When your Christian walk is more of a limp

When your Christian walk is more of a limp

I hope you don’t think I’m running like the wind and leaping over life’s obstacles in a single bound. When your Christian walk is more of a limp, you may think someone else’s walk is easy or successful, you are wrong. We’re all in this struggle together.

WRECKED

I heard the pop when my lower right leg twisted West and my body went South. Chunks of snow burned my face as I sat on the slope amidst what looked like a yard sale of skis and poles. Not realizing I was hurt, everyone sped downhill except my daughter who helped me up. I snugged my ankle against my other leg and skied down the mountain, grimacing all the way. Three incisions and six weeks of physical therapy later, I was back to “normal.” Except not.

Prov 4:12,” When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble.” NKJV

Immobility weakened my quadriceps and despite the therapy, I had a long way to go. So I went to the gym. A personal trainer worked with me through pain and sweat to strengthen my legs. When I went skiing the following year, I was stronger than ever. You see, that’s how it works. Exercising weak muscles makes them stronger. Exercising weak faith makes it stronger too.

I was tempted to avoid the pain, give up and sit in a chair. I certainly had a valid excuse. But training and effort got me back on track so it was worth it.

How strong are you?

Whether I’ve shared advice on forgiveness, anxiety or joy, you may have gotten the impression I have it all figured out. If so, then I owe you an apology. For full disclosure you need to know, my advice is tested and proven only in my own life. No doubt my life is a living example of overcoming adversity, so at least I’ll take a little credit for knowing what I’m talking about.

Psalm 119:45, “I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.” NLT

Formulas don’t work

There is no formula for walking in victory. Nothing could be farther from the truth and rarely does anything work the first time you try it.

Follow my advice on FORGIVENESS – it won’t work

Implement my recommendations for dealing with and ANXIETY – you’ll still be tied up in a ball of knots.

Choose JOY – I seriously doubt you will find it.

So what gives?

REPETITION

Practice makes perfect, better yet, perfect practice makes perfect. Open your Bible and nothing changed in your life? Open it again. Prayed the same prayer over and over with no visible results? Do it again. Still believing when evidence says don’t? Keep the faith, keep walking, even if it looks more like a limp.

Psalm 128:1, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!” ESV

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

Consider every failure an opportunity to try again #perservere #endure Click To Tweet
 Never quit

That’s the secret. When your walk is more of a limp, hang in there. Keep on keeping on, it’s the only way to walk in victory.

Psalm 119:1, “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions. ” MSG

Do you need a prescription for anxiety? Part 6

Treating Christians for anxietyTreating anxiety in Christians

Anx-i-et-y. Is it a sin, a medical disorder or a character flaw? How should Christians treat anxiety? All I know is anxiety is an unwelcome tormentor of epic and epidemic proportions and believers are not immune. If you are a Christian, somebody, somewhere, who doesn’t have a clue, told you to go to church, pray and read your Bible then Jesus will wave a magic wand and your anxiety will go poof into thin air.

Oh sweet friend I wish it were that simple.

Are Christians immune to anxiety?

Have a seat in exam room 1, the doctor will be with you shortly. Did you get your vaccination against anxiety and depression when you became a Christian? Huh? First of all, Christians aren’t immune to anything. Second, whoever says life gets easier when you follow Christ ought to read their Bible because that’s not what Jesus said.

The doctor is in

Treating anxiety is like sitting on a three-legged stool; remove a leg and you’re splattered on the floor. The first leg is the spiritual aspect, the second is emotional and the third is the physical component

SPIRITUAL

We’ve already covered this leg in the IntroPart 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 and Part 5. If you would rather listen, there is also the podcast.

Philippians 4:6, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.” MSG

EMOTIONAL

I saw a counselor. Okay there, I said it. If you’re older than me, you’re probably worried I’m having serious mental issues. Those of you my age may believe it’s fine if that’s what I think need to do, but I shouldn’t tell it. Yeah, I don’t disagree. If you are younger than me, you think it’s about time.

