Category Archives: Anxiety

How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Conclusion)

 

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25 NKJ)

The foundation for anxiety and depression is fear.

Now, most Christians don’t have to be reminded that it’s wrong to be fearful because we have heard it over and over again. Yet, in our brokenness and our frailty, we fall short of trusting the Lord in all of our circumstances.

The “what if this happens or that happens, then what” scenarios continue to play over and over in our minds and drown out our trust in the Lord. Right?

The Apostle Paul underlined our struggles when he wrote:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)

Paul answered his question in Romans 8:1.

Many of us have memorized Romans 8:1, but how can we really walk in the truth of not allowing condemnation to derail our lives?

Yes, the Bible exhorts us to pray and study the word.  But let’s be honest, this advice fails to move most of us, which brings us back to Paul’s question: “who will deliver us?”

If we’re thinking the answer is going to a church on Sunday, sitting in a pew with 300, 600, 1000 or 8000 other believers, listening to a sermon-lecture and a few prayers, and returning week after week for more of the same, then why aren’t we all delivered from our fear, anxiety and depression as yet?

Maybe we need to look elsewhere.

Did you know that 50% of the members at Alcoholic Anonymous stay sober, another 25% relapse but return, and the other 25% do not remain sober?

Why is Alcoholics Anonymous so successful?

The meetings are small in size and open to all. Everyone is allowed to share what’s on his heart. Success stories – even small successes – are celebrated as victories. There are intense discussions. Each member is paired up with a mentor who helps them through any struggles.

HELLO!

Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you. (1 Corinthians 14:26 NLT)

Alcoholic Anonymous modeled its meetings after the early home churches. And it works!

Thus, I believe the only way for us to overcome our fear, anxiety and depression is to have small home groups (or home churches) with open formats, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in our midst. Members can pray and use their spiritual gifts to help set others free.

The reason I use a bold font to emphasize “with open formats” is that many churches have home groups, but have rigid formats that they follow. This won’t work!

Why is this so important?

I believe America is about to enter into a period of extreme tribulation and confusion that has never been experienced before in our nation’s history. The number of people who suffer from fear, anxiety and depression will multiply off the charts almost over night.

We need to prepare ourselves now.

(Conclusion)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 4)

The following is an excerpt from my soon to be published novel – Still in the Fight:

Most people who have met Dylan and me would assume that we must have been cut from the same small-town cloth, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Dylan’s parents were two of the sweetest people who have ever lived. Love and peace permeated every corner of their home. Meal times for Dylan and his sister, Darla, were filled with lively conversations about what happened during their day. All who sat around the table, even guests, were encouraged to contribute. Family problems were handled in love, rather than anger. Both parents attended Dylan’s and Darla’s school events, cheering them on from their seats. Because of the loving atmosphere provided by his parents, Dylan grew up to be a confident, loving adult.

By comparison, fear filled our home because of my dad. Although he was a successful real estate broker, he hated his career, his life and himself. He took out his anguish on my mother, brother, sister and me.  We never knew what would trip his trigger, but when it happened he would turn into a raging madman, slinging four-letter words and accusations at everyone. It usually climaxed with him slapping us around.

Mealtimes? Oh my! Those were tortuous occasions for the family because Dad demanded absolute quiet from us while he ate his meal. If for any reason, we children made a chewing noise or squirmed a bit in our chairs, he might smack us and send us to bed, berating us as we left the room. If he did speak and asked a question and then didn’t like our answers, he might slap us across the face right there at the table. Mom always sat in her chair with her head down like a timid titmouse, too afraid to confront Dad or defend her children. Her only solace was a bottle of Jack Daniels hidden behind the cereal boxes in the pantry.

Not only that, my dad attempted to molest me soon after my thirteenth birthday. I fought him off and ran into the bathroom, locking the door behind me. He never attempted to touch me again, but being alone in the house with him caused panic attacks to strike me so that I trembled and struggled to breathe. All I could think about during those times was the day his hands fondled my breasts.

What few friends or boyfriends I had were never invited into my home nor did I ever share the shame and pain I felt in my heart with anyone. Never once! Looking back, I now realize how fortunate it was for me to be a straight-A student because it kept prying eyes away from my life and our home.

My most awkward moment occurred on October 12th of my freshman year at the University of San Diego. My phone rang at 6:35 in the evening while I was writing an English essay at my dorm room’s desk. I answered, “Hello.”

“Hi honey.”

“Oh, hi mom.”

“I have some bad news.”

“Okay, let’s have it.”

“Your dad suffered a heart attack this afternoon and died before the paramedics arrived at his office.”

I did not say a word nor did mom. The dead air space continued between us for more than sixty seconds before I finally said, “Oh.”

Mom closed by saying the funeral arrangements would be made the next day.

“Okay, mom.”

I hung up, shed no tears and felt no grief.

Is it wrong to feel like this, I wondered. I shrugged off the question and continued writing my essay.

(Continued in Part 4)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 3)

In the beginning, God created the heavens, the earth and everything on the earth.

Next, He created mankind in His own image by forming man out of the dust of the ground and breathing into man’s nostrils the breath of life. Man became a living being.

