I’ve added a new page to my blog called “Re-blogs of My Journey Toward Wholeness Posts.” It will be composed of copies of my posts in the “Journey Reblogs” category. The first two posts of my “Journey Toward Wholeness” are links under the heading “From the blog” titled “Hope Amid Anxiety” and “The Journey Begins.” The third post, “God Sends Comfort” follows the introductory info.
(Journey Toward Wholeness Reblog from 8/26/18 Journey Blog Post)
Among the notes I made when I went through Anxiety Valley, I found these prayers:
In my distress I cry out to You, Lord (Psalm 18:6*). My thoughts and feelings say that my interaction with You is inferior to that which other people experience. I feel sure it must be my fault that I’m not connecting well with You, but I don’t know how to do or be different. These thoughts have a grip on me, and I struggle to break loose. The panic continues.
I see the source of some of my panic this morning— I compare myself to others, and I think of myself as “less than” and “failure”
Lord Jesus, please help me get my eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2). Father, You have begun a good work in me and will continue until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). Please calm my anxious thoughts. Please help me stay, anchor, my mind on You .
Lord, I had thought that if I practiced certain devotional habits like read my Bible more or pray more (or practiced them better), then my spiritual life would look more like that of Christians I admire. But You are God, and You want real relationship with me, not some imitation I try to conjure up by copying other saints.
Thank You God for Your patience with this stubborn piece of clay!
From my current viewpoint on the other side of the valley, I can see that I had fallen into “comparison quicksand.” I can also see that God threw out a plank to me in two of the scriptures noted in my prayers: Hebrews 12:2 and Isaiah 26:3. [Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….” Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”] Now when I’m in a similar bog, I can grab that plank by getting my eyes off myself/other people and onto Him, and He can pull me out.
For me that is easier said than done, but it is worth the work. Otherwise, I would continue to sink down into the comparison quagmire.
*Psalm 18:6 (NIV) “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”
(Re-blog from 7/6/2018 Post–Journey Toward Wholeness #19)
In 2017 while I was still journeying through Anxiety Valley, I wrote in my journal:
Lord, You told the Israelites that You would help them, strengthen them, and hold them up with Your victorious right hand (Isaiah 41:10). Does that promise apply to me also? All of Your promises are “yes and amen” in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20), and I am in Jesus.
Thank You, Father, that You are helping me fight the fear and doubt. You are helping me believe You and not feelings. I wonder if I really believe You are helping, or just hoping You will. Whichever it is, maybe I can just choose to believe and trust You anyway. You are strengthening me. Please help me believe.
When my mind gets well, will it be easier to believe You? I hope I will feel like my belief is real and not just something I’m pretending to myself.
Now that I’m on the other side of that particular valley, I know the answer to my question— YES. It is easier to believe and trust God with a stable healthy mind.
Thank You Jesus for healing my mind, body and emotions. Thank You also for providing the capsule I take every morning to balance the brain chemicals that keep my mind stable. Amen.
Mark 9:24 “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (NKJV)
Isaiah 41:10 “ Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.” (Amplified Bible)
2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (NKJV)
Regrets came knocking again the other day, and I struggled with guilt and shame. Father, I wonder how You even put up with me, let alone love me! Over and over I’ve listened to doubt instead of to You and missed the blessings Your love offered.
Nevertheless, You once more saw my distress and spoke peace to me. You brought Scriptures to mind along with hymns I learned as a youth. Then you sang this little chorus to my heart with a familiar melody:
Underneath Christ's blood, underneath His blood,
All my sins and failures are underneath His blood.
Come rejoice with me! We can all be free
When we place our sins and failures underneath the blood.
Thank You, God, for being so patient with me! You are so gracious and merciful! I love You, Lord, because of Your amazing love.
God has given me a new day, another chance to “follow the Holy Spirit in every part of my life” (Gal. 5:25), and I’m thankful. Back in the dark days of depression and panic, I didn’t welcome the days as opportunities. Instead, I struggled through them wishing I could feel better and feeling afraid I never would.
