SPIRITUALITY AND ANXIETY DISORDER
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This is my personal experience. I am not a doctor nor a psychologist.
I found myself laying on a hospital bed recently with shortness of breath. After finding nothing physically wrong with me, to my relief, I was sent home, though with the same symptoms. The possible diagnosis was anxiety.
Anxiety? I thought I had been doing a fairly good job of handling the stress in my life. I was surprised and perplexed, almost in denial. After all, I am a Christian. Had I not been practicing the teachings of Scripture related to trusting God and keeping my mind focused on verses like "cast all of your care upon the Lord" and "be anxious for nothing?"
Here is what I have learned through this emotional episode, which I hope may be of help to you, my readers, who may be experiencing similiar problems.
1. I can be citing Bible verses and say I trust God but still not be dumping my stressors.
2. We must learn to identify our stressors and dump those over which we have control, by changing the way we live and think. Psychology books provide lists of "stressors."
3. Do not spiritualize anxiety disorder. It is a very real emotional problem with physical symptoms that can creep up on you, by adding layer upon layer of stressors, over a long period of time.
4. We must apply the biblical principles of casting our cares upon the Lord. How does one do that?
Make a list of every single thing that you believe might be causing stress, including not only family, relational, and vocational issues, but things like time management, not saying "NO" to people and things, or even being a people pleaser. Go back over the list and dump the stressors you do not need over which you have control. The other ones cast on the Lord and put them under his care.
Here is something to think about. Is it possible that a contributing factor to stress can be a person having frustration over fulfilling his or her calling and not doing what he or she is designed to do by God? Hmm. Interesting question?
Anyway, I am now taking anxiety medication and am re-examining some things in my life and thinking. I plan to be off the meds in the near future, which are non-addictive, and restored to more stable emotional health. I plan to be around as long as possible to fulfill my ministry of sharing hope and healing with a hurting world.
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