It's normal to get stuck with our thoughts, emotions or issues at times, but it’s easy to feel like we are the only one on the planet with such problems. This is not the case. Life is hard in different ways for everyone. We all struggle sometimes. God did not say life would be easy but he did say He would be with us.
‘It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed.’ Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV
I have struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety throughout my life and I’m happy to say that I’ve won over depression and I’m winning the fear battles in my life. Is this constant battle doing anything good for us? Well for me, it’s giving me huge doses of empathy for others and as a Christian therapeutic life coach, that’s a pretty good thing to have. It’s also grown me emotionally and spiritually as I’ve walked with the Lord to hopefully make me a better pastor, educator in my former occupations and over the years a better parent, wife and friend.
I’m going to discuss many different facets of being ‘stuck’ on 96three over the coming weeks and here I will mention some of them but in this blog I will cover fear. Maybe you will recognise some of the others: depression, rejection, boundaries, anger, forgiveness, control and a myriad of issues some resulting from dysfunctional families of origin (FOO), trauma, physical or social reasons.
Fear, anxiety and depression can often go hand-in-hand. God knows what we are going through, particularly in this fear area, so much so that the word fear is mentioned more than 500 times in the Bible. Why is fear such a big issue? Well, many of the other areas of being stuck, stem from a basis of fear and play out in a variety of mental health issues. One reason many of us suffer from anxiety or a form of fear is that we have so many decisions to make in our fast-paced world that we can become overwhelmed with the choices of who or what to trust and then what to do to move forward for the best outcome. This struggle can impact on our communication with others which impacts those relationships. In 2 Timothy 1:7, God tells us He has not given us a spirit of fear so we must recognise that there is a spiritual aspect to anxiety. In my video course Unstuck & Empowered I cover the different stuck areas in detail and include a template in the workbook for what to do and how to pray, to deal with any of your issues.
Here is some wisdom the Bible can offer us in relation to fear:
‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment…’ 1 John 4:18 NKJV
Getting deeper into the things of God will help us deal with fear.
‘Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?’
Psalm 56:34 NKJV
God recognises that we will come up against fear and we can do something about it—praising Him and declaring the truth.
‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,’
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV
Our mind has a part to play in this battle and there are ways to marshal our thoughts.
Psychological science talks about a whole person as made up of different parts, using the terminology biopsychosocial and are now beginning to add the word spiritual to that. In other words, we are the sum of our biological and physical nature; our psychological thoughts, processes and emotions, our social world and relationships alongside our spirituality. We must understand each of these facets make up our whole person, not in isolation but in tandem with each other. Therefore, each of them requires attention and each one impacts the others.
Another interesting piece of information but also one that impacts all of us is what brain science has discovered about the neurology of affect (emotions). Negative affect outweighs positive affect in terms of the ease of construction and its weight or solidarity in the brain biologically. This means it’s easier to think negatively than positively – meaning that’s why it’s so difficult to snap out of negative thinking and why we go there almost immediately. The good thing is that we now know through neuroplasticity that we can increase the weight of positive affect by continual repetition, support from others in our social world and stretching our brain. (I also talk at length about this process in Unstuck & Empowered).
What this means is that you and I have a battle to fight to win over fear and other mental wellness issues. We can fight in the spirit realm also as this is very often the basis of our stuck areas, particularly in the case of spiritual roots which impact the biopsychosocial nature of our world and life. So watch out for when you tend to catastrophise (which is another good word from psychology), for when we describe things as the worst-case scenario that they can be. This is when we say never, ever, always, when in fact the worst case things we worry about, will not happen.
In Unstuck & Empowered, you will find much more information you can use to march forward whenever and wherever you are stuck in order to be equipped to fight the battle with the powerful help from the Lord.
Blessings and Hugs
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