Christian Women & Anxiety Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
Before I begin, I’d like to take a second to introduce myself. If you’re visiting my page for the first time, I think it’s important that you know who you’re talking to. My name is Becky Thompson, and I started this website in 2013. I have been married for ten years to my husband, Jared. We have three children, and we live in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. I have written a couple of books with WaterBrook, a division of Penguin Random House.
My story is probably a lot like yours. I’m a regular lady, and my life is pretty average. But a few years ago, I realized that if you can rescue a momma’s heart from discouragement, or loneliness, or guilt, you can help heal her entire family… and every generation that follows. Because of this, I take the responsibility to speak Truth seriously. I think that a Christian woman’s life isn’t just comprised of her faith. I do my best to take a 360 view of the Christian woman’s heart and home, interjecting the Love of God into even the most ordinary places.
Today, that brings me to the topic of Christian women and anxiety. I’ve wanted to address this for some time, and now feels like the right time. The truth is, I cannot talk about anxiety without speaking about my personal experience with it. I am a Christian woman, and I have been dealing with anxiety most of my life.
Now, I need to say something from the beginning. I believe in a God who still performs miracles. I believe in a Savior that died so I could live an abundant life. I believe the Word of God is clear about transforming our minds and not being anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6-7). But what happens when a Christian woman who knows the Word of God and trusts Jesus as her Savior and friend still faces anxiety? What does it mean about her and her faith? These are the questions I want to answer today.
I think the stigma surrounding anxiety causes us to believe that anxiety can be controlled. If we read our Bibles more, if we prayed more, if we thought about Jesus more, we wouldn’t feel anxious. The truth is, anxiety is often caused by an underlying medical condition. Personally, I have a genetic disorder that alters how my body is able to process certain key nutrients required to maintain proper serotonin levels. Serotonin imbalance is one of the leading causes of anxiety. When I discovered this a few years ago, I found out that I could take a vitamin (yes, a vitamin) to manage my anxiety. But leading up to this, it was a constant battle.
For most of my life, I felt afraid. I was scared of being forgotten at school even though I had never been forgotten before. I was scared of my house catching on fire and something happening to my parents as they came to look for me. I was scared of talking to new people. I was scared of being misunderstood. I was terrified of conflict. I carefully surveyed situations and found the danger in them.
As I got older, my mind was able to differentiate between rational fears and irrational fears. I wasn’t as anxious about things that I could understand and process. But the thing about anxiety that I think most people don’t understand is that there is an undercurrent emotion that something is wrong, even if nothing is wrong. We can know that everything is fine, and still feel like there is some form of imminent doom. As Christian women, we renew our minds with the Word of God, and we anchor our hearts into His Truth so we can experience peace. At least, this is what we are taught, and so that’s what we make a continual effort to do.
But the reality is, sometimes we pray, we read, we sit reminding ourselves of God’s love for us and His completed work on the Cross, and we are still anxious. We have all of the facts that everything is okay, and our hearts still race. So we wonder about our faith and our trust and our ability.
The fall of man in the beginning of time meant that we would all be broken on some level. It is the reason that we all need Jesus. But if we are going to talk about Christian women and anxiety, then we must address that sometimes we are praying for deliverance from fear, and what we need is healing in our bodies. We are praying for restored hearts and what we need is restored serotonin levels. Does God know what we are praying even if we are praying for the wrong thing? Yes. Absolutely. Can He heal us if we’re praying the wrong words? Yes! Follow me, here. What I’m saying is that often we are looking at the symptoms without addressing the cause. And sometimes healing our bodies from what’s causing the anxiety would take an actual miracle and not just more time in the Word.
We need to talk about this. There needs to be more discussion of this in the Body of Christ. We wouldn’t fault a diabetic or a person struggling with another form of physical brokenness for their brokenness. We wouldn’t accuse them of having weak faith. We wouldn’t tell them that if they were better Christians, then they would be healed. Christians struggling with anxiety should fall in that same category. Those of us struggling with anxiety understand that we are in constant need of a miracle.
The powerful truth is that every moment that we overcome anxiety, we are living our miracles. Every moment that we have peace and balanced hearts, we are reminded of the continual presence and love of Jesus for us. We can be strong in the Lord and in our faith, even if our bodies (including our hearts and minds) are struggling. Friend, God still heals. I believe that it is His will to heal always (even if we aren’t always healed). I’m sure I’ll get plenty of emails for that one. But somehow, anxiety has been shifted into a category of, “You need to take care of that on your own.”
My prayer is that this article shifts our understanding of those who face anxiety back into the category with the rest of the world’s brokenness. It’s never been up to us to heal ourselves. It’s never been up to us to remedy our own imbalances. God does not fault the anxious woman for her anxiety. He came so she could be free. And whether that freedom comes by the vehicle of a vitamin or an encounter with His presence that radically and miraculously reorganizes her DNA, my job is to stand with her believing that there is hope and peace coming. My job is to point to Jesus and say, “It’s always been up to Him.” Our job, is to trust and follow Him.
So, Lord, I pray now for every woman reading these words. I pray now that she would stand in the Truth that You have overcome even the cause of anxiety in her heart. I pray that Your presence would flood the room where she reads these words. God, I agree with her as we ask for a miracle. Give her wisdom. Give her a strategy for moving forward from this place. And overwhelm her with the Hope that she isn’t alone, she isn’t weak, and she isn’t forgotten. We ask for healing now in the name of Jesus. Amen.