In today’s episode, returning guest, Tiffany Ciccone, an author and English teacher joins Carrie in a Q&A about anxiety.
Here are some of Tiffany’s questions answered by Carrie.
- What is anxiety?
- How do you respond to someone when they say that anxiety and depression are just spiritual warfare and lack of faith?
- Everyone says to try deep breathing when you’re anxious. It doesn’t work for me. Why?
- Should I take medication for my anxiety?
- I pray but why I’m still anxious?
- How do I know if I need help for my anxiety?
Carrie: Welcome to Hope for Anxiety and ocd, episode 85. Happy New Year everyone. Happy 2023. It’s hard to believe that I started this podcast towards the end of 2020, so we’ve been going strong for a little over two years now. If you are new to our show, we’re all about reducing shame, increasing hope in developing healthier connections with God and others.
Today on the show, we actually have a returning guest from episode 41, Tiffany Cicconi. I’m very excited that you are here today, Tiffany, thank you. Very excited to be here. I brought you back because I thought beginning of the year, let’s break down and do just some very, like get back to basics. Just do some question and answer about anxiety. And I thought it would be kind of fun to have you read the questions. So that’s where we’re going today if everyone’s wondering.
However, before we get into that, I wanted to ask you to give us a little update since we missed you being a part of episode 80 on updating previous guests about what you’re doing now.
So you were writing a book about anxiety when we interviewed before.
Tiffany: How is it coming along? It’s coming along really well. A book is called Anxious with Jesus, and I have a little subtitle for it now. A memoir from the Messy Intersection of Faith and Mental Health or Mental Illness. I forget God, basically provided me with some time to just hunker down and work on it.
So I would say that my manuscript is basically finished and I’m in the process of submitting proposals to a couple publishers, and if they don’t bite, then I’m going to self-publish it. I don’t have a date yet, but it’s kind of new, exciting, unexplored territory for me. That’s where I’m at. Hey, when it comes out, we’re blasting it all over Instagram and get shared on the podcast.
Carrie: I’m very excited about it.
Tiffany: Oh. Thank you.
Carrie: If you need someone to read it and write you an Amazon review, you know where to find me.
Tiffany: Definitely will be doing that.
Carrie: I think it’s so relatable to people who deal with anxiety, because sometimes in their lives they feel like people around me just don’t get it. Even unfortunately, it happens a lot of times in the Christian community. Where if they read a story or hear a story about someone else who’s also struggled, it’s just that relatability is so helpful to be like, “Oh, okay. They’re a Christian. They’re trying to follow the Lord, and they’re also struggling too. And I don’t feel so alone anymore.”
Tiffany: Yeah, that’s definitely a major goal in my book because when I first started, I was diagnosed 15 years ago, and at that time, mental health was not as openly discussed as it is today, and I went through it very much alone. And so one of my goals now is to kind of reduce that.
I’m sharing my story so other people don’t have to live through theirs with a sense of doing it by themself.
Carrie: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Fire away. What’s the first question? Or FAQ? Episode.
What is Anxiety?
Tiffany: Gladly. Let’s start with the beginning. So Carrie, what is anxiety?
Carrie: Anxiety is a bit of a broad term, so I want to kind of break it down into different aspects, right?
So there’s mental aspects of anxiety, like worry, thinking about the future, oh, something bad’s gonna happen. Being really convinced of these types of things. And we also have a physiological aspect to anxiety. In our nervous system, we have a part of our nervous system called the sympathetic that revs us up.
That’s the fight or flight response, and we have a parasympathetic that calms us down. We call that rest and digest. So people who struggle with anxiety, they’re their fight or flight systemis overactivated and their rest and digest is underestimated. So part of what we do in things like therapy is help people tap into that calming aspect of their nervous system that’s already in there.
We can have spiritual aspects to anxiety where we say, okay, maybe I’m not trusting God with my worries, or I’m closing him off, or not bringing them to him. There’s these different aspects of anxiety that I think sometimes people just look at it at only one aspect, like, oh, anxiety is a spiritual problem.”
It’s not, it’s a physiological and emotional issue. And because a lot of times the emotional components are tied to negative past experiences, times where we’ve been hurt, times, where we’ve been ridiculed, so we’re afraid of those things happening again. That makes sense. Our brain remembers things for a reason, like, don’t touch the hot stove again, don’t speak in front of people because when you were in the fourth grade and you were giving your presentation, everyone laughed at you.
It’s a multifaceted issue. So I think that that’s important for people to know. It’s not just like one simple thing, “Oh, I’m a person who worries or all of that.”
