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May 28, 2021

Your Anxiety And Depression Has Nothing To Do With Your Faith

Let me tell you why your faith has nothing to do with your anxiety.

Jesus, who is described as fully human and fully God, sweat blood on the night that he died. This is a severe anxiety reaction. He is not the only person in history to sweat blood. It is a physiological response called Hematidrosis.

Hematidrosis is a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood. This occurs under conditions of extreme stress. Hematidrosis occurs when severe mental anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system to invoke the stress- Fight-or-flight response to such a degree that it causes hemorrhaging of the vessels supplying the sweat glands. Remember, our minds and our bodies are intimately connected. Acute fear and extreme stress can cause Hematidrosis.

Here, Mark DeJesus explains in his article: https://markdejesus.com/did-jesus-get-stressed/

(The word “Ekthambeo” is a Greek word used to describe Jesus the night before he was crucified. The word translated into English means “to utterly astonish; to be struck with amazement and/or terror.”

Another word, “ademoneo”, was used to describe him which means to be troubled, but it goes even deeper. It means to be in great distress, in deep anguish and in great depression. In fact, this is one of three Greek words that is used to describe depression. And of those 3 words, this word “ademoneo” is the strongest word to describe a great sense of depression.)”

In his humanity, Jesus was feeling panic and depression. He was praying fervently and was so angry at his disciples because they were able to sleep like babies when he was drowning in emotion.

Medical doctors have explained that when your body is in such a stressed state that this phenomenon of Hematidrosis can occur. But in that moment, his body was not in any physical danger. No one had touched them. Everything was calm around him in the garden. His disciples were trying to stay awake, but really sleeping peacefully. His body was not in a stressed state. His mind was stressed out! This was a psychological – not physical response to fear.

This is important because many people equate anxiety, depression, psychological disorders to mental weakness, to an inability to control oneself, to a spiritual deficit or lack of faith or relationship with God. If this was the case- Jesus would not have been stressed. He was a man of great inner strength and he had a perfect relationship with God because he was in fact, God. It was his human psyche that was stressed even though his faith was cast iron. If that can happen to the son of God, then there is no lack in you that it happens to you.

Remember, anxiety is about the future, not the present. In the present, Jesus was safe. He was feeling anxious about the future. He knew what was going to happen. His humanity was experiencing an episode of clinical anxiety.

If Jesus himself could be so severely anxious that he would be sweating blood, knowing in his logical mind he was going home to be with God soon, then your experience of anxiety or depression or any psychological disorder has nothing to do with your faith or lack thereof.

Your Anxiety And Depression Has Nothing To Do With Your FaithToo many people of faith say if you just believe more, if you put your faith in God, you wouldn’t feel anxious or depressed.

No one told this to Jesus. Because it’s not true. Our humanity dictates that we will have disorder in our bodies and our minds from time to time and sometimes chronically. We have modern medicine and an understanding of how to treat physical and mental disorders because they are real and sometimes unavoidable consequences of being human.

Release yourself from feeling less than, release yourself from believing that your faith is not enough, release the self-talk that says you have to do better or be better. You are human. Your anxiety or depression is an expression of your human state. And you are good enough.

This is not a call to sink into or give in to your fears or sadness. I am never about excuses, but rather putting things into their proper perspective. My goal always is to help you have a more intimate relationship with yourself and that includes treating yourself well, not gaslighting yourself, not blaming yourself, but instead, holding room for your humanity.

How can you hold space for yourself today? How do you imagine Jesus held space for his anxiety that night in the garden? I imagine he used many of the CBT (cognitive Behavioral) techniques that we have today. But more importantly, he didn’t place judgment on his humanity. He felt it and recognized that this too shall pass.

So if you are experiencing the crushing fear of the future or the dragging sadness of the past, if you find yourself criticizing your own difficult emotions, try asking yourself:

“Who’s saying that?” or “Whose voice is that?”

Because those critical words that you assume are the truth are a function of the true brokenness of humanity. They are learned ways of thinking and defense mechanisms that may have helped you survive that only serve to hurt you and hold you down now. Let’s not do that anymore.

Your Anxiety And Depression Has Nothing To Do With Your Faith
Follow the model of Christ. Bring your fears and your doubts, your hurts and your worries to God, but if they remain, don’t judge them and don’t judge yourself. Feel them and let them pass like a wave and watch them crash and dissipate. When you get your bearings, think about good things. Your anxiety and depression is not because of a deficit in you.

You, my beautiful friend, are good and that’s good enough.

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