Anxiety! Who me?

ANXIETY! WHO ME?

Do you worry that something bad is going to happen but you don’t know what?

Do you get uncomfortable in social situations?

Do you feel like life is happening TO you rather than feeling in control of it?

Do you find yourself lying awake at night worried or agitated? 

If you often feel fear, uneasiness and have problems sleeping, you may have an anxiety disorder.

We most often suffer more from what we FEAR than what actually HAPPENS, so it’s important for you to learn how to evaluate what you are thinking. Things always look less fearful when we face them head on vs. running or distracting ourselves into TV, alcohol, food, or work.

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Anxiety or panic attacks can include rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, inability to stay still or calm, sweaty palms, insomnia, loss of appetite, tightness in your chest. It can also cause a “fight or flight response” which is a physiological reaction when your brain wants to protect you from danger. It prompts you to run away from the situation or to defend yourself, regardless of how rational that reaction is.

 TREATING ANXIETY

With anxiety disorders, knowledge and understanding are key. The more you understand about your anxiety the more in control you feel. If you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, understanding it, identifying triggers that cause anxiety and learning effective and specific interventions to cope with it as it happens will bring relief from symptoms.

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Becoming more aware of your anxiety, labeling it, and defining what purpose it serves can help you. Additionally, through implementing skills taught and beginning to experience success in managing your anxiety, you should see your symptoms start to dissipate. The goal is to reduce your anxiety to a level where you can cope with it instead of it controlling you.

Anxiety can often be an isolating experience leaving you embarrassed and causing you to avoid activities you would otherwise enjoy. Individuals with anxiety disorders tend to have a need to be in control and feel uncomfortable when they can’t predict or control a situation. These situations are difficult to avoid and it’s impossible to control every aspect of our lives. Anxiety can also cause irrational thoughts or beliefs. Intellectually, you may be aware that they are irrational but the thoughts still FEEL real. Your significant other or family may not understand your anxiety or feel helpless and lost in their attempts to comfort you. This can result in frustration which causes distance in relationships. No one likes to feel like they can’t help their loved one.

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If you live in the Vancouver Washington Area and experience anxiety call Eternal Hope Christian Counseling and Coaching to schedule your appointment and begin your healing! 360-718-8636

Learning to Walk with Jesus through the “Why”

Why is this happening to me?  WHY is this happening to me?  Why is THIS happening to me?  Why is this happening TO ME?  When painful things happen we are often left questioning “WHY?.”

Why does tragedy exist if God is a loving God? Why did this happen to me?  Why does God allow me to suffer? Why am I not able to move on from bad decisions of my past?  Why do people hurt me?  Why do I hurt people? Why am I selfish? Why are others selfish? Why do I hurt? Why?

Often this type of thinking leaves us looking for a response to questions that a human being can not completely answer.

When God created the world, He created it perfect and in His image.  When Adam and Eve sinned God was very clear as to what that would look like for mankind on earth from that point forward.

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God said to Eve:

“I will greatly increase your pains in child bearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)

God said to Adam:

  • “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and dust you will return. “(Genesis 3:17-19)

Tragedy, pain and suffering are the result of evil (sin)

Evil/sin summarize the trauma, pain, death, crux, loss, and hurt of all of our earthly suffering and pain

God tells us that we will never be able to fully explain or understand the reason of our specific trails.

  • “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

God allows suffering in our lives to expose the fullness of His character.  His love and mercy, His compassion and concern, His forgiveness and redemption, HIS GRACE.

John 16:33  We hear Jesus’ words of encouragement and comfort.  He says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus tells us that our peace for all of the suffering and pain that this world may throw our way is found in HIM.  He also tells us point blank and straight forward, ” In this world you will have trouble.”  He did not say “may have trouble”, “with any luck you will have a trouble free life”, or based on your good actions and intentions you will have less suffering and pain.”  Jesus tells us that indeed we will have trouble, but he does not stop there.  He tells us the good news of what he has done through HIS suffering and HIS painand HIS death.  “TAKE HEART!!!!!  I have overcome the world. ”  Oh what comfort and joy those words bring to a suffering heart.  Our Jesus has conquered our earthly strife and promises us the joys of ETERNAL LIFE through HIM.

