Tag Archives: anxiety

When Fear and Darkness Come

helpesless8trackscoverHave you ever come to a place in your life, when out of nowhere, fear grabs you and wraps its black tentacles around your heart and your mind? Then, suddenly, as the fear wraps itself around you, like a relentless boa constrictor, squeezing your heart and lungs so that your breathing becomes labored, panic begins to set in, and you are left with butterflies in your stomach, a racing heart, and a muddled mind. Your every instinct tells you to flee. Have you ever been there?

I’ve experience that many times in my life, and it’s a horrible feeling that leaves you feeling as though everything is out of control. When you’re in that place, you feel as though you’re all alone, as though there is no one else who has been there or who could possibly understand. On top of the intense loneliness, you feel like a complete failure, as though you’ve let yourself down, and worse yet — you feel as though you’ve let God down. Have you been there?

That’s why I find such comfort in 1 Kings 19:1-9a:

When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. 2 So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”

3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. 4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.

7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.

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Image Credit:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3002796/posts

Are you familiar with the story? Elijah was one of God’s most powerful prophets. He was a strong and mighty man of God, who performed many miracles, signs and wonders in the name of the Lord. As a matter of fact, right before this incident, Elijah had just called fire down from heaven, as the fire of the Lord consumed his offering, proving to the people of Israel and the 400 false prophets of Baal that the Lord is God. Then he commanded the people to seize the 400 false prophets and killed every one of them.

Image Credit: http://www.specialtyinterests.net/elijah_drought.html
Image Credit:
http://www.specialtyinterests.net/elijah_drought.html

Now, following such a huge victory, it seems kind of crazy that Elijah would turn tail and run away in fear of his life, just because of the threats of one woman. After all, if the Lord had given him victory over the 400 prophets of Baal, wouldn’t you think He would protect Elijah from one woman?

Still, when the spirit of fear grips you, it blinds you to the truth. That spirit of fear magnifies the perceived danger until it becomes larger than life. It isn’t logical or reasonable. As a matter of fact, everything is distorted and warped, making it difficult to think clearly. Have you been there?

4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

~ 1 Kings 19:4 — NLT ~

Now many people have preached and interpreted this verse as Elijah’s pity party. I too, have been guilty of this same interpretation, until recently, when the Lord brought me to a dark place that I’ve never been to before. As I make my way through this dark place, I’m learning that a lot of my judgments of others have been harsh and unkind.

Let’s spend a few moments looking at things from Elijah’s perspective. The life of a prophet is not an easy one. You see, a prophet loves the Lord passionately, and is filled with zeal for Him, that burns within him/her like a consuming fire.

7 O Lord, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me. 8 For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction,
Because for me the word of the Lord has resulted In reproach and derision all day long. 9 But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.

~ Jeremiah 20:7-9 — NASB ~

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Image Credit:
http://davidmacadam.blogspot.com/2011/06/prophetic-authority-showdown-on-mount.html

Not only does the prophet love the Lord passionately, he/she also loves the people of God. The prophet would pour his/her heart and soul into proclaiming the word of the Lord. The prophet would long for the people to repent and  turn back to the Lord. He/She would long for their salvation. As a former prison minister, I understand this. When I ministered to those inmates, the word of the Lord burned within me, and my heart’s desire was for the salvation and deliverance of each and every woman I ministered to. When I minister in my church, again, the word of the Lord burns within me and my heart’s desire is for every man, woman and child to know the Almighty and love Him. I love those people I minister to, and I long for them to walk in liberty in Jesus’ name.

Now put yourself in Elijah’s place…

But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with You, torn down Your altars, and killed every one of Your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

~ 1 Kings 19:9b-10 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
http://quietplace4prayer.wordpress.com/tag/faith/

Do you really think Elijah was having a pity party? Think about it. His life was being threatened. The people he tried so desperately to lead to repentance and save had not only rejected the Lord, they had also killed the Lord’s prophets. The danger he faced was very real. Not only were his fears real, but he had had enough. He was tired and depressed. He had failed in his mission to lead the people to salvation and repentance. He felt as though he was all alone, and he asked the Lord to take his life, possibly thinking that the God who loved him would be more merciful in his death than the people he had tried to save.

As I said before, my thoughts about Elijah have changed. I find that since I’ve experienced anxiety and depression, I’m less likely to pass judgment on Elijah or anyone else who is experiencing anxiety and depression. It’s really easy to assume that someone is feeling sorry for himself and having a pity party when he/she is depressed. I know, because I’ve accused people that I love, who have suffered from depression of “feeling sorry” for themselves, and I’ve since had to repent. 

Now, let’s look at what happened next…

5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.

7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God.

