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Jesus and Anxiety: faith and struggle are not mutually exclusive

I love Jesus.

And I also struggle. I am no stranger to fear and worry and anxiety. For years I was told things like “just trust God more” and “worry is a sin” and “you should pray more”.  And yet despite a love for the Lord that resonates to the core of who I am, I couldn’t ever seem to completely will away the fear or the worry.

And for years I thought I was doing it wrong.  I thought maybe I was just not a “good Christian” or wasn’t trying hard enough.  I wondered how I could believe all the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord to be true, and yet still experience the struggle. 

As a Licensed Counselor who also loves the Lord, I have learned some things about anxiety and faith.  The truth is, you and I can love Jesus and struggle all at the same time.

Is Anxiety Real?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

*Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

*Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

*People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.

*Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

The bottom line to this is that anxiety as a mental health diagnosis is a reality.  Anxiety as an outcome of our struggles is real.  Fear is valid and real.  To diminish anxiety down to being only a sin discounts the very real, unchosen mental health concern that many experiences.  As a Christian, it is important to embrace treatment for mental health the same as we would any other sickness.

 

How can I apply my faith to my anxiety?

Recently a friend and I were talking about faith in the midst of hard things.  In the conversation, we both acknowledged ways that God had worked in our lives not in spite of hard circumstances, but because of it.  In the conversation, we both agreed that in the struggle with fear and anxiety, God had given each of us a deeper need for Him.

God desires us to walk in freedom, but there is no cookie-cutter way to get there.  Will God heal us supernaturally? Will He use friends, Biblical counselors, intercessory prayer, or medication? God has been known to heal all of these ways and sometimes it’s a combination.

If anxiety impacts your life, I would encourage you to get treatment!  If you are interested in getting help with navigating your anxiety and your faith, give us a call at 832-421-8714 to set up an appointment.

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Kristin King

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