Friday, March 03, 2017

Fear and Anxiety

Fear and anxiety come to us in many forms.  It can come as a result of earlier experiences that trigger a reaction in us, warranted or not, that almost paralyses us.

It can come from a life event -- such as being experienced by some friends of mine whose son, who just lived through his 14th birthday unconscious, is lying somewhere between life and death very sick with an infection.   For two weeks now they have sat in the hospital begging God to spare their son's life.   They have kept Facebook updated with such real, gut-wrenching posts about the fear that creeps up on them that they have to pray through.  Thousands of people are praying for him and he is making slow progress, but there have been some dark days.

Fear and anxiety can come from our subconscious.   This past week I have had two very vivid dreams about two experiences I had in the last year that were some of the most horrible things I've ever gone through.  I relived them in my dreams and woke up very anxious.

Being afraid is not a sin.  Being anxious is not a moral evil.  Some personalities are more prone to it and others have legitimate brain chemistry challenges.     So if you feel guilty when you experience fear or anxiety, let yourself off the hook.

When I am feeling anxious or afraid, I try to do these things:

1)  Regulate myself.   Breathe deeply, go for a walk, change what I'm doing physically (if I'm seated, stand, if I'm standing sit) to combat the physical things happening in my body.

2)  Think about what I'm grateful for to combat the cortisol.

3)  Think of times in Scripture where fear showed up and it was taken care of.  Jesus calmed the sea, and thus calmed his disciples.  Angels, when they showed up and scared people senseless with their presence, said 'Fear Not."  In fact, over 100 times the words "Fear Not" appear in Scripture.

4)  If all else fails, I remind myself that this is a season -- that God has gotten me through things in the past, and He will get me through this.  I just have to walk through it.  I remind myself that God is, as he told Joshua in Joshua 1:9, with me, wherever I go.    Pray, give it to God, and wait for the peace to come.

After all, God promised us this in Isaiah 43:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;    I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters,    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,    they will not sweep over you.When you walk through the fire,    you will not be burned;    the flames will not set you ablaze.For I am the Lord your God,    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

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