Tiffany: And I think the lack of understanding of anxiety as a multifaceted thing has been the root of so many misunderstandings I’ve had with people, especially believers.
Unfortunately, they might say, “Oh, how are you?” And I might say, “I’m okay, but I’m feeling a little anxious.” And then they come back with a spiritual interpretation of that saying, “Oh, well, when I’m anxious, I learned to give it to the Lord and he takes it.” And I wanna say that’s not what, I mean, that’s not my issue right now. It’s physiological. So I really appreciate that multifaceted definition, and I’m excited for that to kind of spread,
Carrie: Yes. For more people to understand like how our brain, how our nervous system works and that God make us robotic, but we have these complex systems in our body. And let’s face it, they’re not perfect.
None of us have a perfectly functioning body, not until we get to heaven anyway, so things are gonna malfunction and we’re active sometimes.
I Pray But Why I’m Still Anxious?
Tiffany: Absolutely. So this next question relates. It’s, “I can quote scripture and pray, but I’m still anxious. Why?”
Carrie: I think a lot of times there’s this sense of cognitive behavioral therapy that has infiltrated the church. They’ll even quote scriptures like, there’s a scripture in Proverbs and it’s probably not gonna come to me, but it’s something like about a thought process and that being a part of a person. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Tiffany: I don’t know. The first one that came to my mind was trust in the Lord with all your heart leaned out on your own understanding. But yeah, I’m not sure.
Carrie: Okay. Well anyway, scratch where I was going with that. But there’s this infiltration that if we just control our thoughts, we’ll feel better. Like just, okay. So when you have that worry, you are supposed to pray about it and let it go and move on. But going back to the multifaceted approach, we can change our thoughts about something, but that doesn’t mean that our body accepts that fact as true. There are so many people that I’ve worked with that and I think of even in my younger years, There was a very loving mentor that was like, “You just need to know who you are in Christ, Carrie, like that’s gonna change your life.”. And I knew mentally who I was in Christ, but because of previous negative peer experiences, verbal bullying, those types of things, I didn’t have that sense of confidence of who I was in Christ.
I had to heal past garbage and shame and negative experiences in order to really be able to embrace and feel deep down who I was in Christ. So with anxiety, scripture is very powerful and certainly we’re not minimizing that at all, and I do believe that you need to hide that in your heart. But I’ve met so many Christians, I’ll never forget I was, speaking at a conference on the National Alliance for Mental Illness.
It was a statewide conference they have every year on anxiety. There was an older man in the audience during the question and answer time, and he said, “I know like I’m supposed to be anxious for nothing because I was talking about how to help anxiety in all these different areas and it wasn’t a Christian conference, so I did have spirituality in there.”
He said essentially like, “How do I do that? Because I feel anxious my whole life. I felt anxious, and really what I did was I pointed him back to people that were anxious in the Bible and I said, “Okay, so do you think that Gideon was anxious before he tore down his father’s altars? Really going against the grain of society.”
I think sometimes we look at these heroes of the faith and we think that they never had any anxiety, and that’s not what the Bible says. They had anxiety, but they still acted obedience. They still followed God and Jesus’ sweat drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane over going to the cross. He still went to the cross.
He still obeyed God, but he didn’t wanna do it like he was like, “Take this away from me.”. If there’s some other way to go through this, let’s go that way. People forget that or they overlook that a lot of times. And how I see those scriptures is not as a command of like, don’t be anxious. I see it more as like, okay, God is in control.
God loves you. You’re his child and like, so there’s not anything you need to be afraid of. Like if you can rest in that security and know that like, okay, I can bring these things over to him when we pray and we let things go. I don’t think that that’s an easy process a lot of times, right? , like there are some things that really we have to wrestle with in prayer that’s very scriptural going.
And praying about something and saying, okay, God, this I don’t understand. This is really bothersome to me, or what do I do about this situation? And we don’t always get an instant answer. In fact, a lot of times we don’t get an instant answer, right? Like, okay, God, what do I do about this decision?
It’s not like there’s this shining light that comes down and says, go left. We really have to continue to meditate and pray on that. Talk to wise counsel. Search the scriptures. Okay? Is what I’m doing lining up with the Bible? Okay. It’s not a moral issue, but where do I sense the Holy Spirit leading me?
It’s not a quick thing, so I don’t know why we would think that if I just pray about something that I’m worried about, that all of a sudden I’m gonna have like, I don’t know, a warm fuzzy feeling and just be like, “Oh yes, that’s great. I have complete and total peace.” I do think that God gives us peace to where we can move forward to where we can get through to the next thing, but I think sometimes it’s oversimplified. Let’s just put it that way, in terms of how Christians view it.