So far so good.

Next, God decided that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and that he needed a helper, fit for his needs. God took a rib from Adam (the first man) and created the first woman. She was just what Adam needed and he called her Eve. 

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:25)

So far still so good.

The Bible doesn’t exactly say how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before the fall occurred in Genesis Chapter 3, but we are told that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. This third child was born after Cain had killed Abel.

My guess is that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for approximately one hundred years without disobeying God’s one command to them –

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Maybe Adam and Eve walked by the forbidden tree once a day for one hundred years. That would be 36,500 times. If Adam and Eve were like me, they’d be at least curious about how the forbidden fruit tasted. And 36,500 times of not eating or touching the fruit probably primed them for the serpent’s temptation when he said,

“You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Eve listened to the serpent and then ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to Adam who also ate it.

What happened next?

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” (Genesis 3:7-8)

Adam and Eve’s disobedience released two stumbling blocks upon mankind which help to foster fear, anxiety and depression: hiding from God and fear. We are still struggling with these issues today.

(Continued in Part 4)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 2)

Let’s call the first female ride-share rider Alicia (not her name). She was nineteen years old, very pretty with a nice shape, long blond hair, intelligent and a great smile.

As I drove, we conversed about her college experience and her move to a new apartment. Somehow, I asked, “Do you struggle with depression?

“Yes,” she replied, “I am one of those smiling depressed ones.”

“Really? How can a pretty, bright gal like you be depressed?”

Alicia went on to tell about her childhood. She had a domineering religious father who demanded his wife always wear a dress, spanked his children too hard and too often, abused his wife and did all of this while hiding behind a “Jesus loves you” attitude.

Her mother left her dad and then remarried another man. And guess what? The mother chose a man just like her first husband.

Alicia made up her mind as a teenager never to be a Christian, but God had other plans for her. Some friends coaxed her into attending a Christian youth group. She met the real Jesus and built a relationship with Him.

But so far, her Christians beliefs have not erased her damaged childhood. She still struggles with depression.

Let’s call the second female rider Stella (not her name). She was forty-three years old, divorced, a successful professional, very pretty, in great shape, intelligent, and a Christian with a big smile.

It took no time to learn about her depression.

She had just returned from an out of state job interview. The reason for seeking the new job was that she was sexually harassed at her present company. She put up with the harassment for a while because it was her boss, a partner in the firm. But she wisely kept all the texts and emails he sent her.

Finally, she became fed up and went to the Human Resources Department with her texts and emails. The boss was fired, but the company treated her as though she was the problem and the cause of a good man being fired. Former friends turned on her.

Stella went to a psychologist, trying to get a handle on her strange predicament. Her company then felt she was too unstable to handle her position because she needed counseling.

It then snowballed from there.

Depression settled upon her so that she felt her only hope was to move to another city.

Both of these females should have had everything going for them with their intelligence, looks and youthful energy. Yet, one was damaged in her childhood and the other was hit head on by an unwanted circumstance.

These two females’ depression illustrate two of the main causes for our fear, anxiety and depression.

(Continued in Part 3)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 1)

I struggle with writing a series about fear, anxiety and depression because I don’t really suffer from these disorders. It’s not that I’m uncommonly brave or anything like that. It’s just that from my childhood until now, I’ve always had an attitude of “something good is about to happen to me.”

This becomes somewhat funny if you take the time to read my testimony because the Lord saved me on the day I was going to commit suicide. It’s not that I was depressed or anxious on May 20, 1985, it’s just that I had run out of options to save my home, car and family. My life insurance policy of $125,000 seemed to be my only hope. So I thought of it at the time as a business decision – nothing more.

Now, the only time I have ever truly suffered from depression was when a Christian friend with good intentions leant me his copy of Deliverance and Inner Healing by John and Mark Sandford. The book blends scripture with the teachings of Jung and Freud to supposedly rid believers of buried memories. The authors’ premise seems to be that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Bible are not quite enough to set captives free.

I began reading the book on a Saturday afternoon. And after about a hundred and fifty pages,  I became severely depressed and confused. The book had convinced me that my Bible studies and prayers were wasted efforts and that I needed the insights of inner healing, as outlined in this book.

I decided to go for a walk to clear my head.

As I walked down the sidewalk in a foggy daze, a Christian neighbor looked out his window and saw me. He felt I was in danger. He rushed outside and asked, “Larry, what’s your problem?”

“I’ve been reading a book entitled Deliverance and Inner Healing and it has really confused my faith,” I answered.

“Oh, that book is filled with psycho-babble and sorcery,” he replied. Then, he proceeded to outline the history of Agnes Sanford, John and Paula Sandford, Karl Jung, Sigmund Freud, inner healing and more.

“Jesus is the way, truth and light. Period,” he said.

His words instantly set me free.

Thus, if my depression on that Saturday is a small example of what many suffer on a daily basis, wow! It makes me realize just how debilitating and tormenting fear, anxiety and depression must be for millions of people.

Two female riders on my ride-share travels this week inspired me to write this article. We will talk about them in the future.

(Continued in Part 2) 

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