Over the last year, the world has had to come up with a new normal due to the worldwide pandemic. For some of us, this has been one of the hardest years of our lives. Anxiety and depression have risen in the United States due to the pandemic. How do we as Christians handle these disorders when we are confronted with them? Where do anxiety and faith intersect?
Anxiety is a condition that should not be taken lightly. That being said, mental health and your relationship with God do not have to be at odds with each other. This blog will answer questions like “What causes anxiety?” and “How do you handle anxiety as a Christian?”What are people of faith supposed to do when they encounter anxiety disorders? Learn more about how anxiety and faith intertwine here. #ORBC #anxiety Click To Tweet
Anxiety the Feelings vs. Anxiety Disorders
Before diving into this subject deeper, it is important to make the distinction between experiencing worry or anxiety occasionally and suffering from an anxiety disorder. It is normal for people to feel anxiety when they are in high-stress situations.
When that fight or flight feeling becomes your regular state of mind, that is an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are a product of a broken world, not of the personal sins of the individual.
What Causes Anxiety?
The truth is we don’t know exactly where anxiety disorders stem from. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Life experiences such as traumatic events appear to trigger anxiety disorders in people who are already prone to anxiety.”
There are a lot of possible causes for anxiety disorders, and they vary depending on the person. Sometimes anxiety disorders are hereditary, and other times they are brought on due to another illness. The type of anxiety that affects people can vary depending on outside factors.
How Do You Handle Anxiety as a Christian?
We as Christians are not immune to illness of any kind as a result of our faith. Our strength comes from believing God will be with us through whatever hardships we face, and those hardships can come in the form of an anxiety disorder.
There are a lot of scriptures on dealing with anxiety, like 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” These bible verses can be a great source of comfort when you are feeling overwhelmed. Knowing that God cares for you is special.
But this scripture is not the end all be all of anxiety disorders. When someone is struggling with anxiety, they are sick with a mental illness. If you would like to dive more into this scripture, here is an article written by J. Hampton Keathley, III. Hampton breaks this scripture down in detail.
Why Is There a Stigma in the Church About Anxiety?
Many churches feel uncomfortable when talking about mental illnesses. There is an undertone of shame associated with anxiety because of these misinterpretations and oversimplification of scripture.
This is a sad reality for some people. Shame stops us from getting help for an illness that we cannot control. As Focus on the Family says, “…to say that the person with an anxiety disorder should simply trust God more is like telling the woman with a broken bone that she should just have greater faith, and she will be well.”
If we are called to care for the sick, needy, hungry, and the stranger (Matthew 25:34-40), then why are we turning away our brothers and sisters who are suffering? Why are we not encouraging medical attention?
You’re Not Alone
If you are struggling with anxiety, please know you are not alone and you are not a bad Christian because of a perceived lack of faith. There is no shame in asking for help, especially in the midst of hard times.
Contact us if you would like help with anxiety and other mental illnesses.