Each session she asks my goals for counseling. Honestly, I just want a safe place to vent my feelings, assess my coping skills and keep my emotions in check. Weaning off steroids combined with menopause, a life-altering diagnosis and the fallout of living on this broken planet made me think it was a good idea to get a little feedback.

She tucks her legs underneath her and keeps a lap blanket handy. I’m overly conscious about my eyes because she studies them while she sucks from the red straw protruding from her Sonic cup. I guess she thinks I’m coping because she never schedules a follow-up appointment, but I go back anyway. I like her; we could be friends. Her voice is soothing and relaxed and she nonchalantly told me, “I think you are a reactor.”

Ya think?    Like nuclear.    On steroids.    Literally.

She taught me I don’t have to say everything I’m thinking. Seriously, I had no idea words could stay put in my head because I thought every emotion had to escape in the form of words. Now, I walk around smiling at all the stuff I didn’t say.

Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.” NKJV

Considered perceptive?

Maybe, maybe not, but talking helps me process my feelings. Writing is better because I can harness the emotion and edit the expression, though sometimes I have to wrestle my words to the ground. When I say what I believe out loud, the words out of my head come back to my ears as good advice. So  how much do I owe you? You’re cheap therapy for me.

I believe, therefore I speak #NotAnxious Click To Tweet

If you have past or present circumstances and need help sorting through issues, then see a counselor. Don’t hesitate to talk to someone you trust: a friend, a pastor, a doctor or a psychologist.

Proverbs 19:20, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction so that you may be wise later in life.” HCSB

PHYSICAL

Our brains are literally electricity and chemistry in delicate balance. Neurotransmitter deficiencies result in anxiety and depression. The cause may be situational, genetic or unexplainable. It’s science, not theology. Depression and anxiety plague Christians whose spiritual walks are on target even when life is smooth as a pond on a still day. Since joy is a fruit of the spirit, these symptoms often cause guilt. The good news is that a pure chemical imbalance usually responds quickly to non-addictive medications. By contrast, a life in shambles cannot be cured with any medication. Remember the stool needs three legs to stand.

The Bible gives us a clear example of using medication for healing, which applies to hypertension, diabetes, anxiety or any illness. Read the whole chapter for the back story, but the fig poultice was medicinal and cured Hezekiah’s deadly diagnosis.

2 Kings 20:7, “Then Isaiah said, ‘Prepare a poultice of figs.’ They did so and applied it to the boil and he recovered.” NIV

Could you please pass the fig poultice?

The cure for anxiety is not a single dose. The deeper the rut, the longer it takes to get out. We literally have to reprogram our brains, the sooner the better.

Anxiety is new to me, but then again my life unraveled. Upside down I could handle, but shredded is more of a challenge. I know the same God who saw me through my physical weakness will see me through my present darkness.

Overcoming #anxiety Click To Tweet

Thanks for following this series on anxiety. I’d like to end by recommending a book, you know, I’m an advice pusher. Here’s a description from the author of Fear Fighters by Kelly Balarie,

I morphed from a fanatical ball of anxiety to a furious fighter of fear

Order Fear Fighting here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you need a prescription for anxiety? Part 5

Maybe you need a new perspectiveMAYBE YOU NEED A NEW PERSPECTIVE

Maybe you need a prescription for anxiety, maybe you need a new perspective.

Fretting. There’s no other word for my obsessive thoughts. Asking myself questions like what I am going to do, where is my life going and how does it all turns out? I hate the unknown because I like to be in control. But I’m not. Trying to figure out all the answers and manipulate everyone to the desired end wears me smooth out. I act like I’ve got a few suggestions for God just in case He hasn’t thought of my idea. Anybody know what I’m talking about? Do you stew until your problems reach panic level? Stare unblinking at your worries under a microscope and even small concerns appear daunting. Don’t torment yourself and magnify your stress.

