God’s Prescription For Worry

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“Don’t worry!” How many times have we heard this? If your experience is anything like mine, I’d imagine a lot. The phrase “If I had a nickel for every time…” comes to mind. 

One of my favorite experiences as a Christian counselor is when I see a psychological intervention confirmed and reflected in the Bible. I mean it makes sense, right? God created our brains; he knows our thoughts, so of course he is well-versed in human psychology. 

God knows that fear and worry are a big part of the human condition, in fact according to Rick Warren pastor at Saddleback church, the theme of don’t worry/do not fear appears in the Bible 365 times. It is addressed using many names: fear, worry, anxiety, stress, fretting ect., but the message is still the same: God knows and recognizes our worries. 

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As anyone who struggles with worry or anxiety can tell you, being told not to worry does not necessarily stop someone from worrying. In addition to being told what not to do, we need an alternate behavior to replace the unwanted behavior. And God, because of his expert degree in psychology knows this. 

Phillipians 4:6 reads “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all that He has done.”

The alternate, replacement behavior is right there: pray about everything and thank Him for all that He has done. I heard a sermon where the pastor preached on this passage and challenged us to identify what we are thankful for despite the current situation. 

I know this can be really tough when we are in the throws of anxiety or are going through a really difficult time. This ability to identify what we are thankful for is a skill that needs to be practiced. So if you find it difficult, you are in good company. Just as someone is unable to do a pull-up without putting in the time and practice, to expect yourself to be immediately grateful in the midst of some challenging circumstances is unrealistic. 

So how do you start working out your thankfulness muscle? Start with smaller, more manageable circumstances and work your way up to bigger or more difficult ones. For example, I have an almost one year old son, and if you haven’t been around a baby in awhile, let me remind you they cry ALOT. My prayer during this less than desirable circumstance: thank you God that my son has a healthy set of lungs. 

Another recommendation I have is to try to write down what you are thankful for. It can be in the form of a prayer or gratitude journal or it can be on a kitchen napkin. The idea is to have something to come back to when you are really struggling to identify what you are thankful for because the truth is some days you will find it easy to come up with what you are thankful for and other days it will be immensely difficult. 

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As you practice identifying what you are thankful for, you will find what is promised in Phillipians 4:7 “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything you can understand.” While I still struggle with worry and anxiety, I have also experienced periods of this peace, and can say this replacement behavior does work. For more entries like this please visit me on my blog.

Written by: Shylah Blatt, LMFT

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of EastSide Christian Counseling.

Our Journey with Food is Like our Journey with God.

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I was one of those unique people who experienced salvation immediately. I always knew who Jesus was, but I never allowed Him to be Lord of my life. All it took was the right situation, in a moment of weakness, and I was a puddle of tears begging for Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord of my life. I experienced salvation in a church service (as cliché as that sounds). I remember the pastor preaching on the fear of the Lord; a concept I was totally unfamiliar with, but for a person who lived in fear of being judged, I ate it up.

I realize that salvation doesn’t happen for everyone like this. I realize my story is unique. I always love to share my story of receiving Jesus, because I believe it gives people hope that in an instant God can come into your heart and radically change it.

After I became a Christian, I totally went through that honeymoon stage of salvation that people talk about. I was overwhelmed by God’s mercy and grace, and I lived and breathed these things day-in and day-out. To be honest, I rode that out for as long as possible, living in a state of bliss. I will always remember the sweet moments when I first handed the wheel over to Jesus.

“How gracious did that grace appear, that hour I first believed.” There are no truer words than that.

I was all in. Then reality set in. I was confronted with what being a Christian meant compared to the world's way of doing things. I knew that being saved would change everything for me, but I naively didn’t realize that it would be so hard.

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The same thing happened when I came to understand a non-diet paradigm, I was quick to accept it. The concept made perfect sense and lined up with my personal values. But, I didn’t really know what it would mean for me on a daily basis, and how applying it would challenge me.

Our journey with finding peace with food and our bodies is similar to our journey with Christ. You might start out like I did – excited by the freedom that intuitive eating brings you, but challenged by the conflicting beliefs of the world. It will feel like everyone around you is dieting, and you will question and doubt your beliefs, wonder if you have it all wrong.  I still think that sometimes - and I write for a blog and counsel people on this system of beliefs!

Anytime we dare to do something countercultural, especially something as radical as loving and accepting your body, we are bound to be challenged by the world. The diet industry doesn’t want us to buy into that belief because they will lose customers and ultimately lose money. With a 70-billion-dollar industry, there’s a lot at stake.  

All this fits in perfectly into the enemy’s plans. Accepting our bodies would mean we live in freedom. The enemy hates that.

Jesus chooses to work on our hearts in small selective ways. (I’m so grateful for that!) He chooses to gracefully identify areas where we need to change, and then tenderly and mercifully walks us through that. I am so thankful he didn’t take all the dirty in my heart and reveal it to me all at once, because I would have been crushed down by the guilt and shame of all of that.

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Beloved, give yourself grace when it comes to your relationship with food and your body. You can’t expect to wake up one day and never have a negative thought about your body or shaming yourself for what you ate, just like you can’t expect to wake up one day and never sin again. But there is hope! Our God is a redeemer and he wants us to experience that freedom and no longer live in bondage of food.  He wants us to be fully alive, fully accepted and fully free! For more entries like this please visit me on my website.

Written by: Nicole Mesita, RD

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of EastSide Christian Counseling.

Christian-valued Parenting vs. Science-based Parenting: A Discussion on Differences and integration.

Christian-valued Parenting vs. Science-based Parenting: A Discussion on Differences and integration.

Parenting is so much more than what parents do but a belief about the role of parents. There are so many self-help books on the “best thing for your kids” so what do you believe? I want to break down the basic philosophies behind Science-based parenting and Christian-valued parenting which both have very valuable insights to consider. The desire to be great parents is very honorable and that endeavor is definitely worth the investment!