Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up. The righteous gives good advice to friends, but the way of the wicked leads astray.
Most of us have experienced the familiar twinge of anxiety in our lives, whether it’s anxiously waiting for test results, worried about a loved one, or stressed about finances. Some of us will also have experienced Anxiety as mental ill health. The Church, at its best, ought to play a part in building up the support network of people experiencing distress.
Here are some things you could consider: · Find out if anxious people want to be invited to events. It could come across as pressure if you bombard them with invitations. Ask where the balance lies between encouragement and adding anxiety. · Send them an encouraging text from time to time, to let them know you’re thinking of them. · Ask them if they have anything particular that you could pray for. · Ask what they perceive as “too much support” that causes anxiety or feels over the top. · Invite people to a social catch-up, such as coffee and cake. · Remember Church is not just inside the walls of our chapels. · Talk to your church about how welcoming and inclusive your community actually is for those experiencing distress, things like language, beliefs, or practices that might inadvertently isolate people. Make sure you include those who have real life experiences with distress to be part of your thinking.
Nothing distress you, nothing affright you, everything passes, God will abide. Patient endeavour accomplishes all things; who God possesses needs naught beside.
Hell may assail you, it cannot move you; sorrows may grieve you, faith may be tried. Though you have nothing, he is your treasure: who God possesses needs naught beside.
Colin P. Thompson (1945 – ), as at 548 in Rejoice and Sing
The Rev’d Dr Michael Hopkins, is minister of a group of Methodist and United Reformed Churches, based around Farnham, Surrey, and Clerk of the General Assembly.