2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.”  NLT

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

1. Buy a journal, it’s a cheap psychiatrist

CASTING CARES

Let cares flow from your mind through the ink in your pen. Don’t worry about writing prose, simply make a list of your concerns and get them out of your head and onto paper. Leave them on the page and resist the temptation to pick them back up. Present your cares at your Heavenly Father’s feet, then walk away.

Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” NIV

RECORD HIS FAITHFULNESS

Find a verse to address your specific issue, write a prayer over your trouble and note the date. Faith and trust grow over time as you see His faithfulness in every situation. Sort your feelings and empty your mind of recurrent thoughts before you go to bed. Write it down, then cast it down.

1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.” HCSB

2. Give it time

A dime blocks the light of the sun if it covers the pupil. I know it’s hard to see past the moment, believe me, I know. Trusting God comes easy for me, but waiting, well that’s another matter entirely. Eagles have exceptional visual acuity which allow it to see from a distant perspective. A little distance from my issues changed my perspective then my anxiety melted. I’ve come a long way in the last couple of years, but my strength didn’t come overnight. In fact, in the beginning, I nearly fainted from exhaustion.

Isaiah 40:31, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” ESV

3. The big picture

In the moment, we see the moment and forget it’s just a moment. Remember, this too shall pass.

Whatever you’re going through will one day just be a sentence. A single sentence. Right now it may be consuming your life. But one day it will just be a sentence.
For me it’s: “I was married previously.”
Even though that was a four to five year fallout in my life…. Today it’s just a sentence.

~ These wise words are from Rachel Dawn’s new book, “Now What?” If you’d like to learn more, listen here to my podcast interview.

4. Try to laugh, it really is the best medicine

I know, it’s not funny. Really. But run, skip, exercise, smile and laugh anyway. Come on, try it. I did and it works.

ALL CHOKED UP

We reminisced about our lowest lows over cheese dip and before long we choked on corn chips laughing at the absurdities of our adversities. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t funny. Not funny at all. But time gave us perspective to laugh at the valleys because we survived. We lived to tell of God’s goodness even in our darkest moments. God never fails to bless us and show us joy even in suffering, actually especially during suffering.

Psalm 30:5, “The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.” MSG

5. Help someone

Nothing brings more misery than focusing on your own needs because it guarantees they will never be met by others. But when you spend yourself on someone else, you find distraction from your anxiety, like the day I found a “Moment of Grace.” The eagle’s view changes our perspective as we see God work in mysterious ways and with unlikely people to bring about His ultimate will. What if the fire I’m walking through isn’t only about me? Wonder if that could be true for you as well?

Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” NIV

Next week I’m going to wrap up this series on anxiety by putting on my doctor hat and addressing the medical treatment of anxiety in Christians. I hope you receive my posts by email, if not enter your address in the little green box that pops up over the words just when you are trying to read. Sorry about that.

Do You Need A Prescription for anxiety? Part 4

prescriptions-foranxiety

A breakthrough in controlling anxiety

The pillow must activate the cotton candy machine in my head. All day long I control my feelings, then I lie down and my thoughts swirl around the edges of my mind, collecting more junk with every revolution. It grows into big, sticky mess.

STOP IT!

My own voice in the dark interrupted my obsessions and startled me as much as the sleeping dog nearby. Way too much real estate in my brain is occupied by these ruminations and I’m sick of it and sick from it.

Stop it now

Controlling #anxiety requires controlling thoughts Click To Tweet

This habit is my focus and it has to stop because it’s not worthy of my attention which rightfully belongs to God.

Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.” ESV

BREAKTHROUGH

Lying under the covers, I made a commitment to put away my worry. For a moment I hesitated and narrowed the eyes of my mind to stare at it one last time before I put it in a box and slammed the lid. Allowing the latch to fall into place, I slid the lock through the eye and snapped it tight. I put it out of my mind. Oh, of course I tip-toed back to the box several times and mentally fingered the lock before the Holy Spirit nudged my hand away.

