Anxiety

Taking it to the Briar Patch

For those who don't know the Disney's story "Song of The South" a character named Brer Rabbit, who after being captured by old Brer Fox and bear, began to plead with them "...you can do anything to me, but please don't throw me in the Briar Patch!"

When these two old fools heard his pleads for mercy they threw him into the briar patch, it was then that old Brer Rabbit begin to chant, "BORN AND BRED IN THE BRIAR PATCH!"

The point was he used strategy to out think them. They thought they were hurting him, when in actuality they were hurling him into a safe and profitable place.

When Our Beliefs are Called into Question

The Physical, Mental and Spiritual Disciplines

Speaking from experience, Philip Yancey writes, "For nearly everyone, doubt follows pain quickly and surely, like a reflex action. Suffering calls our most basic beliefs about God into question." Suffering often causes us to doubt, to question our beliefs, to wrestle with everything we ever thought we knew about God: about who He is, about what He is up to, about the very nature of His heart. All these doubts and questions can be fertile ground for spiritual growth. Go ahead and out, question, wrestle – just be sure to use this time and out to seek to know him desperately. He will keep your heart open to God so that you can hear the answers to those questions.

How do we keep our hearts open? How do we grow closer to God in our trials, instead of crashing down into bitterness and despair? That is where the physical, mental and spiritual disciplines come in.

The Physical Disciplines

Taking care of our bodies

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Who Needs Recovery?

Recovery involves the entire person: spiritual, physical, emotional and mental. You can recover from abuse, addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, shame, guilt, anger, alcoholism, codependency, suffering, grief, depression and more!

You probably need to consider seeking help if:

  • The last thing in the world you want to do is talk about your possible areas of "stuckness".
  • Your life is getting to be a repeat of one disaster after another.
  • You are finding you feel less and less in control over problems you once thought were under control.
  • You have noticed an increase in the frequency of the behaviors that you believe are a problem (lying, stealing, drinking, eating, gambling, etc.)
  • You have family members that have begun to show concern about problem areas in your life.
  • Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2

    by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

    We resist getting help

    In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

    Fear

    It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

    Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 1

    by Dale & Juanita Ryan
    See: Part 2 | Part 3

    The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.

    This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.

    Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is

    Is Fear "Normal?"

    We take fear for granted.

    I think we live in a culture of fear. We're quite literally immersed in it. We're so accustomed to being afraid that we don't even realize how much this embedded fear drives our thinking, attitudes, and choices.

    For all of our talk about freedom we seem obsessed with power and control. We have this insatiable need to manipulate others and control our environment, and I believe it's mostly rooted in insecurity and fear.

    How much of your time and attention is devoted to avoiding every conceivable risk—or even the appearance of risk? How much do you worry about “threats” that aren't meaningful threats at all?

    How much energy do you expend controlling others? How much do you seek power through some form of coercion, as though it's just the way it's supposed to be?

    What's the cost of all that fear?

    Are You Worried about God's Provision?


    The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    the righteous run into it and are safe.
    The wealth of the rich is their strong city;
    in their imagination it is like a high wall.
    Proverbs 18:10-11 NRSV


    America is imploding on itself. And, unfortunately, as America goes, often goes the rest of the world. Home foreclosures are up; unemployment is up. Institutions that were reliable are shaky, at best. While it's important to be prudent, there may soon be no good choices left that provide for a stable economic future . . . except obedience to the Word. As believers, we always have a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) because our trust isn't in the institutions and economy of this world, but our hope is in the Lord. The apostle Peter wrote:

    He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.,/span> 1 Peter 1:3b-4 NRSV

    God Fights for His People

    There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10:14


    We don't have to attack and subdue physical cities - which in any care aren't walled today, military technology having changed since Joshua's day. Paul said that "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" 2 Cor. 10:4, and that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Eph. 6:12 We fight, we struggle, but not against physical enemies. Even when the church faces persecution from human beings, with very real guns, very real prisons, very real torturers, and very real executioners, the very real struggle isn't against those tools of Satan, but against the spiritual wickedness which impels men to act so barbarically.

    And we're not in the fight alone. There may be no armed and armored armies beside us, and there may be no massive forces to back us up, but we're not alone. On the contrary, the Lord fights for us.

    Not Sure What to Do?

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not rely on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge Him
    and He shall direct your paths.
    Proverbs 3:5-6

    This implies that God is always present with us, is willing to be consulted by us, and will surely attend to us.

    This implies that our way is likely to be difficult, dark, and perplexing; a way in which we have never traveled before, and in which we are likely to be misled.

    This implies that only way to be safe, to walk securely--is to seek Divine direction; and this God is willing to give--but He will have us ask it of Him. We are dependents--and we must realize our dependence. We are but children--and we must feel it, and act as under the impression of it.

    "In all your ways acknowledge Him."

    You have His Word--consult it; make it your counselor, your directory and your guide.

    You have His promise--believe it; He says, "I will teach you and instruct you in the way which you shall go, I will guide you with My eye."

    Hold Fast !

    Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. Revelation 2:25


    Jesus asked, "when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8 Sometimes, as we look around us, we wonder if He will. There are so many - individuals, congregations, denominations - who haven't held fast anything, but have piece by piece or wholesale given away the most precious truths in the universe, exchanging the Word of God for a bowl of weak, watery, unsatisfying something.

    Jesus has called us to hold fast what we have. We don't know everything about God's will, His plan, His purpose, or His activity, but what we do know, we are to cling to. We have His Word - I could reach out my hand from my chair right now, and touch or pick up 15 separate copies of the Bible, plus what's on my computer - and we are to hold fast to it. And this isn't merely the physical printed Book. As wonderful as it is to be able to own 15 copies of the Bible (there are places in the world where a single copy, or a single book of the Bible, has to suffice for an entire congregation), it's not enough to own them, or even read and study them. Someone who's drowning in Bibles, yet lets what it says slip through the fingers of his mind as water slips through the fingers of his hands, might as well never have seen a Bible in his life.

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