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God allows suffering to bring us to the feet of Jesus our Savior

Today I spent some time reading about Hannah.  In Samuel 1:1-18, God tells us that Hannah was married to a man who had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah.  Peninnah was able to have children but the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb.  Not only did the inability to have children grieve Hannah but to make maters worse Peninnah would provoke and irritate Hannah.  Can you imagine,  not only having to share your husband but to have “the other woman”  give birth to the children which you so badly desired but where unable to have? Can you imagine, having your rival make fun, taunt, ridicule, provoke, brag, and be little you to the point of dispare.  The Bible tells us that this went on for years.  YEARS!!!!  Even Hannah’s husband became concerned with Hannah.  He asked, “Hannah why are you weeping?  Why don’t you eat?  Why are you downhearted?”  Hannah was in deep dispair.  Hannah suffered from depression.  Hannah was bullied.  Hannah had to share her husband.  Hannah was unable to have the childen she so desparately desired.  Hannah grieved.  It is evident that Hannah suffered loss, pain, and sorrow.

You see even people in the Bible experienced the same types trials, tribuation, pain and suffering  that we do today.  Are you struggeling with “WHY”?

Asking “why” creates an empty cycle of frustration and often leads to dead end answers.  “WHY” is the wrong question altogether and can lead you down the path into deeper into the pit you are screaming to exit.

The focus should not be on looking at the tragedy that happened, but on how to have a healthy response to tragedy. If tragedy consumes us then two tragedies result; not only will tragedy be an event, but it will also have the power to destroy us.  Not asking “why” something has happened allows us to move through suffering and come back stronger.

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Let’s look at how Hannah moved through her pain and suffering.  God tells us that Hannah went to the temple where Eli was the priest.  God says that Hannah, “In bitterness of soul wept much and prayed to the Lord.” We are told that Hannah was praying in her heart, that her lips where moving but no sound was coming out.   Eli the priest questioned Hannah and questioned her behavior.  Hannah told Eli about her pain, anguish and sorrow, and she explained to Eli that she was praying to the Lord.  Eli listened to Hannah and blessed her as she left the temple.  We are told that Hannah left the temple and was no longer deeply troubled.

Hannah acknowldeged her grief.  She took her troubled heart to the Lord.  She knew that the Lord knew her heart even if the words escaped her. She shared her grief with someone she trusted and Hannah looked forward.  Hannah chose not to focus on the diffulties of what was, but insted focused on what was to be.  Hannah did not focus on the “why”.

Moving through suffering requires that we do not get stuck on the “why”.  Why is there pain and suffering…………because we live in a fallen world.  Jesus tells us that indeed we will have trouble, but he does not stop there. He tells us that our peace for all of the suffering and pain that this world may throw our way is found in HIM.

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My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ if you are struggling, look to your Jesus.  DO NOT GET STUCK IN “WHY”.  Take your hurt to HIM in prayer.  Find someone that you can trust, seek professional counseling, and be patient and gentle with yourself.  “TAKE HEART!!!!!  I have overcome the world. ”  Oh what comfort and joy those words bring to a suffering heart.  Our Jesus has conquered our earthly strife and promises us the joys of ETERNAL LIFE through HIM.

Blessings,

Terri

Adapted from: Becoming Resilient How to Move Through Suffering and Come Back Stronger by Donna Gibbs

 

Take the Hit

(DISCLAIMER:  This is not talking about allowing someone to physically touch you.  This is about being kind and loving even when it is hard)

A few years I had the privilege of working with a wonderful Christian Counselor.  We used to joke about how she was my Paul and I her Timothy.  I started working with Dr. Sherry Baker as her intern.  I helped to co-facilitate her weekly anger management groups. I loved each weekly meeting because I learned something new from each person I had the honor of working along side.

