Follow Our Weather Update

Calm My Anxious Mind

On Sunday, I kicked off a new teaching series focused on mental health and the mind shifts we can make based on the Word of God to live happier, healthier, God-honoring lives.   I began with a look at Philippians 4 as Paul taught us how to find peace even when we feel anxious.

PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7  6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Together, we learned that anxiety is an alarm.  It's an alarm from our body letting us know the stress we are under.  It's an alarm from our mind letting us know that we are focused on things beyond our control.  It is an alarm from our soul reminding us to trust God and not be overcome by life's challenges.

We also learned what to do when the alarm bells go off.  Paul tells us to present our requests to God as we talk to Him and lay our needs before Him.  He tells us to pray early, often, and always so that we will know the peace of God that transcends all understanding.   Why does prayer work to provide us peace?  Prayer is our path to peace because we aren't the solution to our anxiety and because God works as we pray.

In 2022, the alarm bells of anxiety went off in my life and it was a good thing.  Sleepless nights, worry, and a short fuse weren't fun at the time, but the alarm of anxiety was good for me because it woke me up to issues I had to face.  You see, I like to be in control.  In the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2022, we faced some challenges in the church and my family that proved once again I was not in control.  When the alarm bells first rang, I ignored them, denied them, and pressed on.  Months in I knew things needed to change so I made a few mind shifts to find the help I needed.

First, I slowed down in the things I was doing.  The truth to be still and know that He is God from Psalm 46:10 was a needed step for me.  Doing less and resting was good, but being still also meant trusting God with the challenges and admitting the fact that no matter how hard I try, I am not in control of the outcomes of my life.

Second, I talked to people that I trust.  For months, I carried burdens and concerns alone.  Surrounded by people who I knew would and could help, I didn't reach out for help or even counsel.  The moment I opened my mouth and admitted what I was feeling was so freeing.  You know why?  Because once I started talking and others rightly listened, I knew I wasn't alone and they quickly told me that I wasn't expected to have all of the answers or to be responsible for everything I had picked up.

Third, I changed what I was eating.  With a little research, I learned that some of my food habits were adding to my feelings of anxiety.  Not only was I eating my emotions but my eating was causing more negative emotions!

Fourth, I went to the doctor to get help.  While I prayed, talked, and did all I could to feel better, I went to my doc for his help and to make sure that there wasn't more going on with me physically and emotionally.  It is so humbling to talk to a doctor about stress and anxiety and then to answer the question, "What do you do?" I respond, "I'm a pastor."  People come to me with help for their struggles and I wholeheartedly believe what I teach about the peace Jesus brings, but here I am admitting my struggle.  The doctor helped me to get my sleep schedule reestablished and my mood leveled.  Both of these were a big help so that I could process what I was feeling and continue to trust the Lord and others.

Over the coming months, the relief that I felt can't be fully captured in text.  It felt so good to be me again and to not be overcome by the spinning of my mind.  Peace was mine again even though my life was and is still full of challenges that I can't control.

Why am I telling you this?  I'm telling you this so that you know you aren't alone.  We have all been there.  also want you to know that there is a path to peace that Jesus provides.  I encourage you to find your path to trusting the Lord and seek the help you need.  Aside from prayerfully trusting the Lord, don't just follow my path.  Find yours and seek the peace that a relationship with Jesus and His people provides.
Posted in ,