing it at some point in time, will definitely ignite anxiety to an extreme level).
Sitting a test
Socializing (People feel difficult to initiate conversation, therefore anxiety could be triggered)
Being bullied (this could be in a work scenario or even in a social setting)
Experiencing financial difficulty
Experiencing a bereavement
Becoming a parent (this could be because everything is new and one is unsure of how to go about a new born’s schedule. Also, financial constraints to bring up children can cause anxiety)
Receiving a diagnosis of a severe illness
Some people start avoiding everyday activities including:
lectures and tutorials
meetings and work situations
It can be so easy to just give in to feelings of worry and negativity. What’s going to happen next?
If you’re a Christian, however, we have hope in a Savior that cares for us. He gives us strength in hard times, and he wants us to look to Him in prayer when our circumstances start to overwhelm us.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Anxiety can be crippling, but we can replace it with thankful prayers and thoughts and look to Christ for peace.
There’s a saying that ‘A hundred load of worry will not pay an ounce of debt. – George Herbert’
Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Many times, we will be caught in a very helpless situation. We feel so nervous, anxious, and fearful, as if the whole result or the consequence of it depended on us.
Let’s look at a case study from the bible itself:
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
What is the event here?
It’s a storm, in the middle of the sea.
There is no way one can be rescued, other than a life boat or a rescue intervention in today’s terminology.
What are the kinds of feeling one would have?
It would be feelings of hopelessness, fear, anxiety, all is gone feeling, some may be picturising their family and the feeling of helplessness. Some may also contemplate the decision of following Jesus. Some may be cursing him in their heart that why this man is behaving in this manner. Therefore, all kinds of anxiety along with anger, or some kind of frustration is welling up.
What is the response of the disciples?
They panic, fear grips them, they become anxious or worried about their life. We are focusing on anxiety here.
What does Jesus do?
He stills the storm. He says where is your faith?
It’s a clear-cut response by Jesus, when we are anxious or worried or fearful, have faith. Have faith not in yourself or your ability to rescue yourself but have faith that God is able to handle this situation.
Being still is so difficult in an extremely urgent situation.
Let’s look at some of the ways we can practice curbing anxiety, frustrations and panic:
- Taking few deep breaths: Calm yourself.
Find a place where you just don’t think about the situation. Settle your thoughts, give yourself time to think about your calling, the purpose for which God made you. Even Jesus would have times with Himself.
- Admit there’s a problem: Disciple knew that they are fearful of the storm. pushing through without addressing the problem can lead to an inevitable and ugly crash
- Take Care of Yourself Physically:
Exercise Firstly, it decreases levels of stress hormones within the body. Secondly, it makes people focus on the task of exercising, and this can distract them from ruminative thoughts. In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to remember that our body is a living temple, one that has been bought at a great price, and therefore we ought to glorify God with it. Taking care of our bodies, therefore, is a spiritual endeavour
People with anxiety may be prone to putting off important tasks or projects to temporarily avoid stress. However, procrastination often results in a last-minute rush to complete tasks before a deadline. This causes even greater stress and anxiety.
- Be Intentional About What Goes into Your Mind:
Philippians 4:8 says this: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
- Don’t Neglect the Spiritual:
You and I are spiritual beings, which means there is always more going on than meets the eye.You must make a habit of utilizing the power of prayer, the gift of the Scriptures and the support of Christian community who can help you discern the lies you are tempted to believe and who will remind you of who you truly are in Christ.
Last time we investigated the aspect of prayer. We said we need to pray. However, we didn’t discuss how we need to pray. We need to specifically address the issue of what is causing the anxiety. Disciples did not start with a psalm or something. They genuinely blurted out the words that was causing them fear. Lord, we are going to drown, rescue us. We see this with King David also, he would tell God what he is going through at that point, be it an attack from his enemy or be it betrayal from his army, and so on. Jesus poured out His agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Only talking to God – heart to heart, will relieve us.
Ask for Anointing Prayer
Ask people in your community to pray a prayer of anointing and also for all that gets you anxious and panicked.
Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.