Mental Wellness: Scripture has much to say about this topic.
What dominates your attention? More and more people are struggling with worry and anxiety and there are too many contributing factors to outline in just one short article. So, I’m going to attempt to break down some of the important elements in the flesh and correlate those with scripture. Our Bible holds many treasures and so much wisdom. Jesus even reminds us in Matthew 6 to “not worry about your life…For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things,” Wait! What? Don’t worry about life?
First let’s unpack the difference in worry and anxiety. There is such thing as Eustress or a positive worry. This the level of stress or worry that promotes change. It propels us to make the necessary changes to accomplish a goal such as getting your kids to school on time, or meeting a work deadline, or calling to check in on a family member to offer encouragement. The key is the action that follows that satisfies the stress drive to produce an outcome that promotes the release of Dopamine (the neuro-chemical responsible for the good feelings like accomplishment, confidence and purposefulness).
Stress not monitored or unhinged over works our adrenal glands keeping the faucet on for releasing Cortisol into the bloodstream. God’s design to help us survive as well as provide needed stimulation for living a healthy level life. After all, life is not rainbows and butterflies all the time, and, if we are being honest, we’d get bored. BUT, worry can result in having anxiety. God’s word says, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression…”. Wait! What?
Yes, if anxiety is not managed, dealt with, or resolved where possible, it leads to depression. I see this more often than not. But we’ll save the depression topic for another article and remain focused on worry and anxiety.
When does worry cross over to anxiety? Simple answer. When left too long to stagnate. When you are unable to DO something with the worry. Action is required to resolve the stress and you are responsible for most of this. Meaning, you can’t ALWAYS sit and wait on someone else before taking action. Make that phone call! Ask questions? Identify the parts of the worry that you can influence or control, because focusing on the unknown of a worry only promotes more worry which morphs into an anxious state. Some people have accumulated so much worry that hasn’t been resolved that it has clogged up the neuro-pathways that assist with problem solving. Imagine a sink that gets clogged up. It didn’t get that way over-night. If we reflect, we know that the draining slowed then slowed, then slowed until it was no longer able to manage the amount of water flowing from the faucet and the water accumulates in the sink to the point you have to call a plumber because you didn’t make significant efforts to take of the slow drain at the onset.
What to do:
God gives us tools and direction for managing worry and anxiety. Open your Bible! Take a deep breath and slowly—I said slowly, exhale. Allow your eyes to look upon His Word in Philippians 4. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Be in prayer. Call upon El Roi. Know He is the God who sees you. Prayer is a relational expression that connects us with the One who is able to sustain us. EL ROI, the God who sees me proclaimed by Hagar in Genesis 16:14-15. Know the nature of God that is revealed so that you can develop the relationship with Him. Haggar’s anxiety was overwhelming; however when El Roi met her in the desert we have this confidence, THAT He sees us as well.
Scripture tells us to “take thoughts captive” (see 2 Cor. 10:5) so I’ve included a tool at the end of this letter for you to apply. Let’s work to get out of your head and use written expression as a way to work with the thoughts of worry or anxiousness. Try these tips to bring the thought under the authority of Jesus:
Write the thought down on paper then take markers, crayons or colored pencils and begins to write scriptures all over the paper until the worry is covered with God’s word and promises. Go to the concordance of your Bible to look for verses on worry and anxiety.
Write the thought down on paper then fold it up and put it in an envelope, seal it, address it to the Lord and then put it in a box, under a mattress, just put it away so you know that you’ve taken that thought captive and given the worry to the Lord Jesus.
Write the thought down then go flush it, shred it, burn it or rubber band it to a stone and toss it into the depths of a pond, lake, etc. You get the idea.