Let’s be honest, acknowledging the breadth and impact of your depressive-anxious struggle is not going to make it better at first. If our only goal is relief, then this is a bad strategy. But if our goal is to overcome our depressive-anxious struggle, to whatever degree this is possible, then this type of assessment is the only strategy. Ignorance may allay our fear-despair in the moment, but compounds them in the long run.
Why bring this up? Because many who struggle with anxiety-depression get into the emotional habit of trading dimes for nickels because they are larger and perceived as having more value (a cruel joke big brothers have played on little brothers since the minting of coins began). The emotional equivalent is pursuing short-term relief in a way that increases long-term distress. Until we are willing to stop making this trade we will be emotionally bankrupt no matter how hard we work to earn more dimes to trade for nickels.
The hope this chapter provides is that it equips us to take every future step with greater effectiveness. The information gleaned in the midst of completing this step is what will allow cliché advice to become a well-tailored strategy. Knowing your struggle better will allow you to move from using God’s Word as a source of broad-general principles to targeted truths combating core lies that undergird your depressive-anxious struggle.
“The first step toward overcoming your fears is to locate them… The attractiveness of God's words to you depends on it. If you can't see your fears and worries, then God's words of comfort won't go deep (p. 5).” Ed Welch in When I Am Afraid Remind yourself of this when you are tempted to say this chapter is “too hard.” Christians have always had to discipline themselves to remember key truths in hard times (Lamentations 3:21ff). Do not try to accomplish this on your own. Enlist friends, small group members, a pastor, or a counselor to become a support network that prays for you in this process and with whom you can share when the process is hard. Don’t forget to pray for God’s strength. He does not hear your cries for help as whining. Throughout the Bible he invites you to call upon him.
In this chapter we will seek to answer three questions in our effort to “acknowledge the breadth and impact of our depressive-anxious struggle.”
When is depression-anxiety sinful?What kinds of thinking undergird depression-anxiety?What areas of life are affected by depression-anxiety?
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