Life StoryAnxiety and Depression
Anonymous (received by Selah International, December 2020)
Life Story of a Pastor (USA):
About four years ago, I began struggling with worry and an anemic view of forgiveness offered by Christ through His chain-breaking sacrifice on the cross. I struggled to appropriate the pardon for sin offered by Jesus and His Gospel. My increasingly intense view of my own sin and how much I deserved to pay gradually eclipsed God’s merciful offer of a right standing before Him through faith in Jesus Christ. I convinced myself that I could somehow do enough to pay for my own sin. I even started doubting my own salvation. My faith was a wreck!
My worry spiraled into irrational fear of what might happen to my life, my family, and my ministry if I did not confess my sin the right way or to the right people. I allowed that fear to deteriorate into full-blown depression. My personal walk with God, my marital and family obligations, and my ministry responsibilities went into autopilot and were all drifting toward disrepair. Of course, I then began to fear what would result in each of these areas now because of the debilitating depression. It was a vicious cycle that I could not reason my way out of.
My only lifeline at that point was biblical counsel from a mentor pastor during my many moments of crises. Unfortunately, I allowed this worry, fear, and depression to intensify to the point that I needed greater intervention. This mentor pastor and his wife triaged my family and me in their own home as I took a brief time away from the ministry to seek intensive biblical counseling. While receiving patient, loving, Scripture-filled counsel from this pastor and his wife in the evenings, my wife and I spent many hours during the day ingesting biblical counsel from trained biblical counselors in a biblical counseling center.
Without a doubt, the intensive biblical refocus that I received through biblical counseling was the key to my healing. I had lost hope and God used several biblical counselors who patiently pointed me back to the comfort of the Scriptures to reset my footing and to reestablish my thinking to be biblically informed instead of emotionally unstable (Romans 15:4). This process took and continues to take much time, prayer, and meditation upon Scripture. While worry will likely continue to tempt me to despair, God graciously provides tremendous victory through the power of His Word.
If you or someone you love is living in a cloud of negative emotions, I strongly urge you to do everything you can in order to get them to the Scriptures to find hope in their darkness. This is exactly what they will find at Selah International Counseling Ministries.
Life Story of this Pastor’s Wife (USA):
Several years ago, our family experienced a great trial of faith when my husband spiraled into deep anxiety and depression. He struggled with a hypersensitivity to every sin and overwhelming guilt. His spiritual and physical symptoms were a source of great strain in our home and ministry. We felt isolated and did not know how or if we could seek help.
The Lord graciously brought along our path faithful friends who urged us to seek intensive biblical counseling. We are grateful for church leadership who supported and helped us as we took a few days to immerse ourselves in teaching, rebuke, and re-direction from the Bible. That crisis counseling was transformative in our lives. Not only did my husband and I receive a greater understanding of God’s grace and Biblical thinking, but we also realized the great need for all Christians, particularly those in full-time ministry, to have a lifeline for Biblical help and refocus. In addition, the Lord has used this trial to bring about many more opportunities for my husband and I to counsel and use the Scriptures to minister to others.
My heart aches for those in the ministry who have or are going through spiritual, emotional, or physical struggles. If you find yourself in that situation, please reach out for Biblical help as soon as possible. You can be sure of receiving God-focused, Word-centered support and encouragement from Selah International. If you are a church member or leader, one of the best ways you can take care of your pastors is by encouraging them to take time to receive counseling and mentorship from the Bible.