FAQ’s: Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage Intensive Week

CGCM_foundations_smWhat will be covered, when, and how do we RSVP?

Where will these seminars be held?

The Summit Church, North Raleigh Campus
5808 Departure Drive; Raleigh, NC 27616

Do we have to come to all  five?

You can come to a single seminar, any combination of seminars, or all five.

Do we have to be a Summit member to come or is this for anyone?

We would love to have anyone from our community to attend these seminars. This includes members of other churches. We want resource other churches in a way that enhances the quality of pastoral counseling and one another care in their congregations. We make these events available free of charge to make it as easy as possible for anyone to attend.

We would encourage you to invite your non-Christian friends who are interested in exploring how embracing the gospel would impact their marriage.

Who are these seminars for?

  • Marriage Enrichment – For married couples looking to enhance the quality and depth of their relationship.
  • Marital Preparation – For engaged or seriously dating couples wanting equip themselves to launch a God-honoring marriage.
  • Marriage Restoration – (Not exactly) While couples in crisis would benefit from this material, it is recommended that counseling be sought in addition to these seminars (www.summitrdu.com/counseling).

What will be covered each night?

  1.  Foundations: Why is marriage hard? Why do so many marriages that begin in sincere love end in divorce? What are the essential things a couple should focus on in order to have a marriage that flourishes? What is a covenant, and why is marriage a covenant? Why do we have a marriage ceremony? What are the roles for a Christian husband and wife? What if I don’t “fit” the masculine-feminine stereotypes or don’t have the personality to match a “traditional” husband/wife?
  2. Communication: What does a couple talk about over a life time? What if I’m not good with words or listening? How do we maintain friendship when we’re having to keep up with so many logistics? How do we disagree and protect our marriage without losing what’s important to each of us individually? Why do words matter so much, and why can they hurt so badly? How do we make things right after they go wrong and not let negative momentum build?
  3. Finances: Why are money problems the number one cause of divorce? How do we maintain reasonable expectations for money in a debt-sick culture? How do two people manage their money together when it is hard enough to manage as a single person? Who should administrate the finances, and how involved should the other person be? How do we learn self-control and contentment as a couple? How can “budget” become an exciting or, at least, pleasant word?
  4. Decision Making: How do we manage our time? How do we navigate situations where we each want good things that cannot both happen? How do we determine God’s will for our personal and marital lives? How do we functionally express the biblical roles of headship and submission? How do we ensure that life’s tough decisions draw us closer to God and each other instead of creating distance? How do we respond when bad things happen to a good marriage?
  5. Intimacy: How do you maintain the “spark” of marriage over a lifetime? How do you continue learning each other without feeling like you know all there is to know? How do we protect our expectations from highly romanticized cultural ideals? How many ways are there to express love, and why are they all necessary? How do we enjoy a balance of both intimacy and intercourse? How do we grow as lovers throughout our marriage?

What’s up with the stuff I heard about getting some kind of certificate?

Information about that can be found at www.bradhambrick.com/sebts

What’s the “big idea” for how these five seminars are meant to go together?

These seminars are built upon a central premise – God gave us marriage so that we would know the gospel more clearly and more personally. It is the gospel that gives us joy. Marriage is meant to be a living picture of the gospel-relationship between God and His bride, the church. For this reason, we have two goals for you as you go through them:

  1. That you would get to know and enjoy your spouse in exciting, new, and profoundly deeper ways, so that…
  2. … you would get to know and enjoy God in exciting, new, and profoundly deeper ways.

This series of seminars is arranged around five topics that represent the most common challenges that a marriage faces. While the difficulties of each area are acknowledged, the tone of these seminars is optimistic. We believe that those things that cause the greatest pain when done wrongly bring the fullest joy when done according to God’s design.

These seminars are both sequential and interdependent. Each seminar is meant to build upon the ones before it and lead into the ones after it. If you are going through these materials for general marital enrichment or pre-marital counseling, it is best to complete them in order. However, if you are looking for guidance in a particular area of need, it is possible to start with the subject of greatest urgency in your marriage.