Stop it. Why would I want to go back there?

I should never let my mind wander, it falls into a cavernous rut and doesn’t come back. It’s enough to make me feel like I’ve totally lost it and need a search party.

Psalm 139:23, “Search me, God, and know my anxious heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” NIV

Giving up the self-talk, I turned to God.

Search me  ~ He did

Know my anxious heart  ~ He does

Test me  ~ He will

Know my anxious thoughts  ~ Here we go again

Seriously, this has to stop.

Psalm 139:24, “See if there is any offensive way and lead me in the way everlasting.” NIV

See there’s the problem; I like to lead, not follow.

My thoughts need to follow His thoughts, but they are so unlike mine. His ways aren’t like mine either or none of this would be happening. What does that even mean, follow His thoughts? Trust. Trust He is leading me to good places, put on my faith eyes and quit walking by sight. His word is a light for the next right step, so take it.

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen to God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go…” MSG

THE LIGHT IS BACK ON

For the first time in a while, I’m smiling again. Not only that, I’ve laughed so hard I could barely sit up. I wish I could tell you I’m totally free from traveling down that mental dead end road. Maybe someday. My breakthrough came when I put my thoughts in reverse and backed out of this quagmire. No one promised it would be easy, but the effort is worth it, because I’m getting there and you can too.

Lamentations 3:40, “Let us search out and examine our ways and turn back to the Lord.” HCSB

You can read the previous posts in this series: Intro, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. If these prescriptions for anxiety have helped you, share with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you need a prescription for anxiety? Part 3

prescriptions-foranxiety

Anxiety crowds out peace.

Circumstances, real and imagined, disconnect us from the Prince of Peace. Jesus deserves our attention, reverence and whole-hearted adoration. We need to return to worship.

Ever notice we often skip what we need most?

I quit going to church. Probably not a good idea, but for a season I stayed home on Sunday mornings. Don’t judge me; you can ask me about it later. Now, I am attending a new class with some unfamiliar faces and I don’t sit in my “normal spot” with my usual people in the sanctuary. After twenty years of active membership, I’m tempted to fill out a visitor registration card. Maybe it’s just me, after all, I am different. Now I’m one of those women, you know those women, who cry through the whole service.

The salty waterfall on my face isn’t sadness, God already bottled those tears for me.

Psalm 56:8, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” NLT

The cascade is uncontained emotion, which if you know me, is radically different. It’s an overflow of pure adoration.

John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” NKJV

I swipe the trickles sneaking off my chin and down my neck, but otherwise, I let them flow.

Luke 7:38, “As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” NIV

Prescription for anxiety

Rx: Worship

Fortunately, I wrote hundreds of prescriptions for anxiety for others before it unloaded full-force into the middle of my own chest. If you missed any of the posts in this series on anxiety click:  Intro, Part 1, Part 2

WHAT IS WORSHIP?

Technically worship is adoration. Practically it is so much more. For sure it’s not just a designated portion of church service. Thanks to my Facebook followers who helped me describe worship.

Is worship MUSIC?

Ever get a song stuck in your head? Music is a perfect filler for the brain rut that grows deeper with each anxious thought. A melody is a far better place to get stuck than the quicksand of anxiety. Clearly music is part of worship and an effective anecdote for anxiety. Tune into K-Love or download uplifting music on your phone.

Ephesians 5:20, “Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.” MSG

Is worship PRAYER?

Lately I’ve prayed ugly prayers, not irreverent, just gut-level honest ones, but some prayers worsen anxiety. Yes, you heard me, prayer can actually feed anxiety and fear. Tell me if this sounds familiar:

Dear Lord, please take away my anxiety. Help me not to worry about _____. My fears, my anxieties, my worries, my frustration, my problems., my, my, my

Prayers focused on me and my problems spotlight me and my problems. Instead of praying about our worries, what if we were captivated by the only One worthy of our attention? In my book on forgiveness, I call it praise therapy.

