Why am I experiencing an anxiety disorder if I am a Christian?

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    Focus on the Family

    Christians are not immune to anxiety disorders. One tragic notion that persists in some Christian circles is the idea that problems like anxiety are primarily, if not completely, spiritual in nature. Many Christians sincerely believe that a person should not experience anxiety disorders if he or she just has enough faith and trust in God. That is simply not true.

    Well-meaning Christians may quote Scripture passages such as, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear … whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18, ESV).

    This verse reminds us that God is greater than anything we will face in this world, and it assures us of the confidence we can enjoy when we stand before God someday. But it was not written as a pronouncement on anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders can affect a person’s spiritual life, and spiritual issues may be interwoven with a person’s anxiety, but to say that the person with an anxiety disorder should simply trust God more is like telling the woman with a broken bone that she should just have greater faith, and she will be well. We wouldn’t scold or throw out-of-context Bible verses at a person with a broken bone. Why would we do that to a fellow believer who’s suffering the torments of an anxiety disorder?

    In a similar vein, some Christians disparage the use of medications in treating anxiety disorders or other mental health problems. But we wouldn’t dismiss a diabetic who takes insulin as someone who obviously lacks trust in God. In the same way, we ought not to look at those who take medication for anxiety as somehow deficient in their faith.

    If you know of someone who is dealing with an anxiety disorder, and they feel that the use of medications is somehow sinful or evidence of a lack of faith, urge them to reconsider. For some people, the use of medications is a lifeline, allowing them to function normally and helping them to reconnect with others and with God in ways that might not otherwise be possible.

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