7.Deal with stress and anxiety by embracing the blessing of brokenness.
When I was in the worst of my depression and anxiety, there were days when getting out of bed was difficult work. Just the sound of my alarm brought with it a sense of dread that made no rational sense but gripped me all the same. Hardly a moment went by when I was not painfully aware of my shortcomings as a man, as a husband, as a dad and as a leader. It was awful. And it was wonderful. It created in me a dependency like I’d never previously experienced. I held onto Jesus with white knuckles as I prayed my way out of panic attacks. When my wife, Megan, prayed over me it wasn’t something I just thought we should probably do, it was something I desperately needed every single day. Words like that of Psalm 23 weren’t just nice words to casually read at leisure or embroider on a throw blanket. They were my life.
This is the blessing of brokenness. There are some things about God that can only be learned through suffering. There are some things he has for us that can only be received in the valley. Sometimes I wonder if this isn’t why God refused to take away Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Because a broken and dependent Paul was a Paul through whom God could change the world. He was the kind of Paul that could write and mean words like this:
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take this suffering away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
If you are walking through the valley of anxiety right now, there is a way out and I pray you find it. But in the meantime, don’t miss what God may have for you right where you are.