Psalm 150:2, “Praise him for his mighty acts. Praise him according to his excellent greatness.” ASV

Is worship PRAISE?

Waiting on biopsy results last year, I let the “what ifs” drive me crazy. I prayed for peace about the possible cancer, but still couldn’t sleep. Setting my burden on the front row of my mind all day and through the long nights consumed me with worry. Memorizing and quoting Psalms built faith in my awesome God instead of my concerns. Speaking the names of God out loud, I discovered the refueling power of worship to survive the wait. Finally, I got to know the Lord as a Rock and I learned to breathe.

You will never know God as a Rock, until you need a rock #SolidRock Click To Tweet

Psalm 18:2, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” HCSB

Worship is LOVE.

No matter what difficulty you are going through, God is in control. Camp in His perfect love while you weather the storms of life that produce anxiety.

Psalm 90:1, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.” ESV

Come let us adore Him!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on worship.

 

Do you need a prescription for anxiety? Part 2

prescriptions-foranxiety

 

 

Have you been acquainted with anxiety for years? We were recently introduced and I wish we had never met.

I’m learning that if you don’t control anxiety, anxiety will control you.

 

THE FIRST KEY TO OVERCOMING ANXIETY IS TO MAKE A CHOICE

Control #anxiety before it controls you Click To Tweet

Am I okay?

The alarm clock in my chest wakes me at 4 a.m. every morning. My heart rate spikes and I gasp like a guppy out of water for 3 or 4 seconds until I reach enough consciousness to remember why.

My life is no longer upside down; it’s inside out with my guts on the floor.

And no, I’m not okay.

I’ve slipped into an unfamiliar mire of negativity; my stomach is in knots, I thrash through nightmares and lie awake hours before dawn.

Well hello there stranger. So this is anxiety? Why don’t you go back where you came from?

Make it stop. I just want to sit in the middle of it all and cry until my eyes are swollen shut. Then maybe when l open them all of this was a nightmare and time has been turned back to the days when my life followed the script.

Will I be okay?

Right now, no. No, the future I’m facing is worse than my incurable diagnosis. It’s hard knowing the cure is available, yet optional. It’s a bitter pill to swallow and I’m not the one with the capacity to reach out and gulp it.

In case you don’t already know, I write talk to myself.

Dear Self,

God is already there in your tomorrow. He is always faithful. You can trust Him with your life, your family, your health, your eternity and your present. He is the same yesterday, today and forever



.

Jesus is the same. Anyone besides me need a little same?

Hebrews 13: 8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” NKJV

Is anxiety optional?

I may not be okay today and tomorrow is way off track, but my eternity is secure and life is short. So I choose to be okay. The sooner I choose it, the easier it will be to get unstuck from this deepening mud hole.

Choose to be okay from day one because the way out is shorter. Make a decision now. Turn from sin, despair, depression or anxiety. Choose it before you read the next sentence. But you have to be ready to change. What is your choice?

John 5:8, “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?'” NIV

Do you want to get well?

If you’re stuck knee-deep in a rut of anxious thoughts then choose to stop. Stop the habit of overflowing thoughts which swirl until they spill out as sweat, tears or regrettable words. Quit flooring the accelerator and activating the same destructive path. If you want to get well cry out to God and ask Him to bring the tools.

2 Corinthians 10:5-6, “We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.” MSG

I believe freedom is possible and trust me, I need it more than anyone. I’m not sure how long this series will last but I’ll keep clawing at the door until it opens. Click here if you missed the introduction to “Prescriptions for Anxiety.” Be sure and enter your email address for the next step in our journey to freedom. Spread the word and let’s do this together.

By the way, I really am okay now, but this is how I got here and I want to you know it wasn’t easy. I want you to see; I know what I’m talking about. It works, I’m living proof.