Now I do feel better. I continue to need medicine to keep brain chemicals in balance, but I do very well as long as I take it. The “down” time was miserable, and I don’t recommend such experiences for anyone. But looking back, I can see how God used it to give my soul a boost. It triggered a change in my thinking patterns so that I could apply God’s Word to my mind and my life more. My faith in Jesus has grown, and I’m walking with Him more closely.
And now I can encourage those who are still going through extra tough times with anxiety/depression. I can say, “Maybe God is preparing a fresh start for you too. Or maybe He’s preparing you for something new. Whatever He’s doing, you can be sure God is working. We can trust Him.”
Thank You, Father, for today, another day to walk with Jesus and live for Him. Amen.
Father, please help me live today in a way that brings joy, not sorrow, to Your Holy Spirit because You have identified me as Your own (Ephesians 4:30 NLT: “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.”)
Ephesians 4:30 brings other verses to mind, like the ones in Romans 8 which tell me that nothing can separate me from God’s love and Hebrews 13:5 that says God will never fail or abandon me.
An old hymn also comes to mind: “Never Alone” which we sang with this chorus:
“No, never, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me. He’ll claim me for His own. No, never, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.”
One of my journals from 2017 contained this entry:
“Another bad night last night. Lord, You are my God. The truth is that You are here, that You love me, that I am Your child, and that You hear and answer my prayers.
“But today I’m having trouble believing the truth. The fear and the lies shout loudly, and I don’t feel Your presence. I have trouble hearing Your voice. I want, need, to know You and walk in real relationship with You. Could I please have a sense of Your presence today? Would you show me how to come into Your secret place and hide under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91)?”
I wonder why I had so much trouble trusting the truth. Maybe because my brain chemicals needed adjustment. Or maybe because I wanted to feel like those things were true. When I started telling myself that I could choose to believe the truth no matter what things seemed like or what my natural feelings were, I made spiritual progress. As Moses told the people, “Today I set before you life and death. Therefore, choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19).” To choose to believe the truth—that’s life. To choose to believe the lies and how I feel—that’s death. Now I’m free to choose truth and life.
What an unsettling time to live! Maybe that’s why I found Isaiah 43:1 particularly reassuring.
“But now, this is what the Lord says — he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1 NIV)
You, Lord God, are speaking through Isaiah to Israel in this verse, and You also speak to me. You have created me. You formed me in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). You redeemed me from the bondage of sin and self with the blood of Jesus.
I think of lines from hymns I used to sing in church: “Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me. He has redeemed me, and I am His child” (“Under His Wings”-William O. Cushing). “Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the lamb, redeemed by His infinite mercy—His child and forever I am”(“Redeemed”-Fanny Crosby).
Having made me, You know me completely. With Your infinite knowledge, You even know my name! (“…He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”—John 10:3 NIV)
What a comfort to remember these things when I feel unsteady or fearful!
Journey toward Wholeness Re-blog #16, December 23, 2020 (First Published March 28, 2018)
Day by day, I’m still learning on this journey toward wholeness. I struggle with lessons in many areas including the area of corralling wild thoughts. Thankfully, God hasn’t given up on me.
The “wild thoughts” don’t cause as big a problem now as they did a couple of years back. At that time, one thought triggered others which went in a dozen different directions–all scary or sad. I remembered a phrase from 2 Corinthians 10:5, “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.” The New Living Translation puts the phrase into these words: “We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” I couldn’t seem to capture my rebellious, tangled thinking. But I’m learning–
Medicine helps. Practicing focus on verses or passages of the Bible helps. Also prayer, And just speaking the thought or thoughts out loud and saying, “Jesus, I’m bringing this thought/ these thoughts captive to You. Please help me now to think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)”–this makes a difference sometimes too.