Reading time 4 minutes 45 seconds
I’m just going to be honest. I’m struggling really bad this week. So many factors are affecting me at one time, and it’s adding anxiety and depression to my chronic pain. Maybe you are experiencing similar feelings:
The let down after all the Christmas excitement goes away.
The miserable cold, dreary weather that has left me unable to get out of the house for days.
The increasing physical pain due to the cold weather.
The frightening news that unfolds every day seemingly getting unbelievably worse all the time creating fear about the future.
Family illnesses and elderly parents.
And as I round the corner to turning 50, I’m feeling a lot of regrets and other personal struggles…
I’ll stop listing things, so I don’t increase your anxiety and make you depressed, but all of the things have one thing in common: fear. Some type of fear factors into each one of the events I mentioned, mostly about the future.
The Psalms address David’s fear through his poetry or songs. I had a hard time understanding how the Psalms could be applied to me since it seemed that David was being attacked by Saul physically; he had earthly enemies. I don’t think I have any human enemies. I don’t have anyone that wishes to do me bodily harm as David did. But it dawned on me that my enemy is the devil. So when I read the Psalms, I will substitute “enemies” with “the devil” because fear comes from the devil. He increases the alarm bells to get your focus off of God. The devil is trying to keep you busy with worrying so you will not have peace. Worrying is useless for us, only causing emotional and physical pain but very productive for the devil. He is trying to stop the spread of God’s kingdom.
If you have a relationship with God, then the devil does not have your soul or your eternity, but the devil will do anything to misguide you off the correct path — a little fear, mixed up with anxiety can swell into depression. He can renderer us helpless if we let him. We just have to keep fighting the fear with the Holy Spirit leading us.
Psalm 37 has many powerful verses full of God’s promises proclaiming that if we trust (trust that His plan is better than what we can see) in the Lord, we will find peace: a release of fearful anxiety and depression. But there are things that we must do. God very plainly says do “this,” and you will endure. It’s hard work sometimes so surround yourself with people that will help you back up.
Verse 1: Do not fret. Bottom line: God commands us not to worry.
Verse 3: Trust in the Lord and do good. Ask God to help you with your unbelief and trust Him.
Verse 4: Take delight in the Lord. Find joy in knowing who God is and what He has done for you.
Verse 5: Commit your way to the Lord. Determine to do good.
Verse 7: Be still before the Lord. Pray and read scripture and listen to God to speak – not audibly but through the Bible. Everything you need to know is in the Bible.
Verse 7: Wait patiently for Him. Sometimes we think God should move faster. Trust me; He knows what your timeline should be like better than you do.
Verse 8: Refrain from anger and turn from wrath. Do not become bitter. Constant disappointments or physical pain can make you lose hope and become angry. Pray about this if you are mad at God for your situation.
Verse 27: Turn from evil and do good. Again, determine to do good.
Verse 34: Hope in the Lord and keep His way. Lay your burdens at His feet.
Each of these commands from God requires us to analyze our immediate surroundings. When I feel anxiety coming on, I try to ask myself a few questions like, Am I safe right at this moment? What can I do right now to address the fear/anxiety immediately? If there is nothing I can do, then I tell myself over and over that I have done everything in my power that I can do about the situation and lay the worries at the foot of the Cross. If I don’t “Let go and Let God,” I feel it emotionally with anxiety and depression and physically with increased chronic pain.
I believe there is a direct correlation between emotional pain and physical pain. High anxiety or a bout of depression can increase your pain for many reasons. I know for me it is because when I’m worried or depressed, I tense up every muscle in my body. It is a never-ending cycle. Stress increases pain, and then pain increases stress and so on. Our lives are just so complicated which gives way to more emotions than we can handle and we go in to fight or flight mode. I become completely overwhelmed.
This is when I use scripture to help me with the devil’s schemes. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t read scripture and BOOM! I have peace, and my pain is gone. It is a daily, sometimes, hourly struggle. Today, I’m in a minute by minute mode. So, I know how you feel. Just keep picking yourself back up by surrounding yourself with positivity and scripture is the best place to start. I also encourage you to write down thoughts. Whether you share it or not doesn’t matter. Either way, writing or journaling can create meaning and purpose and hope just for yourself, but if you share it, you can reach others helping them at the same time. We need to be there for each other. You don’t have to go through this alone.
I want to end with a devotion prayer I read for today. The book is called “Daily Gratitude” with contributing writer, Joanne Mattern. It was given to me last year by a dear friend. I could not find a link to share with you, but Amazon has many others to choose from. Just search “daily gratitude in Books.”
This prayer reminds me while my body is in pain, and maybe even my mind is too, I still need to find something to be grateful for because God dwells in me. There is something extraordinary about acknowledging God’s spirit living in you through the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
Thank you for this body. Thank you for the gift of movement, the gift of touch, the gift of laughter. When I ‘m at odds with my body, please help me focus my thoughts to what my body can do and the ways it can serve you. Thank you for the nerves and synapses, arteries and brain cells, that make me who I am, Your Creation. Amen