Week 3: Life in an Hurting World
At times our feelings of pressure and anxiety become more than we can handle on our own. God designed us to be part of groups and families who care, and at times to expand our circle to professional helpers. Reaching out to God and sharing honestly with others can keep us from facing anxiety alone.
We need to destigmatize asking for and getting therapy. Sometimes it’s the best decision we can make as we learn to live with anxiety, stress and depression.
We see many people Jesus encounters in his ministry that were in hopeless situations that chose to reach out for help. This week we focus on two people from Luke 8:40-56: a man named Jairus whose 12-year-old daughter was dying, and an unknown woman who’d been bleeding for 12 years.
The girl has family all around her and is clearly loved.
The woman is completely alone and had nobody, surrounded by a crowd of strangers. We never even know her name.
But both are disconnected from other people by something they can’t control: their health.
Jesus stops in his tracks for them both. Wherever he’s going, it’s not as important as the people in front of him. He’s not too busy to stop and notice the woman no one else seemed to have time for. He doesn’t even overlook the girl everyone else had given up for dead.
Of the many things we can observe in this passage, here’s an important one to recognize:
No matter how old a person is,
No matter how hopeless things seem,
No matter what everyone else thinks,
When we’re hurting, we’re Jesus’ top priority.
As already said, the little girl had a network of support and love. The woman had nothing. Which is why it’s significant that Jesus wasn’t content to let this woman get her healing without getting to speak to her, so he calls her out so he can give her the grace and dignity of his attention. Physical healing won’t solve all her problems; it’s when the woman connects and talks with Jesus that she experiences peace. “Daughter,” he says, “your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Often the world around us – even our family and friends – can miss their cue to stop and pay attention to us. We get all caught up in our own busyness or misplaced priorities. Jesus showed us that people are the most important priority.
And sometimes when we feel hopeless and full of anxiety, we need to stop and reach out.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember these four things:
1. Breathe! Breathe in for a count of 3, hold for a count of 3, breathe out for a count of 3, hold for a count of 3. Repeat as needed.
2. That you don’t ever have to handle feelings of anxiety, sadness or depression on your own.
3. If you ever feel like harming or killing yourself, pick up the phone and reach out for help.
4. Remember that having inner struggles doesn’t mean we lack faith. It means we’re human.
We can grow in faith even in the midst of our struggles when we:
Look Up. We pause in the midst of our anxious thoughts to look up and seek God’s encouragement through the Bible and by talking with others who are walking in the faith.
Look Inside. We reflect on where God is at work inside us.
Look Around. We take a good look at our own anxious world to determine when and how to ask for help so that we can make positive changes.
We need to get comfortable talking with our families about how we feel. Sit down with a parent when you go home and talk about who’s in your circle. Discuss who needs to be in your circle so that you don’t have to face your inner struggles alone. And most important, talk about how you both will work together if you ever feel like you’re dealing with more than you can handle.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or suicidepreventionlifeline.org