For readers of Examiner.com, this is a revised and edited article geared not just to suggest but to actually help eliminate and recover from anxiety. Please read the entire article to find the 5-fold plan.
Anxiety can strike anyone at any time.
This is a point reiterated to this pastor/counselor over 20 years of professional psychology and counseling practice and ministry and most recently
by this writer to several writer and pastor friends.
It seems these friends and colleagues were surprised that this pastor/writer got frustrated and anxious as just as they did. Pastors and church leaders are just human and their friends, family and congregations should remember that fact.
Christians must remember that they are not impervious to the illnesses of life rather physical or mental and we are capable of everything a non-Christian is as well.
For far too long, the Christian community has associated mental illness with evil and sin and yet everyone is vulnerable to both. We should never assume that anxiety or even greater mental health issues or the resulting actions are sin. That is, unless the patient knows of their problem and fails to do something about it , then, the end result becomes sin.
The Bible teaches us that we should “not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
But even the most avid praying, Bible reading, church going and Christian fellowshipping person can be victimized by anxiety, frustration, depression and even severe mental health issues.
The stress of ministry on both ministers and Christian laity alike in the caring for people can be tremendous and it is often carried over into the home, family, marriage, job and even back into the church. These men and women have often visited this pastor/counselor’s study far too many times to describe here seeking counseling.
In fact, on an occasion this pastor/counselor/writer has even used fellow pastors, counselors and Christian Psychologist to consult for my own personal needs. It really helps.
One of the greatest solutions to anxiety is talking to a good listener about what frustrates you and what has you anxious. This is good therapy as long as it doesn’t become whining and a self-pity party. As the old saying goes, “nobody likes a whiner but everybody needs to whine sometime”.
It’s important to make sure that those we confess our problems to are honorable, level-headed and able to understand our need.
The Bible teaches us to “encourage one another and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV. So sharing with fellow Christians and members of your church family is a good place to start and the definitive word being start.
An area far too many people including Christians and pastors fall short in is thinking we don’t need to do anything more than just share the problems with friends or family which unfortunately often spreads that frustration and anxiety to the very ones we love.
We should remember that in the next verse of 1 Thessalonians 5 in verse 12, the Apostle Paul tells us to “…to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.”
There are many theological interpretations here but the bottom line is we are being encouraged to seek out those who can really help us and that know how to listen. In essence, we should never count out using professional help such as a pastor/counselor, therapist, psychologist or even a psychiatrist. If you do chose to talk with your pastor make sure the pastor is trained in counseling and actually offers counseling services.
The bottom line is that anxiety does not have to engulf us or control our lives.
As a pastor-psychologist/counselor, this writer has developed a 5-fold plan to avoid or recover from anxiety:
A 5-fold Plan to avoid or Recover from Anxiety
By Dr. Lee Outlaw
Text: Psalm 27:1-14
The KEY is to R E L A X:
1. R ely – on the Lord. (Psalm 27:1a)
2. E njoy – the strength and confidence which comes from God. (Psalm 27:1b & 6b)
3. L ive – with Godly confidence in yourself. (Psalm 27:3-4; 13)
4. A cknowledge – God by ASKING Him anything; tell Him what is on your mind. (Psalm 27: 4-6; 11)
5. eXpect – a Miracle. Wait on the Lord; He will take care of you. (Psalm 27:14)
We simply need to stop, relax and bring that anxiety to the Lord in prayer and allow our frustrations to be known to those we are certain will listen and genuinely care.
If the anxiety continues and becomes all-consuming, never be afraid to seek out a professional counselor who is trained to find and help end the cause of your anxiety.