Online Depression-Anxiety Evaluation

This evaluation is a tool from the upcoming “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm” seminar. For information about this and other counseling seminars visit bradhambrick.com/events.

Click Here to Link to this Evaluation

This evaluation seeks to help you assess the presence and severity of the following types of depression-anxiety.

  • Generalized Anxiety
  • Situational Depression
  • Major Depressive Episodes
  • Seasonal Affective Struggles
  • Specific Phobias
  • Social Anxiety
  • Mania
  • Panic Attacks
  • Post-Traumatic Stress
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Religious Scrupulosity
  • Suicidal Consideration

A printable PDF version of this evaluation is available here: Depression Anxiety Assessment

OVERCOMING DEPRESSION-ANXIETY: A PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY PARADIGM
Date: Saturday October 18
Time: 4:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free
RSVP Here

For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

Depression-Anxiety_Poster

Tweets of the Week 9.30.14

There is great value in saying something in a memorable, concise manner. Twitter has caused us to make this a near spiritual discipline. For my own growth (as a generally verbose individual… that’s a long way of saying “wordy”) and for the benefit of others, I highlight tweets each week that deliver a big message in a few words.

Why Three Seminars on Depression-Anxiety?

People and counselors debate how much responsibility or control people have over the emotional experiences of depression and anxiety.

Are depression and anxiety sin (i.e., the result of misplaced beliefs, wrongly prioritized values, and poor choices) or suffering (i.e., response to hardships and degenerative biology)? 

Too often these become either-or, all-or-nothing debates. In these tandem seminars we will look and how the gospel provides guidance and hope to individuals when their emotional experience is the result of suffering and when its rooted in personal responsibility.

In the process of exploring each those in attendance will learn how to “sort their emotional laundry” in order experience the peace and hope God offers for both sin and suffering. Below is the date-time-rsvp information for the two remaining seminars in this series (videos from the first will be available on my site soon).

TOWARDS A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ON MENTAL ILLNESS
Date: Tuesday September 30
Time:  7:30 to 8:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free
RSVP Here

OVERCOMING DEPRESSION-ANXIETY: A PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY PARADIGM
Date: Saturday October 18
Time: 4:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free
RSVP Here

 Depression-Anxiety_Poster

20 Approaches to Battling Depression-Anxiety as Suffering

This post is an excerpt from the study guide which accompanies the “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm” seminar. This portion is one element from “STEP 7: IDENTIFY GOALS that allow me to combat the impact of my suffering.” To RSVP for this and other Summit counseling seminars visit bradhambrick.com/events.

One of the biggest challenges in identifying goals for combatting the effects of suffering is to be active without accepting false guilt. It is easy to think if there is something I “can do” to offset the impact of my suffering, then it is something I “should have been doing” all along.

The embedded deception in this kind of thinking is that the new strategy would have prevented the experience of depression-anxiety from ever occurring. If this were true, then you would be facing a sin-based experience of depression-anxiety rather than a suffering-based one.

The clearest example of this dynamic might be grief. Grief is clearly a form of suffering. But we are not powerlessly trapped in the experience of grief for a lifetime. There are things we can do to process the experience of grief and offset its impact. However, doing these things earlier would not have prevented our loved one from dying or our experience of grief at their death.

This is how we would encourage you to consider the strategies presented in this chapter. They are approaches to help alleviate the impact of depression-anxiety in your life. We present more strategies than you will be able to implement. Don’t get overwhelmed. Choose those that seem like the best fit for your experience. If you’re unsure which ones those may be, consult with the friends, pastor, or counselor with whom we’ve encouraged you to walk through this material.

If you believe that you need an approach to anxiety-depression that calls you take more personal responsibility for your emotional state, then we would encourage you to consult chapter six in the corresponding study that addresses these same emotions from a sin paradigm (www.bradhambrick.com/depression; note – link not active until after the live presentation).

