Worry and chronic anxiety: thoughts from John

John D1

Thanks Phil for this morning’s sermonon Pslam 27  about worry – acknowledging that bad stuff happens, but assuring us that God the rock in whom we trust will not let us go.  You quoted the verse from Psalm 23 about God being with us in ‘the valley of the shadow of death.’  I think that is key to our deepest worries about personal security: if we realise that our bodies will one day die, but our spirits will live on, secure in God, then we can view personal danger with something of a sense of detachment.

But in everyday life, as you illustrated from your own experience, it’s hard to stop worrying, and even sometimes when we try to trust God,  the yearned-for sense of peace is not given.  This is particularly the case for those of us who have a clinical anxiety – a free-floating anxiety which latches on to promising worry-material in our lives  and plays havoc with our peace and mental health. Sometimes clinical anxiety requires listening therapy, or counselling, or medication as well as prayer and openness to God, remember that God’s healing comes to us through every channel of goodness.

But the anxious Christian can feel  that they are failing in their spiritual life because the peace God promises seems to elude them.  Where it’s possible – and sometimes it’s not possible because the anxiety is so all-consuming so that you simply have to hold on in the darkness – but where it’s possible it’s helpful to choose joy, to choose life, to choose love.

By this I mean saying – or praying  ‘Today I feel troubled and anxious, and I have prayed, and sought help, but still for some unaccountable reason you do not give me the peace for which I yearn. But help me today to life in the knowledge that life is good, that you love me, and that the joy once knew I will one day again experience. I affirm that these things are true. The darkness is real – but it’s like a mist which will, in time, vanish; it’s like tinted glass in a window which will, in time, be replaced by a clear pain. In my darkness, help me, without pretending, to live as a child of light and hope.’

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