Day 6 of Calm My Anxious Heart, Lord
“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.” (Psalm 61:1-2, ESV)
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1, ESV)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, ESV)
It’s not easy to ask for help. So many of us live in fear of how we are perceived, even at the expense of our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. As we learned yesterday, it doesn’t have to be like that. Being open and honest about our struggles does not make us weak but instead reveals our strength. Asking for help can be scary, so where do you start? Start with God.
Many people fear becoming a burden or looking weak, or maybe they don’t know how to explain what they are experiencing. This can make seeking help seem like a daunting task, but there is a simple solution. Talk to God. God knows all, sees all, and understands all, and He’s always available. There is nothing too small or too big for Him to handle. Many times, I have simply cried, “Lord, please help me,” as tears streamed down my face. I didn’t have to explain anything to Him because He knew. Without explanations for or answers to my problems, I felt peace because I was honest before Him. When we bring all our anxieties and burdens to Him, He will help us through them. He provides good friends who come alongside you. He provides moments of rest in the midst of chaos. He provides exactly what you need when you need it, so start with God.
Once you’ve been honest with God, it’s important to be honest with the ones you trust. Whether that is a parent, a close friend or relative, or a trusted adult, have a truthful discussion about your mental health. We all need a support system. Paul tells us to bear one another’s burdens, which means not only must we support others but we also must allow others to support us. I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was to finally be real with my friends and family. I can remember specific moments when I felt a little weight come off my shoulders because I knew I wasn’t struggling alone anymore. Someone else knew that I was not okay, and they were praying for me and lending a helping hand when they could. God not only equips you with the strength to overcome your anxiety but also with people who will help you along the way.
For some, anxiety is a result of present circumstances, but for most people struggling with anxiety it’s deeply rooted within. What once started as a tiny seed has become a mess of twisted roots and vines. This is where therapy comes in. Therapy helps you cut back the overgrowth to find the root of the problem. However, therapy is only helpful if you feel comfortable going and find a therapist you connect with. Personally, it is exactly what I need to work through my anxiety. It gives me a space, without any connection to the people who affected me, to talk openly without fear of judgment toward myself or those involved. Therapy has transformed my life. If you feel therapy is right for you, I suggest looking for a professional you can relate to and who is able to understand experiences you may have had based on your gender, age, etc. Above all else, I recommend looking for a Christian therapist. Talking to someone who knows the truth of Scripture and can use it to help you is essential to growth with God.
The last thing I want to discuss is medication. There is a lot of hesitation among believers about the use of pharmaceuticals to treat mental disorders. The reality is that sometimes we need help creating the chemicals that balance our brain. Some of us need medication to be able to think straight enough to work through our anxiety. I myself have taken medication for panic attacks before I learned how to cope with them. There is no shame in needing medical help with your anxiety. I recommend you speak to your doctor or mental health professional to learn what you may need. Ask God for guidance with your decision on whether to take medication or not.
Ultimately, the decision to seek help is up to you, but the good news is that you don’t have to struggle through anxiety alone. There are so many different ways to get help, but it is up to you to take the first step. I know you can do it.