 

Prescription for anxiety: Part 1

Do you need a prescription for anxiety?

prescriptions-foranxiety

I spent 20 years sitting on a rolling stool dispensing advice. Women confided their deepest struggles, frustrations and fears. I quoted scripture and recommended remedies for anxiety. When my life turned upside down my own words mocked me. Did I really trust a sovereign God who would take away a career I loved and all my active hobbies with a debilitating neuromuscular disease? The answer was absolutely, “Yes!” Scriptures stored in my head and heart carried me through what I thought was the most difficult time in my life. Well, turns out that was a cake walk. Then my life unraveled at the very seams. Now I am living in survival mode.

Isaiah 54:10, “Though the mountains move and the hills shake, My love will not be removed from you and My covenant of peace will not be shaken.” HCSB

INVISIBLE WAR

Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Anxiety is an invisible war waged inside your head. I know the keys to finding peace; I’ve handed them out for years from my smug little perch on the stool. Now I’m having to stick those keys in the locks to see if they really open the doors to freedom.They aren’t easy-to-turn locks, no, more like those you have to jimmy and jiggle.

Proverbs 12:25, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” NIV

EFFICACY

All those recommendations I made; now I’m the one who needs them. Do they work?  Yeah…but doing them? Well that’s another story.  It’s a hard choice, especially when decided in the middle of a consuming trial. If you aren’t fighting any major battles right now I urge you to train. “In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus said. He also said, “Take heart, I have overcome the world.” You need an overcomer. You need to know Jesus. I suggest the best way to know His heart is to know His word. Get into Bible study, dig in deep and camp there, because let me tell you, life is hard.

1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” ESV

To know God's heart, know His word #HolyBible Click To Tweet

DECIDE NOW

The fighter pilot was securely strapped into his seat when the catapult flung him down the abbreviated runway of the aircraft carrier. The F-16 nose-dived off the end of the ship, plunged into the ocean and sank within a few seconds. His shipmates stood wide-eyed as they realized the pilot safely ejected. Later, they crowded around and wanted to know, “When did you decide to eject?” His answer, “About 10 years ago. I decided if I passed a certain point and my engine didn’t start, I was out of there.” We would be wise to do the same. Decide now what you will do before you cross a certain line. Then if you get to that point, pull the lever and get out of there before you crash. We all need a plan in place before we are faced with dire circumstances. Decide now to prepare yourself, then when your life falls apart you won’t.

Ephesians 6;10-11, “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.” MSG

Decide now to prepare yourself, then when life falls apart, you won't #beprepared Click To Tweet

THE LONGER YOU STAY IN A RUT, THE DEEPER IT GETS

Lately I’ve worn a rut in my brain. Thinking the same thoughts over and over again, it gets easier to go down the same path. The problem is, then I wind up at the same destination and it’s not where I want to be – fixated on my problems, frustrated at my powerlessness and knotted up with worry and anxiety. I can’t breathe; I can’t eat and my heart pounding against the mattress wakes me hours before daylight. My mental tires spin futilely trying to gain traction but instead I’m just slinging mud. Call me a tow truck, please! I’ve got to get out of this rut because it’s quickly becoming a stronghold. You see, the deeper I dig the rut, the harder it is to get out.

Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” NKJV

When I recently spoke to a group of college students on anxiety, I noticed some of them taking notes. So I decided to share my thoughts on “My Journey of Faith Radio” podcast. If you’ve got the time listen here. Otherwise, I will share my remedies here for the next few weeks. If you need a tow truck to pull you out of your anxiety, make sure you get my posts by email. Enter your address in the box that pops up. Feel free to share with a friend or on social media. We need all the help we can get.

 

 

 

You need to know what’s happening on college campuses

From behind I felt the hand on my shoulder. Cutting my eyes I saw it was big as a dinner plate and darker than molasses. In a low voice, he started speaking and I closed my eyelids. Without looking, I sensed he towered over me. When I turned and opened my eyes, I recognized my brother. I never met him before, but I knew, because I heard him talk to our Father.

fighting-fear-anxiety-and-frustration

I’m usually not a night owl

Two o’clock in the morning isn’t familiar like it was when I delivered babies. But my long flight followed by the drive home from the airport kept me out late.

