Anxiety

Anonymous asked:

Hi! So I lately I’ve been having a lot of anxiety/panic attacks. I’ve dealt with this in the past, but never as bad as this. It’s started to effect me from going to church & even just hanging with my friends cos I get so anxious. I know that we’re called to walk in freedom and I don’t want this to stop me from interacting with people & following God’s plan for my life. But right now I’m feeling pretty trapped by my anxiety. Help?

I answered:

I am not a medical professional, but I know enough to know that anxiety and panic attacks are medical conditions, like depression, which we have discussed on this blog before. For some reason, people are much less understanding about mental health issues than they would be about physical health issues, even with their own. 

You would probably never hear someone tell a friend that they needed to pray harder to get over their diabetes, but some people who prescribe prayer and Bible for things like depression and anxiety. That is not right, and it is not helpful.

If you can, it would probably be helpful to visit with a mental health professional. Someone who deals with this stuff for a living is very often the quickest route to getting some wisdom on it. There should be no shame in meeting with a counselor or psychiatrist, and anyone putting any on it is a ridiculous person.

Your anxiety is not a weakness or a character flaw, it is just a part of who you are. But it is possible foothold for the enemy, if you let it start a negative spiral. Say your anxiety gets the best of you one night and you don’t go hang out with your friends, that doesn’t mean you are an outcast forever, it doesn’t mean that God’s purpose for your life is passing you by, it just means you stayed in one night.

You have a problem, not a disqualification or a definition. God is used to dealing with problems, it’s kind of His thing. Get some good wisdom, preferably from a professional, and take it one obstacle at a time. Don’t beat yourself up if you hit a wall, just take some deep breaths 


-Matt from The Bridge

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Episode 44 of the Say That podcast is up!

How to help someone without guilting them? What does the Bible actually say about divorce and remarriage? What does a godly dating relationship look like? Plus, a new holiday tradition: gripesgiving!

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Tired of Being Single

Anonymous asked:

Hi, I am a 25 year old single woman. I have never had a relationship, but I long for one with a Christian man. I come from a small town, and all the people in my congregation, even those my age, are married with kids, except for the youth and children. I have been praying for God to send my husband my way, but am starting to wonder if I am doing things wrong. How can a single Christian woman like me stop being single?

I answered:

Believe me, you are by no means the only young woman in this position. I have gotten questions from dozens of them. Turns out that kissing dating goodbye turned out to be a terrible idea. 

It is a good thing that you want to take an active part in acknowledging your desires and wants. Despite what people tell young Christians, especially girls, it is okay to want things. It is okay to want a relationship, and it is okay to take steps towards making that happen.

There are some very practical steps you can take. You can look into internet dating sites. There are a wide range and they do some of the initial work of finding someone. These married friends of your’s probably have single male friends. it is time to engage the LCM (Lady’s Christian Mafia) on said single males via the setup. You could also see if maybe a larger local church has a single’s group that meets at a time you could go.

You can also try something like volunteering at a new place or getting involved some other kind of group. If the current well is dry, it is time to try some new avenues.

There is one more thing to give yourself permission to do: if you meet a guy you like, ask him out, or at least make it clear that if he asked you out, you would say “yes”. And by “make it clear” I mean say the words “if you asked me out, I would say yes.”

It is a good thing to be proactive, but you want to make sure you keep prayer in the forefront of this process. And you probably won’t marry the first guy you date, don’t feel pressure. Every date, relationship or interaction will teach you something about what you want, what you don’t want, who you are in a relationship, etc. God has someone great for you, finding them is part of the adventure, not just a puzzle to be solved.


-Matt from The Bridge

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Your emotions do not erase the Bible. It is not “with God all things are possible…but”, there is no “but”. God has things for you today. God has changes He is making in your life. One of the biggest things you can do to slow that process is decide beforehand that they are impossible.

Lee Younger on episode 43 of the Say That podcast

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What Does it Mean to be Qualified for Ministry?

Anonymous asked:

I’m training to work in ministry, but am doubting if I can do it well enough. I have health issues that can effect my daily life and spend a lot of time in frustration with God about why He made me this way and why He has given me these things to deal with. I am worrying if this frustration will cripple me from having an affective ministry and if I will just be faking by trying to show others that this is the life they want. I really want to be apart of this, but I don’t want to be faking it.

I answered:

There is an old saying in ministry: “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” People do not get into ministry because they are the most squared away person in the world, they go into ministry out of love and obedience to God who called them there.