Your goal at the end of this chapter, and possibly in conjunction with chapter six of the corresponding study, is to identify the most impactful things you could do in your struggle with depression-anxiety. We want to help you break the sense of powerlessness to which it is so easy to succumb.

Several of these approaches were adapted from a larger list found in Ed Welch’s book in Depression, A Stubborn Darkness (page 231ff; bold text only).

Note: Each is described more fully in the study guide that accompanies this presentation.

  1. Talk to Yourself Instead of Listening to Yourself
  2. Stop Saying, “It Won’t Work”
  3. Allow for Contributive Causes and Contributive Remedies
  4. Medication
  5. Identify Areas Where Your Choices Matter
  6. Engage Relationships
  7. Ask People to Pray for Goals More than Relief
  8. Be Willing to Be Challenged
  9. Serve Others
  10. Forgive
  11. Shield Against a Depressed-Anxious Identity
  12. Worship
  13. Realize This Is a Battle and You Must Fight
  14. Let Go of “Should”
  15. Question Your Interpretations
  16. Look for the Good in People and Situations
  17. Read a Good Book on Suffering
  18. Be Willing to Sacrifice the Pseudo-Comforts of Depression-Anxiety
  19. Don’t Confuse Boredom with Depression or Uncertainty with Anxiety
  20. Spiritual Life – Less May Be More

OVERCOMING DEPRESSION-ANXIETY: A SUFFERING PARADIGM
Date: Saturday September 27
Time: 4:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free
RSVP Here

For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

Depression-Anxiety_Poster

 

Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm (Seminar Videos)

Below are the videos from the presentation of “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

The complementing studies  “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm” and “Towards a Christian Perspective of Mental Illness” will also available in a video format after their presentation

NOTE 1: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. Summit members can pick up a copy of the notebook in the church office. For those outside the Summit family, you can request a copy from Amy LaBarr (alabarr@summitrdu.com), office administrator over counseling.

NOTE 2: This page is posted as a place-holder for when the videos are ready. We reference this link in the seminar notebook and want it to be an active link for anyone who references it after the presentation. It usually takes us 2-3 weeks after the presentation to have the videos ready for posting. Thank you for your patience. Please bookmark this page for easy access to see when the videos are ready.

STEP 1.
ADMIT I have a struggle I cannot overcome without God.

 

On-Line Evaluation: Types of Depression & Anxiety Evaluation

Blog Post: “6 Steps to Wise Decision Making About Psychotropic Medications” (Appendix A from the seminar notebook)

 

STEP 2.
ACKNOWLEDGE the breadth and impact of my sin.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

STEP 3.
UNDERSTAND the origin, motive, and history of my sin.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

For the “Depression-Anxiety Journal” from click here: Depression-Anxiety Journal

STEP 4.
REPENT TO GOD for how my sin replaced and misrepresented Him.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

STEP 5.
CONFESS TO THOSE AFFECTED for harm done and seek to make amends.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

For the “Confession Guide” click here: Confession Guide

STEP 6.
RESTRUCTURE MY LIFE to rely on God’s grace and Word to transform my life.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

STEP 7.
IMPLEMENT the new structure pervasively with humility and flexibility.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

For the “Implementation Evaluation Tool” click here: Depression-Anxiety Plan Eval Form

STEP 8.
PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

STEP 9.
STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

Blog Post: 9 Questions to Help You Steward All of Your Life for God’s Glory

 

Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm (Seminar Videos)

Below are the videos from the presentation of “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

The complementing studies  “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Responsibility Paradigm” and “Towards a Christian Perspective of Mental Illness” will also available in a video format after their presentation

NOTE 1: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. Summit members can pick up a copy of the notebook in the church office. For those outside the Summit family, you can request a copy from Amy LaBarr (alabarr@summitrdu.com), office administrator over counseling.

NOTE 2: This page is posted as a place-holder for when the videos are ready. We reference this link in the seminar notebook and want it to be an active link for anyone who references it after the presentation. It usually takes us 2-3 weeks after the presentation to have the videos ready for posting. Thank you for your patience. Please bookmark this page for easy access to see when the videos are ready.

