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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Anxiety and panic

“Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1Jn. 5:4).

I just read a website on one man’s solution to anxiety in men. He had gone through a long period of terrible anxiety. He even lost his job because of it and had to move back into his parents’ house. That was the lowest point in his life. But, while he was lying in bed looking up at the walls and ceiling, he decided that he couldn’t do that for the rest of his life. So he began a journey of trying everything he could to get over his anxiety and panic trouble.

He detailed “Top 10 Most Dangerous Panic-Fueling Mistakes Men Make While Fighting Anxiety” that clinicians have come up with to fix (manage?) the anxiety disorder. His Top 10 all sound very valid, and truly to be avoided. But, he never gave out his unique strategy. To learn it one must order his book.

His book is probably as insightful as the 10 popular mistakes he listed… and maybe I’m jumping into this before I really know where he is going… but…. Some things he has said during his Top 10 mistaken methods leads me to believe that he is not a Christian. He has said many things that agree with Righteousness by Faith: such as,

Mistake #10: Grabbing and Gulping Pills Doctor Prescribes You
Mistake #9: Meditation and Yoga
Mistake #8: Thinking “Right-Breathing” Will Snap Anxiety Levels Back To Normal
Mistake #6: Fighting Anxiety with Inefficient Tools Like CBT or Distraction
Mistake #5: Trying to “Sweat It Out”
Mistake #4: “Talking It Out” on Therapist’s Couch
Mistake #3: Coping On-The-Spot or “Floating”
Mistake #2: Facing Your Fears
Mistake #1: Not Getting HELP

He is very convincing in his arguments against these, because he tried them all and found them short-lived or completely ineffective. And since we are all made of the same psychological/emotional/mental/spiritual stuff, generally speaking, at least the male half of humanity, he is probably an authority on this subject. He has been on Good Morning America and has his own practice treating men with anxiety issues. He says he has bounced back to normal.

He writes, “Now a lot of people tell me I’m a completely new man. But I think I’ve just returned to my ‘old me’ that I used to know – extroverted, brave, strong, confident, calm and masculine. It has been a very rewarding experience. The world, once a jail, is now alive with possibilities. I remember how hopeless and alone and crazy I felt when I was locked into my room, wishing the world would disappear. Now I read thousands of emails from people who write to tell me about their own difficulties with anxiety, so relieved to find that someone in the world understood what they were going through.”

But, he has mentioned evolving from the hunter-gatherers having to fight or flee from a mastodon. So, I get the impression, based on just a little acquaintance with him, that he is not a seeker after Jesus, as the Bible teaches “seeking”. This could be a wrong assumption, but, at this point, that’s all I have to go on.

I especially like his Mistake #7: Not “Getting” How Human Brains and Anxiety Work.
This has to do with “Intentionally trying to overcome your anxiety and panic.” This he says, “isn’t just difficult, it’s UNNATURAL.” I couldn’t agree more.
This is how God views it.

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Rom. 7:24, 25). We, as He reveals to us, cannot deliver ourselves from our pit of sin or our pit of anxiety.

“We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Gal. 5:5). We wait on God to deliver us. And obviously, He gives us hope, confidence, which leads to the power (Gr. dunamis, “dynamite”) of being the sons of God.

But, the Creator is a holy God and His secret weapon against anxiety is righteousness. Righteousness? Why use righteousness for anxiety? Because, our anxiety is caused by separation from companionship with a holy God. This is where I assume all the secular clinicians of the world have the wrong solution for anxiety. They are atheistic and don’t believe in God; and, if they are agnostic, they believe that “God”, whoever He is, doesn’t wants to have companionship with us. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14).

In this, however, they are very wrong. Creation exists by design, and that design is to broadcast the amazing, invincible, disinterested love of God to His creatures. Mary Magdalene needed a God of friendship and grace. So did Zaccheus, Matthew, the thief on the cross, the centurion whose servant was on his deathbed. So did the 12 disciples, even manly, cavalier Peter. So did all the prophets, including the warrior David.

The King of creation made us to have relationships. Thus, we are in His image. Relationship was in mind when He made Adam.

“The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen. 2:18).

We need other people. We are social; we are needy of friends. We need acceptance, and sin has done much to disenfranchise us from God and each other. It’s the alienation from God that foremostly causes our anxiety; then secondarily, our disconnection or distancing from humans adds to the anxiety.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” (2 Cor. 1:3). It’s mercy and comfort that heals us, and therefore, it’s the God of mercy and comfort who heals our anxiety. His acceptance and grace meets our needs at the deepest levels. Reconciliation with God puts to rest our mind and nerves, and we immediately begin to be restored physiologically when we are restored to the family of God.

I’ve been studying the punishment warnings of God to Israel written in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the minor prophets. But, I’ve noticed that those curses weren’t coming from a God who hated Israel, even in the Israelites’ most disgusting, worthless behavior. He hated their sins and what their sins were doing to the poor, the fatherless and widows, the helpless babies burned on the altar of Moloch. He hated those behaviors so much that he must sweep the whole nation off the face of the map, or put them in miserable, humiliating captivity, because they could not release their grip on false worship and religion, and its lawless, merciless behaviors.

Yet, sandwiched in the middle of all those curses we find the clearest yearnings for their restoration to goodness, bodily, mentally, spiritually, and geographically.

 “There is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim My dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore My bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord. Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.” (Jer. 31:17-21).

“Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Isa. 51:11).

These are the precious promises Peter mentions.

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pet. 1:4).

It’s the God of grace and His precious promises, along with His discipline and tough Law, that have always given His people the upper hand among the unconverted, unsanctified people of the world.
“He that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” (Rev. 2:26).

“Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: my goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.” (Ps. 144:1, 2).

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:29-31).

Of them, the enemies of God get the message: Don’t mess with the children of God. Their God is bigger and badder than yours. If they did something foolish, He will deal with that. But don’t you mess with His precious little ones who are looking to Him and waiting upon Him.
Like the hyenas trapping Simba and Nala in the cave. Those yungins’ shouldn’t have been there in the first place. But, that didn’t stop hyenas from flying through the air with big Dadda showed up. One roar turned their cool and ravenous nerves ice cold.

So is it with the children of God. And they know it. Therefore, they have no anxiety unless they back off from God and try to use the initial or latest blessing of His Spirit as the one lifelong dose of strength. It just doesn’t last forever. They have to keep going back to God for His blessings to be renewed. We need to be reconverted and re-justified every morning.

“It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.” (Lam. 3:22-24).

Faith in His grace is the only answer to anxiety. He is the answer. His Spirit is the plug that keeps the life from draining out of us. Even if we had lots of life from Him, sooner or later it will all drain out and leave us gurgling on empty.

Faith is the victory.

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