Anxiety is the worst! Not only does it steal our joy, it actually causes physical illness. I believe anxiety is probably one of/or the number one destructive emotion Christians and non-Christians have to contend with. Why did I say it could be the number one destructive emotion? Because when added to other emotions it increases their impact, but on its own it can paralyse and confuse. It is usually closely linked with fear. However, there is fear that is fleeting, and is mainly an adrenaline rush that gets us spurned to do something. Then there is fear that paralyses. This is the one that usually is sweetheart to anxiety.
The combination of these two creates in us an unyielding, paralysing sense of dread/foreboding, which has drastic negative impacts on our health, relationships, jobs, and faith. I have been fighting this dragon for so many years I have lost count. I call it a dragon because it’s a powerful and intense emotion that sits seething, ready to erupt all the time to bring destruction.
This topic came to my mind because in the last couple weeks I have had conversations with two Christian women and two non-Christian women who said they have been dealing with anxiety. That got me thinking that it was interesting that the Christian women (plus me) had no more peace than the non-Christian. That in itself demonstrates the strength that anxiety has in our lives. I think it’s why the bible discusses anxiety and worry quite a lot. Reiterating each time that the Lord is sovereign and in him we can find peace and safety from anxiety.
The bible says
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27
“When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, your comfort encourages me.” Psalm 94:19
“Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:4
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:6-7
Ok, yeah, great, but what do I do in my daily life to actually deal with it? Well, I chose first to pray, seek counselling, seek health advice, and then guidance from the Lord again. Prayer, counselling, and exercise didn’t relieve me of anxiety totally, so I discussed medication with my Nurse Practitioner. I know some Christians have an issue with this approach, and to put a fine point on it…I don’t care.
I think certain medications are useful while working with God to be healed. I also believe each person needs to seek Gods divine wisdom and direction, not the direction of mortal men or women only. I also think that Christians that shame other Christians for taking regulated prescriptions, need to take the plank out of their own eye before worrying about the speck in others.
I prayed about it, talked to my pastor, decided that since GOD is the one that gives the ability for medications to be made,since I read nothing indicating an issue with a low dose of anti-anxiety medication for a determined duration of time, and had no divine “anti-meds” direction, I was going to assist myself to get back on track health wise by taking a low dose anti-anxiety medication. This decision impart is due to the complete mess my body was in. I actually needed to take medication just to stop the crazy hormone cycle that was occurring.
This approach has helped, but I am still dealing with anxiety much of the time. To be fair it’s been a rather tumultuous time in my life, so that never helps. These ladies however, really made me ponder anxiety and its role in the decrease in faith amoung those that say they are Christian (men or women). It makes sense, if you can’t get past anxiety how can you really be experiencing your faith fully.
So I found the passage from Ephesians below about donning the armour of God to stand against the devils schemes (or the dragon). I believe we “don” these by reading scripture, praying, seeking Godly counsel and seeking the Lord in everything. I know that sounds like just words, but I think that if we as Christians read our bibles daily, prayed independently and with spouses or others daily, listened to Christian music, watched Christian shows, engaged in Christian activities, completed our jobs steadfastly in Christian ways, sought Godly pastoral advise, and above all sought Gods will and direction in everything. I believe we would have a greater peace which leads to decreased anxiety. We could slay the dragon. The bible says that we are to fix our eyes to Jesus “pioneer and perfector of our faith”, if we did, we would see anxiety decrease as we are not focused on the things that cause anxiety. I also believe that when you shift focus to God many things come into alignment, and when that happens you find peace as you are where you are supposed to be and you know it, and that increases faith.
In fantasy novels, the dragon is usually in a cave or lair, and the hero must go in and slay the dragon while it sleeps. The hero is usually dressed in armour of some kind that is to protect them against the searing heat of the dragon’s breath.Below is the armour we have been given why don’t we use it?
Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ever notice that in Revelations satan is described as “the great dragon”? Interesting isn’t it, that in our culture today, people revere them and believe them to be powerful, knowledgeable and magical. Scarily similar to how satan likes to portray himself.
Revelation 12:9 ” And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
The saying “slay the dragon” refers to overcoming something monumental, powerful and destructive. Nice parallel isn’t it? Jesus will return and the great dragon will be slain. He will destroy it . We have his might to do the same with our dragons we just need to armour ourselves daily, then go in to that cave and slay it.