Dear Christian Counselor:
I’m always trying to reconcile what the Bible says about giving our cares to God and trusting in Him versus seeking professional help from secular counselors. My concern is, if we’re turning to fallible man for answers on anxiety and depression, we’re not trusting completely in God. If He wanted that “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7) removed from our side, He’d remove it. But if prayers go unanswered for so long, when is it time to say “enough” and seek professional help?
Would you say the same thing about medical care? If God wanted to instantly heal a person’s diabetes, He could certainly do that. But we observe that He often heals it through medicine. Perhaps that is so we don’t grow proud or complacent; perhaps it connects us better to others in community; perhaps we need the ongoing process to stay dependent on the Lord. Talking to a counselor represents less intervention than your average doctor visit. However, you used the word “secular,” so I want to make sure you know that there are plenty of educated, licensed Christian counselors around, combining the best of both worlds. In my view, Christian counseling is just discipleship on steroids. Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. (Prov. 19:20)
One of the things a counselor might suggest is that you visit a psychiatrist for an evaluation and possibly for medication. You get to decide whether that’s something you want to do or not. I have seen many cases where anxiety and depression can be alleviated without medication, but I have also known others where medication has been an amazing blessing. Once our brains have been stewed in the chemicals of sadness and fear for a while, it can be like a cart which is stuck in the sand. Just turning the wheels isn’t enough to get it out. Sometimes medication gives you the jump-start you need to change direction.
Anxiety and depression tend to be self-focused conditions. Jewels are made to shine outward. I would encourage you to seek help and comfort in your struggle so that you can *sparkle* for God’s Kingdom.