STEP 1.
PREPARE yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to face your suffering.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

Blog Post: “A Sample Letter to Help Cultivate Community While Struggling with Depression-Anxiety” (Sample of material in the seminar notebook)

Blog Post: “6 Steps to Wise Decision Making About Psychotropic Medications” (Appendix A from the seminar notebook)

 

STEP 2.
ACKNOWLEDGE the specific history and realness of my suffering.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

On-Line Evaluation: Types of Depression & Anxiety Evaluation

Resource: Depression-Anxiety Daily Symptom Chart

 

STEP 3.
UNDERSTAND the impact of my suffering.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

 

STEP 4.
LEARN MY SUFFERING STORY which I used to make sense of my experience.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

STEP 5.
MOURN the wrongness of what happened and receive God’s comfort.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

STEP 6.
LEARN MY GOSPEL STORY by which God gives meaning to my experience.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

STEP 7.
IDENTIFY GOALS that allow me to combat the impact of my suffering.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

 

STEP 8.
PERSEVERE in the new life and identity to which God has called me.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

STEP 9.
STEWARD all of my life for God’s glory.

Video unit will be place here. Thank you for your patience.

Blog Post: 9 Questions to Help You Steward All of Your Life for God’s Glory

6 Steps to Wise Decision Making About Psychotropic Medications

This post is an excerpt from the study guide which accompanies the “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm” seminar. This portion is one element from “Appendix A.” To RSVP for this and other Summit counseling seminars visit bradhambrick.com/events.

Let’s begin this discussion by placing the question in the correct category – whether an individual chooses to use psychotropic medication in their struggle with mental illness is a wisdom decision, not a moral decision. If someone is thinking, “Would it be bad for me to consider medication? Is it a sign of weak faith? Am I taking a short-cut in my walk with God?” then they are asking important questions (the potential use of medication) but they are placing them in the wrong category (morality instead of wisdom).[1]

Better questions would be:

  • How do I determine if medication would be a good fit for me and my struggle?
  • What types of relief should I expect medication to provide and what responsibilities would I still bear?
  • How would I determine if the relief I’m receiving warrants the side effects I may experience?
  • How do I determine the initial duration of time I should be on medication?

In order to answer these kinds of questions, I would recommend a six step process. This process will, in most cases, take six months or more to complete. But it often takes many months for doctors and patients to arrive at the most effective medication option, so this process does not elongate the normal duration of finding satisfactory medical treatment.

Having an intentional process is much more effective than making reactionary choices when the emotional pain (getting on medication) or unpleasant side effects (getting off medication) push you to “just want to do something different.” With a process in place, it is much more likely that what is done will provide the necessary information to make important decisions about the continuation or cessation of medication.

Preface: This six step process assumes that the individual considering medication is not a threat to themselves, a threat to others, and is capable of fulfilling basic life responsibilities related to their personal care, family, school, and work. If this is not the case, then a more prompt medical intervention or residential care would be warranted.

If you are unsure how well you or a friend is functioning, then begin with a medical consultation or counseling relationship. If you would like more time with your doctor than a diagnostic and prescription visit, then ask the receptionist if you can schedule an extended time with your physician for consultation on your symptoms and options.

Step One – Assess Life and Struggle

Most struggles known as mental illness do not have a body-fluid test (i.e., blood, saliva, or urine) to verify their presence. We do not know a “normal range” for neurotransmitters like we do for cholesterol. The activity of the brain is too dynamic to make this kind of simple number test easy to obtain. Gaining neurological fluid samples would be highly intrusive and more traumatic than the information would be beneficial. Brain scans are not currently cost effective for this kind of medical screening and cannot yet give us the neurotransmitter differentiation we would need.