~ 1 Kings 19:5-8 — NLT ~

After running for his life, Elijah fell into an exhausted sleep. This is typical behavior for someone suffering from depression, and let’s look at the Lord’s response to Elijah. The Lord sent an angel to give Elijah some food. A person suffering from depression and anxiety often doesn’t eat properly, and knowing this, the Lord provided nourishment for Elijah, and then let him lay down and rest some more. After allowing Elijah to rest some more, the angel of the Lord came to him again and touched him, instructing him to eat some more to sustain him for the journey ahead of him. Apparently this food was supernatural, for it sustained Elijah, giving him enough strength to travel for forty days to Mount Sinai.

If Elijah had merely been having a “pity party” or was “feeling sorry” for himself, would the Lord have treated him so gently and compassionately? I don’t think so. I remember the Lord’s response to Jonah, another of His prophets, who was feeling sorry for himself, because a plant died. Unlike His gentle and compassionate response to Elijah, the Lord rebuked Jonah for his heartlessness. 

Therefore, my beloved readers, I urge you to read the rest of this chapter, and take note of the Lord’s gracious treatment of Elijah, especially where the Lord spoke to him in a still small voice. This is not gospel, it is merely my conjecture, but I find it interesting that the Lord chose to speak to the depressed and frightened prophet in a still small voice, rather than thundering at him. Could it be that the Lord knew the depressed prophet wouldn’t have been able to handle the powerful, thunderous blast of His voice, and so, He chose to speak to Him in a gentle whisper? What a merciful and compassionate God we serve. 

As I read this story, I draw strength, knowing that the Lord understands depression. He understands fear and anxiety, and rather than beating a person up when they’re already in the depths of despair, He shows us how to respond to someone suffering from depression…

  • Encourage the person to rest
  • Encourage the person to eat and take care of him/herself
  • Speak to the person with gentleness and compassion
  • Encourage the person to seek his/her healing from the Lord, who truly does care
  • Let the depressed/anxious person know that he/she is not alone
  • Be a friend and helpmate to the person suffering depression, and don’t judge them harshly

My beloved readers, if any of you are suffering from depression and/or anxiety, be encouraged. The Lord doesn’t think you’re just “feeling sorry” for yourself, and He doesn’t think you’re having a “pity party”. He understands, and He knows how to help you, just as He knew how to help Elijah. 

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

caddo-7-word

This post is dedicated to our good friend Sis Caddo. Although she is temporary hiatus, my prayer is that she will remember how much we all love her, and I will continue with the Sis “Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!” until she returns to us. Meanwhile, I know that she still stops by to visit her friends, and so in honor of Sis Caddo, who really loves acrostics, I tried my hand at an acrostic below. God bless you BIG Sis Caddo, we love you!!! 😀 Continue reading Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Two Cents Tuesday – Toys

Two Cent Tuesday Challenge

Your “two cents” is exactly that – your opinion on the topic posted – it may take any form that you find most expresses your point of view: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay or article by you or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble.  As with most things, the choice is yours…

This fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge theme – Toys – suggests that everybody’s got their something…
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My daughter and now, both of her daughters have one toy that they cling to. For my daughter, it was her “Doll-doll”. I remember how she brought this rag doll with her everywhere we went. She couldn’t sleep without her “Doll-doll,” and it was crisis time if we visited someone and accidentally left “Doll-doll” behind. There was such weeping and wailing. The same  holds true for her oldest daughter, who has her “Puppy” and for her youngest, who has her “Bun-bun”.

I often wondered how it is that they formed such an attachment to stuffed animals or a rag doll, but then, I look in the toy room, where the grandchildren come to play, and I see Harvey. Just thinking about Harvey puts a smile on my face. Suddenly, I realize that the apples didn’t fall too far from the tree. Continue reading Two Cents Tuesday – Toys

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Image Credit: http://gracepieces.com/
Image Credit:
http://gracepieces.com/

How my soul longs for You, Lord!

1 As the deer longs for streams of water,
So I long for You, O God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before Him?
3 Day and night I have only tears for food,
While my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?

 ~ Psalm 42:1-3 — NLT ~

So far, 2013 has been one of the most painful and difficult times of my life, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve been battered and bruised by the enemy of my soul, as I’ve suffered chronic acute pain, grief, and illness, followed by the deepest darkest depression I’ve ever experienced, and on top of that, terrible financial difficulty because I am no longer able to work. All of these things combined have also left me struggling with fear and anxiety. I keep trying to remember that God does not give us me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind, but these things just keep attacking me from nowhere, while I am at my weakest. Continue reading Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Image Credit: http://gracepieces.com/
Image Credit:
http://gracepieces.com/

Why Am I Discouraged?
Hope in GOD!

As the deer longs for streams of water,
so
 I long for YouO God.

2 I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before Him?
Day and night I have only tears for food,
    while my enemies continually taunt mesaying,
    “So,where is this God of yours?”

