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Judy Lair is a licensed counselor and owner of Counselorplace Christian Counseling. She is the author of “From the Other Side of the Couch: A Biblical Counselor’s Guide to Relational Living.” Judy’s personal struggles with fear led her through the valley of hurt and sorrow. She now embraces a joy-filled life grounded in God’s truth and freedom in Christ. Judy uses her professional counseling expertise to tell stories that help people find healing and freedom. Her vulnerable, godly approach helps people find courage to move from Fear to Freedom. For more information or speaking requests, email JudyLair@counselorplace.com or sign up for blog posts at http://judylair.blogspot.com

 “Freedom is attainable. Trust me, I’ve been on the anxiety side, gone through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and now I’m praising God, eating at the banqueting table, and helping others make the same journey. Whether you find yourself stuck in anxiety, disappointment, grief, or confusion, your heart can be set free.” Judy Lair, “From the Other Side of the Couch.”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Faith Calms Anxiety Storms

Luke 8 tells us the account of Jesus falling asleep in a boat as his disciples sailed across the Sea of Galilee. A storm came up and the boat was in danger of being swamped by water. As the disciples looked at the waves, fear and anxiety climbed and their ability to see truth decreased. Panicked, the disciples woke Jesus up declaring they were on the verge of drowning. Jesus did an assessment and calmly rebuked the storm. He then asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?”

I don’t think he was chastising them for having worry and fear, because those are human traits we all share. I believe he was calling attention to the same fearful response we all utilize--relying on our own resources. These guys had been fishermen all their lives. They’d been through countless storms on this body of water. The wind, rain, and waves must have been extremely outrageous for these strong, capable men to fear for their lives and ask for help.

Faith is about a person. The disciples tried to handle the difficult circumstances in their own strength, only calling on Jesus once they came to the end of their human abilities to deal with the circumstances. God doesn’t always promise to immediately rebuke the anxiety storms in our life, but he does promise to give us strength and truth when we bring him into the situation.

I believe we’re created to reach out to God and other safe people to give us truth to use as an anchor in the midst of our anxiety storms. We see Peter’s growth in understanding Jesus’ message when he later walked on water towards Jesus. This time his initial response to an anxiety-producing event was to move forward toward Jesus, only sinking when he focused on his fear.

Holding onto truth when emotions are on high alert is hugely daunting. When panic sets in, we automatically equate feeling with truth, believing “If I feel this much fear about something, then my worry must be true. If my worry is true, then I absolutely, must, always do whatever relieves the anxiety.” Truth cannot enter into this equation. When we separate truth from God’s heart, we do not have the courage and emotional energy to withstand the anxiety storm.

Practice moving toward God in the middle of your anxiety storms. By an act of your will, declare your faith in his heart for you and trust in his ability to bring you through the storm.

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