For these reasons, the diagnosis for whether a mental illness has a biological cause is currently a diagnosis-by-elimination in most cases. However, an important part of this initial assessment should be a visit to your primary care physician. In this visit you should:

  • Clearly describe the struggles / symptoms that you are experiencing.
  • Describe when each struggle / symptom began.
  • Describe the current severity of each struggle / symptom and how it developed.

As you prepare for this medical visit, it would be important to also consider:

  • What important life events, transitions, or stressors occurred around the time your struggle began?
  • What is the level of life-interference you are experiencing as a result of your struggle?
  • What lifestyle of relational changes would significantly impact the struggle that you’re facing?

Step Two – Make Needed Non-Medical Changes

Medication will never make us healthier than our current choices allow. Our lifestyle is the “ceiling” for our mental health; we will never be sustainable happier than our beliefs and choices allow. Medication can correct some biological causes and diminish the impact of environmental causes to our struggles. But medication cannot raise our “mental health potential” above what our lifestyle allows.

Too often we want medication to make-over our unhealthy life choices in the same way we expect a multi-vitamin to transform our unhealthy diet. We assume that the first step towards feeling better is receiving a diagnosis and prescription. This may be the case, and there is no shame if it is, but it need not be our guiding assumption.

Look at the lifestyle, beliefs, and relational changes that your assessment in step one would require. If there are choices that you could make to reduce the intensity of your struggle, are you willing to make them? Undoubtedly these changes will be hard, or you would have already done so. But they are essential if you want to use medication wisely.

As you identify these changes, assess the areas of sleep, diet, and exercise. Sleep is vital to the replenishing of the brain. Diet is the beginning of brain chemistry – our body can only create neurotransmitters from the nutrition we provide it. Exercise, particularly cardiovascular, has many benefits for countering the biological stress response (a primary contributor to poor mental health). Your first “prescription” should be eight hours of sleep, a balanced diet high in antioxidants, and cardiovascular exercise for at least thirty minutes three days a week.[2]

A key indicator of whether we are using psychotropic medication wisely is whether we are (a) using medication as a tool to assist us in making needed lifestyle and relational changes, or (b) using medication as an alternative to having to make these changes. “Option A” is wise. “Option B” results in over-medication or feeling like “medication didn’t work either” as we continually try to compensate medically for our volitional neglect of our mental health.

Step Three – Determine the Non-Medicated Base-Line for Your Mood and Life Functioning

This is an important, and often neglected, step. Any medication is going to have side effects. The most frequent reason people stop taking psychotropic medications, other than cost, is because of their side effects.

If we are not careful, we will merely want to feel better than we do “now.” Initially “now” will be how we feel without medication. Later “now” will be how we feel with medication’s side effects. In order to avoid this unending cycle, we need to have a baseline of how we feel when we live optimally off of medication.

One of the reasons postulated for why placebos often have as beneficial an effect as psychotropic medication is the absence of side effects. Those who take a placebo get all the benefits of hope (doing something they expect to improve their life) without any unpleasant side effects. Getting the baseline measurement of how life goes when you simply practice “good mental hygiene” is an important way to account for this effect.

“As I practice medicine these days, my first question when a patient comes with a new problem is not what new disease he has. Now I wonder what side effects he is having and which drug is causing it (p. 191).” Charles Hodges, M.D. in Good Mood Bad Mood

There is another often over-looked benefit of step three. Frequently people get serious about living more healthily at the same time life has gotten hard enough to begin taking medication. This introduces two interventions (medication and new life practices), maybe three or four (often people also begin counseling or being more open with friends who offer care and support), at the same time. It becomes very difficult to discern which intervention accounts for their improvements.

Writing out your answers to these questions will help you discern if you need to move on to step four and make the needed assessment in step five.

  • What were the struggles that initially made me think I might benefit from medication?
  • How intense were these struggles and how did they manifest themselves?
  • What changes did I make in my lifestyle and relationships to alleviate these struggles?
  • How effective was I at being able to make the needed changes?
  • How much relief did the lifestyle and relational changes provide for my struggles?
  • How do I anticipate medication would assist me in being more effective at these changes?

