Church planters often struggle with anxiety. There are financial snags, disagreeable people and governmental obstacles that feel like they were sent from hell just to keep you feeling jittery and unsettled. The good news is that help is available. I even wrote about it in a book I about my personal struggles with both chronic and acute anxiety.
Several years ago, I had an acute panic/anxiety attack. The one good thing about it was that it taught me empathy and compassion toward people who have lost control over their emotions. The bad part about it was that it happened at all—I was weak and shattered.
Anxiety Blocks Sleep
If anxiety sleeps on your pillow, I’m hoping that my experience will allow me to come alongside you to help you ease the pain in this battle. I think I can coach you to a more peaceful life.
The experience rattled the core of my being. I was helpless and felt far from God and everyone around me. I’ll describe the experience in more detail later in the book. But it is enough to say that nothing I ever believed about anxiety or depression, or even God, added up during those long and painful days.
I felt like that fellow “Humpty Dumpty who sat on a wall… “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.” The nursery rhyme goes on to say that, “…all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” My life came unglued and nothing I did on my own would repair the damage. Believe me, I spent much time in prayer and reading the Bible, but something in my brain would not allow me to feast on the promises God makes to us.
Tears of Despair
In sheer desperation we called our family doctor. I was shaking and in tears–my wife made the call. The short story is that he prescribed a medication, which calmed me quite rapidly. Years later, I still use the same drug, in smaller doses. Since that difficult time, I have learned several techniques for managing chronic anxiety and I am into my Bible and prayer more than ever. In other words, this is a war that needs to be fought on several fronts simultaneously and continuously.
I will write more about medications than any other tool in this book. This is not because I believe that medications are the final answer to anything. Nor does it mean that I diminish the spiritual dimensions of anxiety. However, my purpose is to counteract those people, in your life, who condemn others for finding help in a physician’s prescription pad.
The fact is that a certain level of anxiety travels alongside any healthy individual—we need it to protect us from things we should legitimately fear. For instance, anxiety over injury will keep you from stepping in front of an oncoming bus. But anxiety can overstep its boundaries leaving you very unhealthy. When that happens, life is bound and blinded by emotional pain. We can’t eliminate anxiety but can control it, so it doesn’t control us.
You Can Win This War
It is possible to defeat the monster that threatens you daily. You can overcome it so that it does not overcome you.
The goal of this book is not to cure you. The first intent is to give you hope because you wouldn’t be reading it if you weren’t searching for hope in a hurting time. After that I intend to hand you a practical toolkit for managing stress and anxiety over the long haul. I prayed much as I wrote these few short pages. My prayer is for those who will read the book. Specifically, I pray that my insights will spare you unnecessary pain. I trust my story and the tools I’ve collected will help you along your own journey.
If you think I can help, check my book Defeating Anxiety, available from Amazon.
If you’ve read the book and found help, you could help others by A. leaving a comment below. B. Posting a review on Amazon. I’d be grateful!