Helping the Anxious

Recently I learned a sister in Christ has suffered some life events that resulted in her seeing a therapist. Her family members took her to a counselor and she has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and has panic attacks. She has also been told she is depressed. The recommendation was talk therapy with behavior modification and psychotropic medications to address her issues. As we talked about her situation and numerous diagnosis she revealed that she had lost hope of ever being “normal” again. She has been going to her therapist two times weekly for the past 6 months and sees no improvement.

I understand her counselor is well meaning and wants to help her client. I know she believes she is helping despite the reality that my friend is much worse now than she was previously. In spite of the pills, and the talk therapy, "getting it out", and talking about how she feels she has found no release from the torture that has become her life.

Sadly I have seen this before. Like so many other counselee’s who have been led in this direction for counseling she’s not found real answers, only more heartache and now hopelessness. Like the others, this woman is convinced that there is no real help or hope for her outside of a medication adjustment.

I am not against medication when a person is ill, and I have referred counselee’s for short term psychotropic medications because it was appropriate and necessary for their safety and stability as we sorted through their problems biblically. Those are very rare situations because most counselee’s are so excited to learn that there is help and hope for them apart from medications that they are ready to begin the hard work of change right away.

Some of the things I discussed with my friend were new to her. For one I challenged her to think biblically versus psychologically. She had to learn to redefine terminology and to think biblical thoughts about things in her everyday life. For someone who has been thinking from the disease and disorder angle this was at first very difficult for her. However, the more she practiced thinking biblically (Romans 12:2) the more she began to understand that if her problems were “diseases” or “disorders” or not was not really the issue. It was her response to the problems of life (diseases or disorders) that she needed to examine.

The more she became aware of her thought life and how her thoughts provoke those anxious feelings the more she desired to distance herself from them. She chose not to live as a slave to her former way of thinking that held her captive in life. In exchange, she has come to desire righteousness and holiness more than fulfilling the desires of the flesh.

She kept an Audio Thought Journal on her smartphone. Every time she was tempted to become anxious she recorded the thoughts, beliefs, and desires she was experiencing she talked through them as she recorded them on her phone. When she arrived home in the evening, she wrote them out so she could see on paper what thoughts were driving her anxiety. We went through them together and determined which ones were real and true (Phil. 4:8) and which ones were not. This proved to be pivotal in the counseling process.

What my friend has done is not easy, it is actually fairly demanding but it is worth it. If you decide to take the narrow path and truly deal biblically with your problems you too will experience freedom to be who He has created you to be. You will find that you will know Him and the power of His resurrection and you will come to understand is more important and worthwhile than analyzing yourself. You will see that the more you know Him, the more you will learn about who He has already created you to be. You will learn to live your position as a daughter of the King.

I want you to know that God is a Sovereign King. As hard as it is to grasp right now, God was completely aware of your circumstances, problems, heartaches, failures, sin, and every issue in your heart before the beginning of time. He knew what would happen to you in life and He allowed it anyway. This does not make God cruel or mean- He operates in ways that are beyond our understanding and He is always good! God does intend to use your problems for good, He does intend to bring you through the storm, and He does intend to glorify Himself in the midst of your tragedy. And the glory He intends to bring Himself will come as you become more like His Son, Jesus Christ.

I hope and pray someone will give you these truths, for there is HOPE!