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Two Ways Christians Deal with Anxiety (and what to do instead.)

As a former clinical therapist and Christian I have seen two main tendencies with how Christians get help with anxiety.

You have Christians who go to counseling and get some good practical help, are able to process some difficult things and gain new skills but they struggle with not knowing how to integrate that process with their faith and how to use the spiritual weapons God has given us in this battle of the mind.

The other thing I see is Christians with anxiety that go to a pastor or friend for prayer and maybe they get some sound advice, Bible verses and prayer but they are struggling so much with their thoughts and the physical symptoms of anxiety they can't enter into that process in order to get freedom.

Anxiety is experienced spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. In order to get full, deep freedom from anxiety all 4 of those areas need to be addressed.

The truth is God HAS given us spiritual weapons like worship, prayer, the word of God, faith, truth, authority, the Holy Spirit and salvation for this battle of our minds. He is able to heal us and restore us. We have an identity in Christ once we become believers that we need to remind ourselves of so that we can refute the lies of the enemy. The Bible tells us this battle is a spiritual battle so just working on strategies alone isn't going to give us victory in that battle. I believe we also need to actively use these weapons and the power of the Word.

God has also wired our brains and bodies to respond in specific ways to danger, fear and stress. When we are in chronic stress or clinical anxiety, those responses can keep us from getting ourselves out of fight or flight on a physical level and make it difficult for us to go to God.

Sometimes we need to address our physical symptoms and our negative thoughts in ways that allow us the space to be able to use the spiritual weapons that God has given us and get deep healing.

I have seen clients and family members struggle with the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders and mental health and have seen how vitamin deficiencies (like B12 and folate for example), diet, hormone imbalances and health issues can impact the brain. When those things are brought back into balance through traditional or natural methods, I have seen clients and family members improve their ability to think clearly and then be able to spend time with God and in his truth.

Even when we are spending time in the truth of the Word of God, there still may be lies or negative thoughts in our minds that need to be transformed. Learning intentional strategies to retrain our brains to respond differently to triggers can be so helpful in getting our focus back on God's truth more quickly. There are helpful strategies from psychology and the study of the mind that can help Christians create new patterns and get the freedom God wants us to have.

We are emotional beings. We see in the Bible how Jesus had emotions and sometimes we need to learn how to respond to those emotions in different ways so we can realign ourselves with God. Some of us have had trauma and significant events in our lives that have impacted the way we respond to emotions, to others and to God. In counseling and with practice we can recognize those things that do not line up with scripture or who God has created us to be and ask God for the help and strength to change those patterns and be renewed.

Trusting God is a process. Just like in any other relationship, trust is developed over time and based on our experiences and communication with that person. In the same way we develop our ability to trust God more by spending time with him, in his word and learning about his character. When we learn more and more that He is who He says He is, we develop our ability to trust him with our thoughts, emotions and journey of getting freedom from anxiety.

If you are looking for Christian help with anxiety I want to encourage you that you can seek counseling AND use the weapons God has given us. You can develop the ability to trust Him more AND use specific strategies to reduce anxiety.

Instead of just looking at one area, if we need to look at our Spiritual, physical, mental and emotional responses all together. To evaluate all 4 of those areas and develop skills and get concrete help when we need it.

You don't have to feel like you are not praying "enough" or saying "enough" scriptures. God is definitely a healing God who can heal you instantly and the Word of God is powerful. I have experienced that myself. But He is also loving, patient and wants you to have freedom from fear. It's a process and you can learn skills along the way so you can run to Him more quickly and stand on His promises.

I have seen this in my life, in the lives of family and in clients I had the honor of working with.

God wants to help you in this process. He is with you and you can get freedom from anxiety.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

If you are looking for practical resources here are two I have developed:

I developed my Face Fear & Find Freedom course to help Christians get freedom from anxiety looking at all four areas- spirit, body, mind and emotions. It's composed of short video lessons, optional worksheets, resources and action steps you can take in all four areas. I'm super passionate about helping Christians get practical help and God lead me to create this tool.

You can learn more here.

If you want my free guide with and worksheet, "10 Bible Verses for Christians with Anxiety & How to Use them to Stop Negative Thought Spirals", you can grab that here. It has 10 Bible verses to help you with fear, a sheet of tips on how to use these verses and a worksheet to help you take the truth from these Bible verses and create positive replacement thoughts.

It is a challenge getting the right help when you are a Christian struggling with anxiety and fear but He will give you and there are a lot of resources to help you transform your mind. The word says "Be transformed..." so it is possible!

Reach out to others to get help in your process. If you are really struggling with negative or harmful thoughts contact 911, your doctor, a counseling office or medical professional to get the help you need. You don't have to stay stuck. You are not alone.


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