I still keep an unreasonable schedule

Though I flew 1,356 miles and spent hours in the airport, I agreed to speak to a group of college students the same evening. They asked me to speak on anxiety, fear and frustration. Though I’ve doled out a lot of advice on the subject over the years, I’ve never personally experienced continual palms sweating, heart racing and thoughts wearing a rut in my brain. Until now. On one hand I figured they needed someone else to speak. You know, someone who had conquered the jolting-out-of-sleep panic. Living in survival mode, it was all I could do to show up, much less stand and speak. And I told them so. Turns out, people want to hear from someone who’s been there or in my case is there. I guess a field trip makes your more of an expert than hearing a classroom lecture.

God prepared when I didn’t

Honestly, I wasn’t as prepared as I normally am, but God prepared the way. Thinking through my outline, I didn’t hear the first song the praise band performed, but my ears perked up, my soul was pricked and my eyes leaked when I heard the second song. It’s one of my favorites. Listen to the words here.

Afflictions eclipsed by  glory

Passion

I stood in front of a group of college students and told them the raw truth. Fighting anxiety isn’t easy. I wasn’t prepared physically, emotionally or spiritually, but the Holy Spirit was present in such a real way, the words flowed. When I noticed some of them taking notes, I thought I would share my thoughts with you. Take half an hour while driving or cooking or getting ready in the morning to listen to a conversational version of the keys to overcoming anxiety. Click below to listen to my podcast on “My Journey of Faith Radio.“.

RX:  PRESCRIPTIONS FOR ANXIETY

Do you need a prescription for #anxiety? Click To Tweet

College Students

There is hope in this generation. They are seeking the Lord. Phoniness is unacceptable to millennials; they want to know how to flesh out their walk with Christ. No pretending, no games, just real problems and authentic faith. I was honest and they knew I was facing challenges in my own life. After I sat down, one of the students came to pray over me. He talked to God in such a personal way, I felt like he literally carried me before the throne. He was certainly big enough. By outward appearances we didn’t have much in common, but we serve the same God and he’s my brother. I know because I heard him talk to our Father.

I hope you will join me for a series on opening the door to freedom from anxiety. As always, I write to myself but I would love to have along for the journey. If you are ever encouraged by my posts, feel free to share. If you don’t receive weekly emails, enter your address in the annoying pop-up box.

If B is for biopsy, what is C is for?

B is for biopsy

I wasn’t nervous until it had me surrounded. The C word confronted me first in the parking deck. The arrow pointed this way to the cancer center. I felt a pit in my stomach. I shouldn’t be here. The word showed up again when I walked through the front door. I was tempted to feel pity for the others who were there until I saw joy in many of their eyes. Yet, I didn’t feel I belonged, like a petite woman shopping in the plus-size department. I passed by the infusion center where do-rags were the fashion. Okay, now I was starting to get nervous.

2 Corinthians 4:13, “It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.'” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak.”NIV

Breathe in God is good

Breathe out Thy will be done

ALONE

I went alone, which was my choice. Sometimes it gets old being the UMCA (Universal Medical Center of Attention). I didn’t tell my family because I didn’t want them to worry if it ended up being nothing. Sorry. I had plenty of company in the room; two doctors and a nurse. The young doctor was still training and had her first baby eight weeks ago so we talked about new life while she held pressure on the biopsy site for ten solid minutes. The other doctor is a friend, she patted my hand and promised to personally call as soon as results were available. Emotionally I never felt more alone. I really should have told my mother.

Philippians 4:9, “Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” HCSB

Breathe in God is good

Breathe out Thy will be done

FOCUS

I’ve dodged this same bullet once before. After three agonizing weeks and literally memorizing and reciting Psalm 91 to get through the nights, the pathology report was benign. Now back in the same spot, I was awake, afraid and alone. The surgical light directly over my face was turned off so the suspicious black and white image on the screen was more visible. Lying on the table being prepped for the biopsy, I noticed a Phillips screw in the center of the light, but on the periphery the screws were  flat head. I noted the hexagonal pattern in the plexiglass covering. Anything to occupy my mind.