Step Four – Begin a Medication Trial

If your struggles persist to a degree that is impairing your day-to-day functioning, then you should seek out a physician or psychiatrist for advisement about medical options. As you have this conversation, consider asking your physician the following questions:

  • What are the different medication options available for the struggle I’m facing?
  • What does each medication do that impacts this struggle?
  • What are the most common side effects for each medication?
  • How long does it take this medication before it is in full effect?
  • If I chose to come off this medication, what is the process for doing so?
  • What have been the most common affirmations and complaints of other patients on this medication?

These questions should help you work with your doctor to determine which medication would be best for you. Remember, you have a voice in this process and should seek to be an informed consumer with your medical treatment; in the same way you would for any other product or service you purchase.

In this consultation you also want to decide upon the initial period of time for which you will remain on the medication (unless you experience a significant side effect from the medication). In determining this length of time, you would want to consider:

  • Your physician or psychiatrist will make recommendations based upon additional factors not considered in this article
  • A minimum of at least twice the length of time it takes the medication to reach its full effect
  • Significant life stressors that would predictably arise during this trial period (e.g., planning a wedding)
  • How long it would take to make and solidify changes that were difficult to make without medication (see step three)

Once you determine this set period of time, your goal is to continue implementing the changes you began in step three while monitoring (a) the level of progress in your area of struggle and (b) any side effects from the medication.

Step Five – Assess Level of Progress Against the Medication Side Effects

Near the end of the trial period, you want to return to the life assessment questions you answered at the end of step three. Compare how you are able to enjoy and engage life at this point with your answers then. The questions you want to ask are:

  • What benefits have you seen while you were on medication?
  • What side effects have you experienced?
  • Is there reason to believe your continued improvement is contingent upon your continued use of medication?
  • Are the side effects of medication worth the benefit it provides?

The more specific you were in your answers at the end of step three, the easier it will be to evaluate your experience at the end of step five. At this point, try to be neither pro-medication nor anti-medication. Your goal is to live as full and enjoyable a life as possible. It is neither better nor worse if medication is or is not part of that optimal life.

Step Six – Determine Whether to Remain on Medication

At this point in the process there are several options available to you; this is more than a yes-no decision. But any option should be decided in consultation with your prescribing physician or psychiatrist. You can decide to:

  • Remain on medication because the effects are beneficial and the side effects are minimal or worth it.
  • Opt to stage off of your medication because the benefits were minimal or the side effects worse than the benefits.
  • Stage off medication to see if the progress you made can be maintained without medication; knowing you are free to resume the medication if not without any sense of failure.
  • Opt to try a different medication for another set period of time based on what you learned from the initial experience.

Regardless of what you choose, by following this process you can have the assurance that you are making an informed decision about what is the best choice for you.

OVERCOMING DEPRESSION-ANXIETY: A SUFFERING PARADIGM
Date: Saturday September 27
Time: 4:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free
RSVP Here

TOWARDS A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ON MENTAL ILLNESS
Date: Tuesday September 30
Time:  6:30 to 8:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free
RSVP Here

For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

Depression-Anxiety_Poster

 

[1] For more on understanding the choice about psychotropic medications as a wisdom issue, I would recommend the lecture “Understanding Psychiatric Treatments” by Michael Emlet, MD at the 2011 CCEF conference on “Psychiatric Disorders” which can be found at http://www.ccef.org/understanding-psychiatric-treatments.

[2] Additional guidance on this kind of “life hygiene” can be found at www.bradhambrick.com/burnout.

Tweets of the Week 9.23.14

There is great value in saying something in a memorable, concise manner. Twitter has caused us to make this a near spiritual discipline. For my own growth (as a generally verbose individual… that’s a long way of saying “wordy”) and for the benefit of others, I highlight tweets each week that deliver a big message in a few words.

Who and Where Is God in My Depression-Anxiety?