Anger eats you up from the inside out.  If you are a person who easliy gets angry and often takes it out on others, it is time.  It is time to begin working on loving others with as much passion and committment as you feel in your anger.

I have been thinking about the lesson on “Taking the Hit.”  It is easy to fall into the pattern of needing to be right.  It is hard to apologize to someone who is angry even if you think you are right, and really and truely mean it.  It is hard to invite others to bring to attention those moments when we are not being our “best self” and listen with a loving open heart.

Sometimes when I am not my “best self” and I am struggling with conflict I ask myself “do I want to be right” or “do I want to be happy.”  I find that things usually turn out for the better when I  lovingly “Take the Hit.”

Take the Hit

The next time anyone gets angry with you, don’t try to stop them.  Don’t walk away from them.  Don’t get angry back at them.  Don’t get combative, don’t get defensive, and don’t explain yourself.

Just stay there listening to them until they are done speaking. Take the hit.  You can take the hit.  And then apologize to them for what they are angry at you for, and say you’re going to do your very best not to do it again.  And try to mean it with your heart!

While you’re at it, tell them for future reference, that you want them to express their anger and truth to you – you can take it and that you know you sometimes need to hear it.

Tell them this even if you think it’s not true.

Even if it isn’t true, take the hit.  Take the hits no matter what.       

Dear Stress let’s break up

 

Strengthening our spiritual self will aid in producing strength, wisdom, knowledge and judgement needed in relation to stress and anxiety.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Stress and anxiety are at the center of so many of our lives these days. The combination of a fast-paced competitive society, our own internal struggles and fears, and the challenges presented by the economy, our families, our jobs, and day-to-day life leaves us feeling overwhelmed and on edge.

Anxiety is a reaction to stress.  Whether in good times or bad, most people say that stress interferes at least moderately with their lives. Chronic stress can affect your health, causing symptoms from headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pain to heart palpitations, skin rashes, and loss of sleep.

In the fast-paced culture we live in it can be easy to become discouraged.  Take heart there is HOPE!   God tells us that we should call onHim in our times of trouble.  Not only does He promise He hears us but he promises to answer us.  What do you do when you are in trouble? Do you worry? Do you complain? Do you take it out on others?  

Or do you pray? Psalm 120 shows us the best way. When in trouble, pray.  And the reason why is simple and yet at the same time so remarkable. God hears you when you pray. That’s what the psalmist says in verse 1: “I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.”  That is astonishing. When you pray, the God who created all things, the God who is bigger than the universe, hears you. He pays attention to you. He hears your every word. Never take that for granted. God hears you when you pray.  Through Christ’s death and resurrection we are assured of salvation-our ultimate HOPE. Our founded HOPE.  Our Eternal Hope.

THERE IS HOPE

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Strengthening our Spiritual self is essential when working to strengthen ones physical, emotional and mental healing. Strengthening our Spiritual self will aid in producing the strength, wisdom, knowledge and judgment needed in relation to stress and anxiety challenges.

We better manage our stress when we distinguish what we can control and what we can’t.  We all have a normal stress zone in which we function quite well.  Everyone’s zone is different.  Each of us has learned to cope within our normal stress zone.  When factors happen that push outside of our normal stress zone that’s when anxiety can happen. When this happens we need tools to feel more in control to our body’s response to stress.   “For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power and self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7

Where do we start our journey of  “breaking up” with stress and anxiety?  First, we tend to our Spiritual needs.  We take time to pray and meditate, we spend time in His word, and we reach out to fellow Christians for love and support.   We make it a priority to have a physical health check-up and tend to our emotional and mental health.  In addition we make sure that we make time for self-care, set healthy boundaries and make time to do things that bring relaxation. Today is your day to start your journey to a life that is less stressful and more peace filled.

Blessings my friends,

Terri