My heart is breaking as I remember

how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great processionto the house of God,
and singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!

Why am I discouragedWhy is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise Him again my Savior

and my God!

Now I am deeply discouragedbut I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
    from the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
    as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours His unfailing
love upon me
and through each night I sing His songs,
    praying to God who gives me life.

O God my Rock,I cry out,
    “Why have You forgotten memy Lord?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressedby my enemies?”
10 Their taunts break my bones.
    They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

11 Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise Him again — my Savior and my God!

~ Psalm 42 — NLT ~

Words of Jesus – Don’t Worry

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/tree-sparrow-photo-2472.html

 “So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are.  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not.

“And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He more surely care for you? You have so little faith!

“So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:24-34 NLT)

Thank You Lord, for speaking this word into my heart right now, when I’m beginning to get anxious.

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God’s timing is always perfect. He’s stretching me, and can I tell you? It’s scary sometimes. You see, I need to apply for disability, and there’s no guarantee that I will be approved. I may be without health insurance by the end of this month, and my husband’s pension and his business are not enough for us to live on, even if we get all of our debts paid off.

My way of dealing with difficult situations is to try not to look too hard at them (as I secretly hope that it will go away), while my husband’s way of dealing with things is to worry and talk things into the ground… Truth be told, neither way is very helpful, but I guess the Lord put us together to sort of balance things out… Because he dwells on things, I am forced to deal with those things that I’d rather just ignore and pretend aren’t there, and because I don’t like to dwell on the unpleasant, I’m able to lighten my husband’s burden.

So here we are. Because I’ve not been making the income I used to receive, we have fallen behind on our debts. I don’t like that. I want to be honorable and pay my debts, but I’m not able to do so. My sister and her husband graciously offered to give my husband and me a gift that will help to wipe out most of our debts back in September. I was truly humbled by the kindness of their generous offer.

http://mikecorthell.blogspot.com/2011/09/humble.html
I don’t know if any of you can relate to this, but I really was humbled by this offer. I had to let go of pride in order to accept their offer. Wow – pride is something that seems so right, and yet the Lord shows us over and over again just how wrong it really is. You see, I felt like a loser, because my husband and I don’t have a lot, but what we do have, we’ve worked for – until now. Now, I didn’t have to swallow my pride – I had to KILL my pride in order to accept their gift. You see, the Lord not only wants us to learn how to give graciously. He wants us to learn how to receive graciously.

At the time, she and her husband said they would give us this gift in a couple of weeks. Then, they told us they would give us the gift by the middle of November. That was last week. Now, I’ve got bill collectors calling and I told them that I would try to pay them by the end of the month, thinking that we would get the money by the middle of the month and we would be able to pay things off.

I haven’t allowed myself to think about things too much, but I’ll confess to you that I’m beginning to worry… So, I decide to go think about other things and continue writing about the Words of Jesus, and isn’t it just too funny that Jesus wants to talk to me about money and about worrying about what’s going to happen?

Is anyone else awed by how much He loves us? It’s no coincidence that this would be the   next scripture passage in this series of His words. He knew before the foundations of the earth were laid, that I would be sitting here trying not to worry and struggling, and so when He ordained me to begin this study, He planned that I would read His words about worrying and trusting in the Lord.

“So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing?” (Matthew 6:25 NLT) Yes Lord, life consists of far more than food and clothing. It consists of loving and being loved, of knowing You and walking with You, talking with You and trusting in You.

“Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are.” (Matthew 6:26 NLT) Thank You Lord, for loving me and for valuing me. Yes, thank You because I mean more to you than birds, or any other animal or creature… Thank You for calling me Your beloved, for calling me the apple of Your eye, for saying that I am precious in Your sight. Thank You, because if You take care of these creatures, how much more You will take care of me?

http://sundogsayings.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/field-of-dreams/

“And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He more surely care for you? You have so little faith!” (Matthew 6:30 NLT) Yes You will care for me Daddy. If You take care of flowers that are only here for such a short time, You will surely take care of my needs…You will surely take care of my medical needs when I have no insurance to pay for them, because You are Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals me… And yes Lord, I confess to You that my faith is much weaker than I thought. Lord, help my unbelief!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV) Lord, I choose to trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I want to please You, to seek You and Your kingdom. I’m seeking Your righteousness. Lord, I don’t just want to seek what You can give me or do for me. I want to seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness first. I want to see Your face. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You and not on my circumstances. Give me dove’s eyes Lord… I’m casting my cares on You, because You care for me, so I’ll trust You to take care of my needs.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34 NLT) Forgive me for worrying, Lord. You’re absolutely right. Tomorrow will bring its own worries. All I ask is that You help me deal with today’s trouble in Jesus’ name.

Father, thank You so much for Your holy word. Thank You for being an on-time God. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

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