This post is an excerpt from the study guide which accompanies the “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm” seminar. This portion is one element from “STEP 6: LEARN MY GOSPEL STORY by which God gives meaning to my experience..” To RSVP for this and other Summit counseling seminars visit bradhambrick.com/events.

There are many God-questions that arise in the midst of depression-anxiety. It is nearly impossible to persistently battle for hope and peace without asking questions directed to or about God. The things discussed below should not be new. They are meant to be crystallizations of what you’ve been learning. Allow these truths about God to become cemented in your story; they should increasingly feel like “givens” as opposed to “possibilities.”

Near to Those Who are Anxious-Depressed

There is a danger in reading our Bibles in search for God’s answer to depression-anxiety. It begins to make God feel like an absentee father; as if all he offers us is a letter in the mail. A letter would mean both that God cared and that he was far away. This would be both encouraging and disheartening; God’s words would seem sincere but powerless. This is why we must pay careful attention to the thing God most repeats and we most overlook when he speaks about depression-anxiety.

“Anxiety-disordered individuals are often so focused on trying to control their circumstances and avoiding some potential catastrophe that they begin to perceive God as punitive, perfectionistic, and authoritative (p. 109).” Matthew Stanford in Grace for the Afflicted

Read I Peter 5:6-9 and Philippians 4:5-9. The most neglected aspect of both of these passages is the nearness of God. We come to these passages seeking God’s “answer” for depression-anxiety. As we search for principles and practical steps, we miss that the first and main thing God offers is himself. When we doubt or rush past God’s presence, we begin to expect knowledge to accomplish what only relationship can provide. Yes, God does offer us strategies and truths to combat depression-anxiety, but these are not the first and most important things he offers.

  • Question: Where do you see God in relation to your experience of depression-anxiety? How can you remind yourself of his actual location when your fear / despair feels closer than God?

Inside Your Experience of Depression-Anxiety

Our concept of being “near” does not capture how close God is. If God were merely “next to” us in our suffering, then we would simply feel less alone. That would be nice, but less than transformative. God is actually “in” us as we suffer. There is nothing that occurs in our soul that does not immediately register with him even before we can bring it to him in prayer. God does not begin his response to our suffering when we pray; as is if we had to alert him before he would move. God is experiencing our suffering as we do, so our prayer only alerts us to his presence and activity.

Read Romans 8:23-30. Notice that God can put our suffering into words better than we can. Why? God is so “with” us that he is “in” us. Our groans make sense to him because he experiences them with us. Actually, they make more sense to him than they do to us because he knows their origin (past), expression (present), and redemption (future). In spite of his knowing the future resolution of our anxiety-depression, notice that God does not grow impatient with our sense of being overwhelmed by them in the present (v. 26).

  • Question: How would your prayers change if you remembered you didn’t have to explain your experience to God?

Capable of Transforming Suffering

We often think that transformation requires elimination. That is true when a water droplet is transformed to vapor; the droplet no longer exists. But God’s transformation of suffering is usually much more like the change in our memories of a loved one during grief. These memories transform from experiences of pain to precious treasures (that may still evoke sadness). This side of heaven God’s transformation of our suffering will not be Utopia. This helps us remember that the presence of pain does not mean the absence of God’s redemptive work in our suffering.

Read Hebrews 11:13-16. Notice this awkward interlude in the midst of Hebrews 11, a chapter commonly referred to as the “Hall of Faith.” We would say that God worked mightily in the life of each of these individuals. They are the upper-echelon heroes of the Bible. But also notice that the cliff notes-highlights we read from their life are not the same as their experience of these events. Their experience of following God by faith is much more similar to your experiencing of trusting God in the midst of depression-anxiety than you might have thought.

  • Question: What evidences can you already see of God using your experience of depression-anxiety? What are the incomplete aspects of that redemption with which you’ll have to trust God like those in Hebrews 11?

OVERCOMING DEPRESSION-ANXIETY: A SUFFERING PARADIGM
Date: Saturday September 27
Time: 4:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free
RSVP Here

For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

Depression-Anxiety_Poster

 

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