When You’re Still Afraid and Anxious after you Pray

When You’re Still Afraid and Anxious after you Pray

Jesus and His disciples are in the boat on the Sea of Galilee. The wind and waves are about to take them out. The disciples are in a panic. Jesus stands up and with a word calms the storm. And then He has the audacity to say to them, “Why were you afraid? Why were you afraid when I was with you?” (See Mark 4:40)

Why were you afraid? We were about to be dead! Didn’t you see?!

No wonder the disciples were astonished.

You may be in the same place now. Circumstances and your own mind make it seem as though fear and worry is the only option. You pray, but your head is still afraid and anxious after you pray.

I’ve been asked by several people recently, “Why doesn’t God heal me from my anxiety?” “Is anxiety and fear something a person can ever really get past?” “Why don’t my prayers take care of my fear and anxiety?”

I understand the question. I’ve been there. Only God knows every detail of your genetics, mind, and circumstances, etc., and He deals with each person individually. But from my own personal experience and from what I read in God’s word, “giving up” is what’s NOT an option. You don’t have to succumb to a life of fear and anxiety. There are too many promises of a sound mind, too many directives to “fear not,” too many stories of people (including me – and Peter) who have truly put fear and anxiety in their rear-view mirror forever to say that you have to be stuck there.

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When Spiritual Warfare is Dangerous

When Spiritual Warfare is Dangerous

Spiritual warfare is dangerous. But it’s not for the reason we usually think.

Say spiritual warfare and people get all worked up. One camp studies demonology, tends to see a devil behind every bush, and is always looking for the right techniques to defeat Satan and those under his control. Another camp sees spiritual warfare as something weird, a distortion of true Christianity, and at best something best left “over there” in third world countries where witch doctors do their black magic. Still others see spiritual warfare as the primary way to advance the kingdom of God, the strongest tool in evangelism, and the deciding factor in the triumph of the church in a dark world.

There are issues with each of those viewpoints. The term “spiritual warfare” doesn’t appear in Scripture, and therefore we must be cautious in how we think and talk about it.

Honestly, spiritual warfare is dangerous! Yes, we’re talking about an enemy more determined than any ISIS terrorist and more cunning than any multi-drug-resistant superbug. He’s been around longer than any of us, and he’s filled with hatred for our God and for us as His followers.

But that’s not why spiritual warfare is dangerous. We’ve too often gotten it backwards.

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Why Marriage is Hard

Why Marriage is Hard

Sometime after the preacher pronounces you man and wife the unwelcome truth hits you; marriage is hard!

That realization may come within hours or it may take months, but every marriage encounters real and big problems. Just today someone told me, “Dr. Carol, tell people the truth – how hard marriage really is!” I don’t know any statistics, but I would guess that for most couples some major problem has ambushed them by the time they return from the honeymoon.

It’s no wonder that for the past couple years there are, for the first time, more unmarried adults than married adults in the US and other developed countries. It’s well known from other research that, in general, successfully married people live healthier, longer, and happier. But that’s not enough to convince many to take on the enormous challenges marriage presents.

Ask almost any married couple and they will tell you the problems are real: communication, intimacy, conflict, differing expectations, money, parenting, and more.

These and other visible problems, however, are just the surface issues. As helpful as pre-marriage instruction, date-night advice, and much of the marriage help out there may be, it only deals with the symptoms. And just like with physical symptoms, problems will continue until and unless the underlying diagnosis is made and treated.

The Troubled Marriage Diagnosis

Perhaps 90% of those who write to me about their troubled marriage say something like, “My spouse is doing these things wrong, and I can’t get them to change.” The spouse writing to me is filled with misery, frustration, loneliness, or anger, and they can’t see any way out.

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40 Days to Freedom from Fear and Anxiety

40 Days to Freedom from Fear and Anxiety

Does your mind keep you awake at night, unable to stop swirling about bad stuff that might be about to happen? Are your thoughts and actions often limited by your fear of what others will think? Is worry about the past and anxiety about an unknown future preventing you from living fully today? Is your body getting the fallout from a troubled mind with such symptoms as headaches, stomach pain, or a racing heart?

If so, you’re not alone. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States, or 18% of the population. Dealing with psychological distress is expensive too; in 2007 it was estimated that the yearly cost for treating anxiety and related disorders in the United States was $36.8 billion. And it’s not only expensive financially; fear and anxiety wear on your relationships, your work life, and your spiritual wellbeing.

As a believer you know what the Bible says: “Be anxious for nothing.” (Philippians 4:6) “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed.” (Joshua 1:9) But you’re not feeling it. You wonder whether God cares, or whether there’s something seriously wrong with you.

The Answer in God’s Word

The Bible has a great deal to say about fear and anxiety. God knew you and I would face more than enough reasons to have a troubled mind. That’s why He promised “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

I’ve prepared a 40 Day Devotional series based on what God says about your mind. Each day includes a Scripture, a few words of inspiration, and a prayer designed to solidify godly thought processes in your mind. These Scriptures and prayers will provide a pathway to Freedom from Fear and Anxiety.

My own heart and mind were encouraged and uplifted as I focused on these Scriptures and prepared these brief messages, and I know your heart and mind will be too.

The first Scripture, as you might expect, is 2 Timothy 1:7.

I encourage you to sign up right now to receive the 40 Days to Freedom from Fear and Anxiety emails in your inbox each morning. Expect your heart and mind to be refreshed and uplifted as you read these Scriptures, brief devotionals, and affirmation prayers.

 

Your Turn: How has fear and anxiety affected your life or health? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Your Spouse is Emotionally Cheating: 5 Things to Do

Your Spouse is Emotionally Cheating: 5 Things to Do

It might seem simpler, though even more devastating, to walk in and find your spouse in bed with someone else. Emotional cheating is squishier. You – and your spouse – may find it easier to come up with excuses and rationalizations. You may wonder if you’re the problem. You may find it difficult to trust your own intuition or senses. But if your spouse is emotionally cheating ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

Emotional affairs are real, and dangerous. They often lead to physical affairs, but that’s not the point. Both men and women are vulnerable here. Rationalizations are easy; “Our clothes aren’t coming off, so there’s nothing wrong.” “He meets my emotional needs in a way my husband doesn’t.” “We’re helping each other spiritually and praying together.” “She understands and validates me professionally.”

But your heart is drawn away. Whether or not your clothes eventually come off, the damage to your marriage and to your own soul is significant. That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

The state of your heart matters!

Protecting your own heart from an emotional affair is only possible through God’s grace. But this is especially for husbands and wives who suspect – or know – that your spouse is doing the emotional cheating.

What Is Emotional Cheating?

First, what’s the criteria for emotional cheating? Are all friendships with someone of the opposite sex, other than your spouse, forbidden? What about work colleagues, church friendships, or ministry partners?

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