The fact that you are worried about the damage that faking it would do tells me that you have a real head and heart for ministry. A lot of people would just double down on the hiding and fronting off.

Let’s do a little thought experiment. Let’s say you had no frustrations with God. No doubts or gripes, you were just blissfully happy with the way He made you and the way your life has gone at every turn. You would be terrible at ministry, because no one else feels that way.

Everybody is frustrated with God, that is part of our fallen condition. We want things different from how God has put them, that is true for everyone. Whether that is physical appearance, being shy, being neurotic, being insecure, or any number of things, everybody feels that way at least some of the time. They may all be doing a better job at hiding it, but that doesn’t change the fact.

You have things you bring to the table. Honesty about frustration with God is something that other people wish they could articulate, and you have a handle on that. 

Being honest about your struggles and frustrations is an invaluable way to gain credibility in ministry. It seems to me that maybe the devil is trying to convince you that your strength is a weakness to scare you off. Don’t fall for it. If you are honest and willing to believe God can use you, He will, and He will do it in ways you wouldn’t even believe right now.


-Matt from The Bridge

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Lust, Guilt and Fear

Anonymous asked:

Hello. I am a female struggling with lust, sexual sin, and masturbation. I am not sure what to do or how to deal with this anymore. I know that I want it to end. I have tried reading self help books and seeking advice online, but most if it seems to apply to men, and it is not really helpful. Also, a lot of the advice seems very rule based, and I keep on breaking the rules and finding myself sinning again. I long for a relationship, but I am scared that no one will ever love me if I tell them my sexual secrets. I am very ashamed, but I know that God wants better for me. Do you know what I can or should do?

I answered:

The problem in this situation is not you being interested in sex. Sex is good. It was created by God to be good, inside a loving, committed marriage. You don’t have one of those, so curiosity and desire are totally understandable. And when those combine with a high-speed internet connection, your situation makes a lot of sense.

The problems are guilt and fear. Guilt keeps you in a cycle. You do the thing, you feel so guilty that you feel like you can’t go to God, then you try to fix it on your own, screw it up, and end up right back where you started. Guilt is what is planting the lie that you are disqualified from love because of this. (Which by the way is ridiculous spiritually and because I’ve never met a guy who would think “she’s great, I love her, the problem is I think she might like sex too much”).

Fear is the other thing that holds people back. The most practical, important thing you can do is talk to someone about your problem, face to face, in an ongoing discipleship context. I bet that is also about the scariest thing you can imagine doing. As someone who has sat down with a trusted friend and had that exact conversation, let me tell you: the world will not end, and the weight you feel lifted off you will be almost unbelievable. The lies that are being spoken into your heart about this, that you are dirty, that it disqualifies you from God’s love, that no one will ever want to be with you because of this, will be killed once they are dragged out into the light.

The reason there are so few materials out there for women dealing with sexual struggles is a christian publishing problem. It is not an indication that you are alone. I get messages about this problem regularly. Find someone you can be honest and open with and you can start moving forward. And remember, any guy who would hold this against is you doing you the favor of outing himself as a jerk early on. Everybody has their past, and Christ has taken it off you.


-Matt from The Bridge

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Obedience

Anonymous asked:

Obedience just seems like a carrot in front of a rabbit. Are my sins really keeping me from what I really want? Some part of me knows I’m only being obedient to get what I want.

I answered:

A lot of us have been given the idea of Jesus as the school principal. He is around to make sure everybody is following the rules and you really don’t want to get his attention or get called into the office. You play by the rules, He will be cool and if you don’t He will crush you.

That is not biblical though. The professional analogy that Jesus makes about himself is that of a doctor (Mark 2:17). If you had a disease that was destroying you, and a doctor gave you prescriptions and a regimen on how to get healthy, you wouldn’t be thinking “I am only doing this to get what I want”. You are getting what you want, life, and there is nothing wrong that. Obedience to God is the way to get to that life, not an arbitrary set of rules.

Your Sin is that disease, and it is keeping you from getting what you want. Because sin is a cheap substitute for what you want. You want to be known and loved, pornography is a cheap substitute. You want a life that is exciting and adventurous, drama is a cheap substitute for that. You want to walk with God and have a relationship with Him, rules and judgement are a cheap substitute for that.

Sin is not getting you what you want, and it is not what God wants. Yielding your life to Jesus gets you what you actually want, and it is what His heart wants. The only reason someone chooses the Sin is the pride of thinking that, even though it is killing them, at least it is their idea. There is no upside beyond that.


-Matt from The Bridge

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