Monday, June 20, 2011

My Struggles & The Gospel's Remedies

I want to share something I have not told a lot of people. I struggle with anxiety. Different times and seasons bring differing levels of intensity, but it has been a continuous part of my life for the last 6+ years. It started soon after my son Kaleb had been through a lot of medical issues after birth. I think trying to be strong for the family without ever letting my own guard down took a toll on me emotionally. Out of the blue one day I had a major anxiety attack and thought I was having a heart-attack. I have struggled with anxiety in some shape or form ever since.

The reason I am writing about this today is because I want to show how the gospel of Jesus Christ is sufficient for dealing with anxiety or any other issue. We pigeon-hole the gospel as a "get out of hell free message," when in reality, the gospel is an all-consuming, life-transforming message in every area of our lives. The first several years I struggled with anxiety I did not realize this. I did not seek the gospel promises as my hope through times of anxiety, instead I looked to my own mental strategies to cope with it. I have never been on medicine for it (not that I am against that) because I have grown to realize that medicine cannot be my Christ. Either Jesus is enough through my anxiety or he is not. I do not want medicine to be my idol, the thing I run to to give me peace, contentment, self-control, comfort, and hope - the very things Jesus has promised to be for me.

Ways my anxiety and anxiety attacks have served in my sanctification process:

1. This body will one day be deceased. I am weak and fragile, despite how often my mind wants to think I am invincible. My body is broken and in need of ultimate redemption. In Christ I have a promise that it will be, in this my hope is secured.

2. My theology of who God is and His care for His children is put into action. When I am feeling anxiety rushing in and my heart-rate rising, I begin to quote Scriptures that remind me, "his grace is sufficient...his power is made perfect in weakness...he will not leave nor forsake me...I do not suffer alone." My faith in God's Word and His promises is put to the test when my flesh is seeking another relief from the anxiety. Instead of turning to something other than Christ, I throw myself at his feet and beg his grace and mercy over me. In him I am comforted.

3. People face things everyday that go unnoticed and undetected by others. Most of you probably did not know that I struggle with anxiety. How many people do we walk by and work beside everyday that have serious struggles and issues that we are unaware of? We have a gospel that speaks to the struggles of life, not just the problem of hell. We have a God who is more than enough for our struggles, not just enough to save us. Ask the Lord to help you to be more sensitive to those around you. Pray that He would give you the ability to speak the promises of His Word to them and minister to them.

Questions: What struggles do you have that need to be submitted to the gospel's promises? Do you find yourself turning to remedies other than Christ during your difficult times? Do you think taking medicine for issues like mine is wrong? Why or Why not? What can you do today to better trust Christ through all circumstances you may face or experience? 

Tomorrow I will share more about lessons I have learned as I have dealt with this issue.

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1 comment:

  1. Great advice Brother Eric. Advice we need to remember in many of our difficult times. Thanks for sharing.