Looking for a Cure
Cure is an interesting word. Some define a “cure” as relief from the symptoms of a disease. Others define it as something that causes a recovery from a disease. And still other sources define a cure as a complete and permanent solution or remedy.
So, a cure can be defined on three levels … ending the symptoms, ending the disease in one person, or ending the disease in an area or globally.
What’s saddest is when the treatments or cures for a disease are out there, but people don’t know about them or have access to them. For instance, there are treatments and a cure for tuberculosis (TB), and yet South Africa has almost 60,000 deaths a year, about 7 deaths per hour, from TB, far worse than our Covid-19 deaths.
One of the greatest “diseases” the world says we face now is the dis-ease of the mind – anxiety. Our present world is infected with anxiety disorders.
“The early years of the 21st century have witnessed a worldwide epidemic of poor mental health and related illnesses. But while depression is the condition most will associate with mental health issues, and is the leading cause of disability worldwide, it is not the number one mental health concern people face. That unwanted accolade goes to anxiety.“World Economic Forum
The very imprecise statistics regarding anxiety disorders worldwide are that 264 million people (4% of the population) struggle with anxiety disorders. Yet studies in places like the United States and South Africa consistently show almost 20% of the population struggles with some sort of anxiety disorder. Women make up roughly 63% of the total number.
A simple definition of anxiety could be: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. The world says there are a multitude of recognized anxiety disorders that cause worry and stress due to social interactions, personal health, safety, work, or a particular phobia.
There is generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, selective mutism and separation anxiety disorder, to name the most common.
God Speaks About Anxiety
How I wish that there was a vaccine for anxiety! We could all have a shot and then be very unlikely to fall prey to the “disease” of anxiety. But alas, there is no such thing.
Some people seem to have a natural resistance to anxiety, an indomitable cheerfulness, a determination to see the bright side and to suppose that things will work out just fine. I love those people. I am not those people.
A grave mistake many strugglers make is simply taking meds to dull or mask the symptoms without those meds being part of a larger game plan to deal with root causes in the mind and heart. Anxiety takes root in our thinking.
There are quite a few verses on anxiety actually:
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,
But a good word makes it glad.
Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplications
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
There are many more. This is just a small sampling.
Here is God’s cure. Our Creator, who made all our emotions and abilities to think and reason, gave us this prescription. He encourages us to run to Him with our anxious thoughts.
Does He know how pervasive and consuming those thoughts and fears are in our lives?
How Do I Heal From Anxiety?
Anxiety is a cruel and excruciating struggle. It elevates your heart rate and blood pressure, steals away your sleep, shortens your emotional fuse, robs your joy, mocks your hope, draws in your entire prayer time on one topic, and distracts your focus, even destroying your ability to read God’s Word and think about what it says.
To rewind, unpack and process through deep anxieties is a very engrossing, difficult task, especially if the anxiety has had time to grow long entwining roots. If you are experiencing anxiety, here are several things to ponder and consider doing:
A loving and sovereign God is sovereign of my circumstances, present and future. God is God and I am not. Much of my anxiety has to do with loss of control, a projection that the ambiguous future will turn out badly, which is not trusting in my God or believing that He is loving and will help.
I am not alone. I am not the first one to face trials like mine. Others have done so successfully. God will suit the trial to my capacities – He has checked that I can handle it with His help. God will bring me out in His time and way if I wait on Him and trust in Him. All of these ideas are in 1 Corinthians 10:13.
God created the Sabbath for human beings, and Jesus called us to give Him our burdens so that He could give us rest. Much of my anxiety might be over-busyness and a corresponding loss of perspective. Perhaps I need to retreat to a quiet place or speak with an objective voice, an advocate outside my world to regain peace and perspective.
God’s Word is alive and can help me battle temptations to worry and despair. I can write out scripture verses that deal with anxiety and put those cards in a place where my eyes will see them. Twice a day, and when I feel the coming crush of anxiety, I will read those verses out loud, and meditate on them.
Rather than using my negative creativity to imagine a horrible future, I choose to look at the good that God has surrounded me with. I will actively, consistently choose to be grateful and form brain neural pathways of thinking thanks. I will get in the habit of writing out at least five things daily that I am thankful for.
Anxiety doesn’t forbid me to say thank you … or does it????