Fear or Faith, [Twelve Spies]

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“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed,”

Psalm 42:1-2a

Israel camping on the edge of Canaan is evidence of “fear or faith.” Twelve men were commissioned to spy out the land. They were to specifically to determine if conquest was possible.

Upon their return ten men gave a negative report. “We cannot take this land.” But two came back with positive news. “We can! We can take this land.” Two against twelve! Faith against fear.

Many live with a sense doom and fear. It is a “stronghold” that dominates their lives. It doesn’t have to be a specific issue, but there stiill be a sense of dread about the future. This is a destructive problem that fear brings to our hearts.

We can become disheartened and discouraged by our daily battle. Instead of faith we choose fear. The Lord’s promises are easily forgotten. We are devoid of a hopeful faith and are content to live out of this anxiety.

Believers are not immune to this discouragement. Sometimes the obstacles seem overwhelming. We deduce that this is normal and try to manage our defeated lives. But somehow a little voice tells us that there is something more, something better.

The Holy Spirit is supposed to be our steady companion, not fear. We are to emulate the two spies who came back to announce a complete victory. They tried to inject hope into the people’s lives with a good report.

A word about “panic attacks.” They are real and formidable. But God can guide you through them, you don’t need to suffer alone. Dealing with the fear and anxiety in your life can really help. For me the severity has reduced the attacks. The active presence of God is no small thing.

I shall not fear with the Lord Jesus at my side.

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The Corrosiveness of Social Anxiety

Everyone is looking at you
“In any social situation, I felt fear. I would be anxious before I even left the house, and it would escalate as I got closer to a college class, a party, or whatever. I would feel sick in my stomach-it almost felt like I had the flu. My heart would pound, my palms would get sweaty, and I would get this feeling of being removed from myself and from everybody else.” “When I would walk into a room full of people, I’d turn red and it would feel like everybody’s eyes were on me. I was embarrassed to stand off in a corner by myself, but I couldn’t think of anything to say to anybody. It was humiliating. I felt so clumsy, I couldn’t wait to get out.”

Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when people become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have an intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them. They can worry for days or weeks before a dreaded situation. This fear may become so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other ordinary activities, and can make it hard to make and keep friends.

While many people with social phobia realize that their fears about being with people are excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome them. Even if they manage to confront their fears and be around others, they are usually very anxious beforehand, are intensely uncomfortable throughout the encounter, and worry about how they were judged for hours afterward.

Social phobia can be limited to one situation (such as talking to people, eating or drinking, or writing on a blackboard in front of others) or may be so broad (such as in generalized social phobia) that the person experiences anxiety around almost anyone other than the family.

Physical symptoms that often accompany social phobia include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea, and difficulty talking. When these symptoms occur, people with social phobia  feel as though all eyes are focused on them. 

Social phobia affects about 15 million American adults. Women and men are equally likely to develop the disorder, which usually begins in childhood or early adolescence. There is some evidence that genetic factors are involved. Social phobia is often accompanied by other anxiety disorders or depression, and substance abuse may develop if people try to self-medicate their anxiety.

Anti-Anxiety Drugs

High-potency benzodiazepines combat anxiety and have few side effects other than drowsiness. Because people can get used to them and may need higher and higher doses to get the same effect, benzodiazepines are generally prescribed for short periods of time, especially for people who have abused drugs or alcohol and who become dependent on medication easily. One exception to this rule is people with panic disorder, who can take benzodiazepines for up to a year without harm.

Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is used for social phobia and GAD, lorazepam (Ativan®) is helpful for panic disorder, and alprazolam (Xanax®) is useful for both panic disorder and GAD.

Buspirone (Buspar®), an azapirone, is a newer anti-anxiety medication used to treat GAD. Possible side effects include dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Unlike benzodiazepines, buspirone must be taken consistently for at least 2 weeks to achieve an anti-anxiety effect. Social phobia can be successfully treated with certain kinds of psychotherapy or medications.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

Important Links:

http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/ http://morethancoping.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/social-anxiety-disorder-social-phobia/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_anxiety_disorder http://www.dmoz.org/Health/Mental_Health/Disorders/Anxiety/Social_Anxiety/

 

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