Guardians of the Synapses

Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Anxious. Fearful. Pushed past the breaking point. Done. I’ve heard others recite these words, and also myself. There is a sense of uneasiness that seems to have arisen since we have all made it through the worldwide pandemic. It has felt as if the world has turned upside down and hasn’t righted itself yet. Many people I hear from are feeling very anxious. It is as if we are waiting for the next “bad” thing to happen, whether a disease, recession, war, or another type of violent act.

This anxious feeling has not spared people of faith. Mental health issues affect those without faith and those with faith. The only difference is that help can come from both the church and from professional mental health workers. Mental health is not a secular issue with secular solutions. It is a human issue that God understands and offers help for.

This isn’t to make light of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, but rather to realize God actually cares about these issues. The Bible speaks about anxiety, fear, worry, and the healing and peace that comes from following God’s ways. It speaks of taking hold of every thought. It speaks of shifting our focus from ourselves to God. And of practicing meditation on God’s word, bringing our requests to God, leaving them with Him, and offering thanksgiving.

Here’s an example;

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6, NLT) The result is this:

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7, NLT)

And Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34, NIV)

Solomon in his wisdom made this observation in the Book of Proverbs, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25, NIV)

These verses are just a few of the ways the Bible speaks about anxiety. And this isn’t to make light of anxiety, but to point to a God who understands and cares about us, His creation.

God has given us wonderful bodies that can do amazing things. We have emotions and feelings. We have minds that have powerful abilities to control body functions in milliseconds that we are not even aware of consciously. Our brain is amazing and has been shown to grow and change with new research into neuroplasticity. We have truly been fearfully and wonderfully made. Our thoughts can overwhelm us and bring about neuro and physiologic responses. Some responses mimic heart attacks and are so convincing it sends many to the ER.

Our thoughts are wonderfully executed blends of chemicals, neurons, dendrites and synapses. This is according to my brief research from Google. I’m not a brain expert, but just someone who wonders how it all works. And it all is amazing. And powerful.

The good news is that we don’t have to go it alone whenever we feel overwhelmed and our synapses are all firing randomly. We can find a peace from God. We have this amazing ability to stop and breathe to get ourselves and our minds back down from the over firing of neurons.

Studies have shown that prayer and meditation can lower our heart rates and blood pressure. Reciting Bible verses that bring God’s peace and hope can help us to shift our focus off of the fears and toward God. Stopping our thoughts from wandering toward the negative can be done by stopping and making a list of our blessings. A gratitude list can do wonders for our attitudes. It is hard to complain when you are thanking God for all He has done so far. This attitude of thankfulness reminds us of all the times God has come through for us, or has gotten us through the tough times before and we stop looking at the storm around us and fix our gaze on Him.

We can not stop the stress of the world from affecting us, but we can limit its affect on our minds and bodies, by guarding our thoughts and shifting them to God when they start to go south, into a place of overwhelm and worry. -God Bless You – Nancy

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A Christian writer and teacher who loves to encourage and challenge believers in their walk with Christ. I am a graduate of Liberty University and the proud wife of an Air Force veteran and the mom of three grown adults.

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