I’ve grappled with anxiety for about seven years now. The root of this stressful struggle was triggered by traumatic life circumstances. At times it depletes and drains my soul of all strength.
I’m beyond grateful that I reached out for help four years ago, saw a licensed counselor, and sought other avenues of healing.
I remember the car ride to my first counseling appointment—I was absolutely terrified. My anxiety heightened. It was one of the scariest steps I’ve ever taken, but little did I know it would produce the most peace and joy and freedom I’ve ever experienced.
My first counselor had a calm, anchoring presence. She soothed my fears gently and swiftly. A life preserver was tossed to me in that first session and in the following ones. I was rescued from drowning in the ocean of crashing fears—my soul, my heart, and my mind finally began to experience what it is like to rest and be at peace after much turmoil.
The Role of Counselors
Jesus does not want us to suffer in silence. Instead, He desires that we seek someone to sift through our pain and traumas with us so that we can find healing from whatever haunts us. We never have to go it alone!
We need the wisdom of someone who can understand the battles we face, who is trained to comprehend how the human heart and mind works. Their expertise is a safe place we can enter in:
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).
Counselors are instruments God uses to help bring about healing in a person’s soul. They aid in piecing us back together as they learn our stories, offering feedback and practical tips to overcome what ails our hearts all the while pointing us to the Truth.
Sifting through life with a counselor is in turn good practice for casting all our anxieties onto the shoulders of Jesus who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Do Not Fear Reaching Out
Anxiety can be extremely crippling.
It can be equally paralyzing, however, to bare your soul to someone about your mental health struggles. In the end, though, it’s worth the quality of life that’s likely to occur as a result of seeking help.Anxiety can be crippling. It can be equally paralyzing to bare your soul to someone about your mental health struggles. But in the end it’s worth the quality of life that can occur when we seek help. Click To Tweet
To the heart who is struggling like I have, do not be terrified to ask for rescue. I urge you, if you wrestle with anxiety, depression, or a past that hinders and haunts you, please reach out! Jesus meets that same reach through counselors who function as His physical hands and feet.
If I had to write a piece of advice to my former self—agonizing whether to get help or not—I would have shouted, “Do it! Go! It’s the best decision for your well-being.”
Ignore the Stigma
I wish the stigmas related to mental health and seeking professional help could be eradicated once and for all. I wish we could break down the barriers of shame and condemnation that keep dear suffering, aching minds from getting the help they deserve and need.
But the only way to eradicate the stigmas is to refuse to believe them ourselves.I wish the stigmas related to mental health and seeking professional help could be eradicated once and for all. But the only way to eradicate the stigmas is to refuse to believe them ourselves. Click To Tweet
You very well may face shame and condemnation from society, your church, or even your friends and family if you choose to seek help and pursue counseling, but you don’t have to allow that to stop you. While it is difficult, you can ignore what people might say or think and do the right, good thing by getting the proper aid.
Life is just too short to spend it in the dark, agonizing over your anxieties.
Pass On Comfort Received
Maybe you did reach out at some point and received help and healing like I have. In that case, you are in the perfect position to encourage others to go to counseling as well:
“…we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Consider these words of wisdom from Morgan Harper Nichols: “Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.”“Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” - Morgan Harper Nichols Click To Tweet
Our journey has whacked down the tall grass and thorns along the path and created a way through for those in our wake.
Jesus’ Heart for Hurting Humanity
Jesus’ ministry was beautifully immersed in compassion and healing. He was and is the answer for every ailment thinkable to the human body and soul. There is an outpouring of eternal, tenderhearted love waiting for us on the other side of seeking healing.
The power of Almighty God is perfected when we are at our very weakest. Our struggle and utter vulnerability ignite the enveloping strength of our loving Father to revive our tired-out souls (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
As cliché as it might sound, anxiety is a blessing in disguise, because as Ruth Chou Simons points out, we are ushered into God’s throne room when need strikes: “Deep need is meant to be the mercy that drives you to the throne of grace.”
We shouldn’t feel guilty if anxiety is a problem for us because whether there’s a physical cause or a spiritual cause, we can bring it to the willing, nail scarred hands of Jesus.We shouldn’t feel guilty if anxiety is a problem for us because whether there’s a physical cause or a spiritual cause, we can bring it to the willing, nail scarred hands of Jesus. Click To Tweet
However, a quick disclaimer: Just because you see counselors and do all the things doesn’t guarantee that your anxiety will completely disappear, or you won’t have days of struggle. But the burden can greatly dissipate having others help “bear the burden” and offer wisdom we’re incapable of obtaining if we journey alone (Galatians 6:2).
“I love you, O LORD, my strength…In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears…He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me” (Psalm 18:1;6;19).