When Anxiety Isn’t A Sin Problem
As someone who has an anxiety disorder, fear is no stranger to me. I feel fear on a daily basis. Sometimes continuously... and then other times, it's sporadically throughout the day. This ranges from a gnawing in my soul to a fast beating in my chest to a full blown, fish out of water, give me air, I can’t stop these convulsions type of anxiety.
Some well meaning Christians have suggested that my anxiety, fear, whatever you want to call it, is a purely spiritual (sin) condition, rejecting that it could be caused by past trauma and chemical imbalance. But trusting God more, praying harder and memorizing more verses doesn’t put a stop to the night terrors or help to calm an in-progress panic attack. On going therapy has eased these symptoms though. On the other hand, therapy hasn’t been much help in the realm of fear resulting from Spiritual warfare. Cognitive behavioral therapy (1) and vitamin B (2) does little in these cases.
The challenge is distinguishing between which type of fear or anxiety I am experiencing and realizing both kinds can exist together.
I am learning that, for me, it is a both/and, not an either/or type of healing that I need for my anxiety.
So, yes. I memorize 2 Timothy 1:7 (3), lean into God and have prayer spoken over me but I also seek out regular counseling from a licensed professional. The Holy Spirit is not in opposition to psychotherapeutic science nor does psychotherapeutic science render ineffective spiritual power. We are a compilation of body, soul and spirit and often times different types of healing practices are needed for different parts of our being.
Dear Anxious Friend, don’t let anyone deprive you of wellness based on their fear of spiritual or psychotherapeutic healing. God cares about your spiritual health. And, God cares about your mental health, too.
(2) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a science based psychotherapy proven to reduce anxiety and other disorders. I find it to be healing and comparable with the biblical concept of “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Talk to your doctor to see what is the best for you.
(3) Anxiety can be a symptom of Vitamin B deficiency though others find more benefit from prescribed medication. Talk to your doctor to see what is the best for you.
(4) “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” -2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)