Posts tagged Philippians
Episode 5: Anxiety & Peace, Part 1

Anxiety is our topic in these next two episodes.  This is part of series we've done on Trauma, Anger, Anxiety and Shame.  We start with a free association game on anxiety-- there's so many words that we use to describe it!  We describe our own anxiety that morning.  

Brandon tells a story of a panic attack that he experienced after a surgery. His experience taught him empathy and compassion for those who experience anxiety and panic, but also learned that for him, anxiety is something he needs to accept in the moment, without fighting it.  

Therapeutic perspective on anxiety: 
We talk road rage: a typical Southern California conversation. 
Different words for anxiety, stress, agitation, frustrated.  Physical symptoms of anxiety are endless. Tension in muscles, limbs, forearms, chest pressure, chest pain, heart races, headaches, stomach butterflies, stomach pain, intestinal problems, flushed face & neck, etc, etc.
Anxiety effects our thinking in different ways:  we catastrophize, overthinking, thoughts going around and around, all-or-nothing thinking. 
We discuss all-or-nothing thinking, or binary thinking, and how our culture is increasingly binary. 

Spiritual perspective on anxiety: 
Acknowledging that God is sovereign and all powerful when we are feeling powerless, isolated and lonely, or helpless.  Anxiety can push us to not settle, with a lack of peace. 
How to talk about techniques, prayer, engage with God, but not in a way where there's a "formula" or a "rain dance" to bring peace from God.  We want to sit in the tension of not being able to control God while we need Him to experience peace.  Living by the Spirit should be our goal, not trying to just "do what the bible says," but to live WITH God in relationship.  

How do we resist the shame we feel when we're anxious, that we're not good enough Christians, but instead, use our anxiety as an invitation to acknowledge our need for God?

Check out Rhett Smith's book, "The Anxious Christian."

The scriptural opposite of Anxiety is peace (Shalom).  Shalom: Nothing lacking, everything made whole.
How do we dwell in peace?

Two ways that we deal with anxiety:  Moralism (doing the right thing to earn our way out) and Hedonism (avoiding the emotion, and numbing our way out).  
Brandon explained The Parable of the Two Sons (or the Prodigal Son), and how neither hedonism and moralism will help us to understand the heart of God.   We discuss our own perspective on whether we lean towards hedonism or moralism.  Susette talks her own journey down her desire line, and her history of feeling like a "good" or "bad" Christian and the shame that comes with that. 
Brandon identifies imminence and transcendence, 

Bible passages mentioned: 

Phil 4:6-7
Matthew 6
Romans 8:6