Dealing with Anxiety and Stress
Written By Linda Schreckenberg
Ryan Wardwell, Carmel, IN
We’re not experiencing an escalated sense of anxiety in these times. Fear and anxiety seem to work hand in hand, and fear is typically rooted in having no vision. God’s people perish because they have no vision. I immediately brought a vision to our church during the pandemic and began having “Monday Miracle Night” prayer meetings. We’ve seen miracles and have set a great direction/vision for our church.
The altar and Biblical counseling conquer mild to moderate mental health issues. Jesus Christ conquered the battle of the mind on the Cross, the “place of the skull,” so it’s no surprise we must fight on the battlefield of the mind. I’m very hesitant about using mind-altering medications. Most men and women who have fought in wars have dealt with PTSD, but research has proven that if a war was an absolute win, less of them deal with it. Many may be struggling mentally solely because of a war they’ve lost in their minds.
Non-Christian-based specialists incorporate non-biblical therapeutics and cause more confusion than help. Thankfully, there’s a growing ministry of Apostolic counselors, although I’ve not had that need in our church thus far.
Roger Parrett, Platte City, MO
There’s an escalated sense of anxiety in the church today. Some within the body of Christ think of politicians, etc. as leaders, but God is in charge, and our kingdom is not of this world. During the pandemic, my congregation had the option to watch the live feeds or come to church. Our District Superintendent went around our state and prayed over every county for churches to reopen. Early one morning, at 3:00 a.m., our county had an emergency meeting and decided that churches could reopen.
We have a pastor in our section that is a licensed therapist/counselor. I encourage Apostolic counseling if I can’t help people, using Biblical references with love. I would never go to someone who doesn’t know God, to answer life’s questions. Psychiatrists sometimes medicate without going to the root of the problem. I don’t like mental or mood medications, and I have a negative opinion of the mental health industry. If we let God take control, He will take control of everything. I do get involved in multi-session marriage counseling. The idea of “I’ve got this!” in couples doesn’t just make issues go away, but counseling sessions do bring good results.
Timothy Blackwell, Rolla, M
There’s an escalated “fear factor” on every level in the church. Those who I least expected to cave under pressure have done so. Others who appeared unstable have “risen to the top” with courage and determination in these times.
“In the multitude of counselors, there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14) However, anything non-biblically based is only a temporary fix, not a solution. I’ve recommended Apostolic counseling in the past with positive results. If I’m able to speak into the life of someone, I will attempt to counsel them.
I’ve never recommended medication for anxiety, because “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7) As a pastor, it is my job to love them back to health, and for some, it may take more time than others.
Ryan Thomas, Terre Haute, IN
There’s an escalated sense of anxiety in the church today with all that is going on. We have a good counseling staff, and we’re connected to outside mental resources, like Mental Health for America. Non-Apostolic, as well as Apostolic counseling, can be effective.
Prayer can overcome mental health issues, but sometimes a person needs professional help to get their lives back in balance. Medications are over-prescribed, but conditions are massively undertreated. These people have so many needs, but most of all, they need church. When someone coming to our food pantry feels they need several boxes of cereal to feel good, we don’t restrict them. Who knows what they’ve gone through?
I do premarital and post-marital counseling with a minimum of twelve sessions. However, there are times when counseling is inappropriate in a marriage and can bring up old feelings until the couple is ready to move forward and heal.
Brad Robinson, Raymore, MO
I’m finding that with everything going on in today’s world, there is more news-driven anxiety and stress in the church than ever before.
In today’s society, I wouldn’t hesitate to direct someone to a qualified Christian counselor. I would also recommend Christian counseling to those with various anxiety and stress-related issues. However, many of our current issues are because of a lack of spending time in prayer and in the Word of God. Also, faithfulness to the house of God is of paramount importance to maintain your emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Charles Hurst, Bangor, ME
There’s an escalated sense of anxiety in the church today because the Bible says men’s hearts will fail them for fear in the last days. People are fearful that the vaccine will lead to the mark of the beast.
A man in our church with a master’s degree worked at the Bangor Mental Health Institute. We worked together in counseling, using the Bible. He said this to me; “Pastor, I know every psychiatrist in this town, and you’re the best counselor I’ve ever listened to.” Some issues like bipolar disorder may require medication, but I encourage people to use natural things that will help them, rather than mind-changing drugs. I have no confidence in counselors who don’t know God. The Word says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Prov. 23:7a)
My marriage counseling involves multi-sessions, and I prefer to do it before marriage. One couple who said that they didn’t have time for premarital counseling couldn’t get along after marriage and came back for counseling. Marriage is about learning how to compromise. My wife and I have implemented this, and our great marriage has lasted fifty-eight years.
Miguel Hernandez, Stockton, C
There’s a heightened sense of anxiety in the church amidst the pandemic, but people are hungry to come back to church. There is a strong message of trusting the science, though. We still see people outside or driving with masks. Our church greets one another and shows the enemy we’re stronger than before. We prospered during COVID and even renovated without financing it.
Jesus is the answer for every situation in counseling mental health issues. If people need professional help, we refer them only to faith-based professional Christian counselors. California’s homeless issue is huge, but people who were once in that situation themselves are great counselors for them.
We recommend faith-based counseling to everyone getting married now. People that are waiting longer to get married are like thickly molded branches; they are molded in their own ways. We were like twigs when we got married in years past. Pastor just called you to his office, and the situation was resolved.