4 Safeguards Against Struggling Spiritually When You are Struggling Emotionally
Written by Laura Webb, from Coffee & Connections, July 2017
1. Get in the Word of God.
Every day. I know we’re all busy, and have a million legitimate things going on – but this is the thing we should be fighting to get. Even if it’s just a little bit on busy days. No one wakes up in the morning and says they just don’t have time to eat today. If they do, they won’t last long. The Bible is spiritual food. You need it or you’ll starve.
If you have a faithless, or anxious, or despairing thought enter your mind. Call the lie a lie. Turn away from that Lie (that’s the repentance), replace it with the Truth of Scripture and then walk in obedience (that’s the faith part). Fight it with the Word.
2. Beware of “escaping” from your struggles into temptation or spiritual junk food.
It’s really easy when you’re depressed or anxious to want to bury your sorrows and escape into something mindless and with no spiritual value. Be careful of that. Nothing is ever neutral – you’re either sliding one way or the other. Be careful what you fill your mind with that’s not scripture.
I do know how hard it is to focus on spiritual truth from your quiet time when your brain is on a hamster wheel of anxiety. Sometimes you need something to distract you. I recommend distracting yourself with truth. There are some wonderfully encouraging podcasts and radio programs that will fill your mind with Biblical truth. I used to listen to that stuff when I was cleaning or doing something where my mind had free reign and I didn’t have enough stamina to fight it.
3. Surround yourself with Christ-like Community
I can’t stress this enough. Don’t isolate yourself. The Devil wants you to retreat so he can tell you whatever he wants and no one will be able to provide a check for you if you go off the spiritual rails. Get involved at Lakeview. Dig in with one or two you can really be honest with. Hold each other accountable.
4. Serve and Encourage Someone Else
When you are struggling emotionally, you tend to be very inwardly focused. There is nothing wrong with searching your heart, but chronic naval gazing isn’t from the Lord. When I am anxious, I can’t sit around thinking about how awful I feel or how anxious I am. One things that really helps is to get outside yourself and look for someone you can minister TO. Who can you help or encourage? What’s going on with them? How can you be the hands and feet of Jesus? Redirect your attention towards who God is, and towards serving or ministering. It will help.