Psalm 91:2, “I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'” ESV

Breathe in God is good

Breathe out Thy will be done

I NEED AIR

When the phone rang, the dog barked and for a moment I couldn’t breathe. I regret the secrecy. I need my family. I need my friends. There is much value in the support of the community of believers. Suddenly I realized the prayer coverage I had forfeited. I need my Christian brothers and sisters. I  need you.

Ephesians 1:15-16, “That’s  why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you-every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks.” MSG

Breathe in God is good

Breathe out Thy will be done

C IS FOR…

C is for Christmas because we all need HOPE.

Despite their diagnosis, I’m sure saw it in the faces of the cancer patients.

C is for community because we need EACH OTHER.

Whatever you are facing, don’t do it alone.

C is for cancer sometimes because we live in a FALLEN WORLD.

Lord, be with all those affected by this disease.

C is for all CLEAR this time.

 Praise the Lord!

And now B is for breathe

Breathe in God is good

Breathe out Thy will be done

God often forces me to follow my own advice. I found Prescriptions for Anxiety helpful during this stressful time. If you enter your email address under the prescription pad, I will send it to you as well as occasional newsletters. By the way, this won’t send blog posts to your inbox, you have to  join me on the porch for those.

Keep breathing my friends.

God is good indeed.

Do you want the good news or the bad news?

PANIC!

My response was visceral. My heart dropped into my gut. Six missed calls and five new voicemails in the span of twenty minutes, more than I usually have in a week. The missed call from my daughter and voicemail from my mother were not unusual. But four voicemails from my husband? To say that is highly unusual would be an understatement.

Psalm 112:7, “They will have no fear of bad news, their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” NIV

UNSTEADFAST

I knew he was in a meeting. My fingers trembled as I struggled to tap the play button. By the time I listened to the third extended blank message, it dawned on me. Last night, I misplaced my phone and asked him to call my number so I could locate it.  Four times he called, until I finally found it in the bedroom closet.

Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength, I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” MSG

FIRM GRIP

When I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis in my eyes, I knew it would likely generalize. Statistically, the chance ocular myasthenia will progress is eighty-five percent. I told my doctor it would be a devastating diagnosis for me. But this verse from Isaiah showed up everywhere, “DON’T PANIC.” I taped it to my bathroom mirror and guess what? I quit panicking. That is until six missed calls and four new voicemails appeared on my phone. But hey, I only panicked for a minute. I knew exactly what to do about it.

John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” HCSB

HERE IS THE BAD NEWS

The message very well could have been bad news.  In fact, it could have been devastating news. Tragedy is never more than one phone call away. But the Bible tells us not to panic. God never promises our lives won’t be turned upside down, in fact, the truth is He prepares us for inevitable trouble and suffering. His promise is to hold us steady and keep a firm grip on us.

Hebrews 13:5,”Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” NKJV

HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS

He won’t leave us. He won’t forsake us. Death, disease and discord are part of life on planet earth. None of us escape. But if we know Jesus, we never have to face our troubles alone. He promises to be with us. I can tell you from experience, His presence is worth everything. It has been my lifeline and I am not devastated by this disease. It is comforting to know:

God is already present in our tomorrow. He knows what the future brings. Click To Tweet

Isaiah 43:2-3,”When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God.” NASB

When, not if. Trials will come. He knows before they happen and we can be comforted by that.

I don’t know what is going to happen today or tomorrow and neither do you. But, it is pretty silly to get worked up about a few missed calls. I know whatever happens tomorrow, God is already there and He is never caught off guard.

Walk with Him before trials come. Plant His word deep in your heart, then you will have no need to fear bad news. His grip is firm.

If you tend to panic, memorize the verses in the post. Better yet, share your own.