Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Start Building Resilience this Season
special feature by Pastor’s wife, Diane Scallon

Over the last few years, studies and scholars have shown that stress, anxiety, and depression have skyrocketed.  There are many stressors, as well as the increasingly popular word, “triggers”.  The ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) states, “Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at one time or another.” 

Not all stress is bad, because it can motivate.  However, long-term stress and anxiety can be harmful to your health and joy.  They have both psychological and physiological aspects, as there are many physical illnesses that are the result of anxiety. There is the medical factor; however, there is also a huge spiritual component as well.   

Stress, anxiety, and depression are rapidly growing, and many are finding it hard to cope.  And, because there is stigma around the word depression, not many want to talk about it.  So, let’s change that! 

Did you know that people in the Bible struggled with depression as well?  You’re not alone in this battle.  Let’s look at Elijah, who was so weary and discouraged.  Or Jeremiah, who struggled with his uncertainties, feelings of defeat and despair, and loneliness.  Or Job, who lost everything he had, and struggled with physical illnesses.  At some point, all these men questioned God as to why they were here on earth.  

As we approach this Christmas season, it is easy to get bogged down by the “to-dos”, great expectations, and comparisons (consciously or subconsciously). Studies have shown that the three major pressures that people face during this season relate to finances, loneliness, and time!  Some worry about how they are going to afford Christmas gifts, their utility bills, etc.  Others might feel isolated from family, or grieved from broken marriages or estranged relationships.  Still others worry about how they are going to make sure they plan a great party, or make it to all their events with scarce time.  

Stressors are bound to exist, but how do we deal with them?  Do you know the phrase “practice makes perfect”?  Well, that concept applies in this area.  As you face struggles, practice Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  The Philippians were facing persecution and experiencing anxiety, but Paul encouraged them to break through their anxiousness because they have God… and God gives peace!  This peace is an inner contentment and joy.  We are commanded in Scripture not to worry, but to pray to God with thanksgiving, not hesitating to share our heart with Him.  As we practice this command through the little stressors, when a bigger stressor occurs, we are better able to deal with it.  We are to build resilience with and in Christ.  

As a believer, in the midst of this busy Christmas season, we ought to remember that the greatest gift of all is so valuable thatyou will not find it under a tree, in the midst of family gatherings, or in our fellowships; rather, it is in the belief, trust, and faith in Jesus by which we receive the gift of eternal life!  

The perfect gift is JESUS!

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