Tiffany: Absolutely. I just started to look up a verse actually in Philippians when you just said that. I’m not sure where it comes from. This belief, that expectation that we’re supposed to get instant relief from our anxiety when we bring it to God.
And I think there it is a verse in Philippians. And it says, oh, it’s actually in the be anxious for nothing passage, I think. Right. Pray with Thanksgiving and the God of all peace will I forget.
Carrie: You’ll have basically, you’ll have the peace that passes understanding.
Tiffany: Yes. In Christ Jesus. And so I think that a lot comes from that and I love that they write the fact that we have to look at the entire Bible. We can’t just single out one verse and blow it, zoom in on it, and forget everything because life is complex. Scripture is complex, and that’s why I think conversations like this are really important.
Carrie: And God’s complex. Why are we trying to make God simple? He’s huge.
Carrie: He cannot be simplified.
How Do I Know If I Need Help for My Anxiety?
Tiffany: Yeah. I have another, I like the next question. I feel like I’ve heard it from other people. How do I know if I need help or my anxiety? Where’s the line?
Carrie: Of course, we’re talking to a therapist and I’m very biased towards therapy, so I truly believe that anyone can benefit from therapy.
I think sitting down with someone and having an objective perspective on your life, I know as a therapist. I practice this stuff, that it’s been transformational to me to receive that support and love and acceptance from another believer who is able to affirm me and validate me, but also at the same time challenge me and say, well, have you thought about it this way?
Maybe you’re only looking at one side of the story and not the whole thing. However, when we’re talking about medication counseling, those types of things, getting help, I think we’re looking at the domains of a person’s life. Are the domains of your life impacted? So those would be things like your relationships.
Sometimes people come to counseling because they may say, “You know what? I know, like I’m driving my spouse nuts, and it’s to the point where they don’t know what to say to me. They’re trying to be supportive, but they kind of said, Hey, like maybe you need somebody more professional to talk to about this, because I’m kind of like at the end of my rope, I don’t know what to do.” Or
the anxiety is affecting their ability maybe to go out with their spouse and have a good time or be able to enjoy life with them. It may be it’s impacting work or school. So the anxiety has gotten to a point where I can’t complete my assignments because I want them all to be perfect and I’m super stressed myself out over.
I’m not sleeping, so we’re also looking at symptoms. Things like sleeping, eating too much to cope, not eating enough because you’re so anxious I can’t eat. Same thing with sleeping. Typically with anxiety, people sleep less or they’re waking a lot during the night. That can be another issue. Those types of things. Daily functioning. Is it hard for you just to get out of bed in the morning and get going? A lot of times if people have been anxious for a long period, they’ll get depressed because it’s really hard. Same with OCD.It’s just really hard to wrestle with it every day in and day out, every day, and that can really lead to a place of depression.
So sometimes when you treat the anxiety, develop some better coping skills for it, then the depression will relieve. Or sometimes antidepressants can help and different things with that too.
Should I Take Medication for My Anxiety?
Tiffany: Well said. I love that you mentioned antidepressants because that begs a whole, whole new question. New topic to explore here.
Should I take medication for my anxiety?
Carrie: Yeah. I think there is the stigma in the church about taking medication for mental health issues, which is really interesting to me because there are a lot of people in the church who take medications for other things like blood pressure or cancer or diabetes, or they have some personal family members that I know that take medications for these types of things and,
I would never say to my relative, “Well, you shouldn’t be on that high blood pressure medicine. Really what you need to be doing is exercising and eating right.” Well, they need to be doing that too, but at this point, since it’s not managed very well or their high blood pressure may be genetic, cuz sometimes it is, then that’s a medication that’s helping them live and helping them function in day-to-day.
If I have high blood pressure that is can be dangerous. So when we look at anxiety and talking about it as a multifaceted issue, if it’s affecting my physical body, then why should it be wrong for me to take something to help my physical body? Just like it’s helpful to take these things for other issues, medications for people. I always say it’s a personal decision because medications, sometimes people have had negative experiences with them or they’re like, you know what? I’m the person that gets all the side effects from the medicines and I have a hard time with them. So there are people, even though I will say there’s different options, just talk to your doctor about it.
If one thing doesn’t work well for you, you can look at something different. But some people say, “You know what? I’ve tried a medication or two, I just wasn’t happy with it, or I didn’t feel like it really helped me the way I had wanted it to.” And so they try counseling. Sometimes we try counseling for a while and then we roll back around and say, it’s really like hard for you to engage in these positive activities because of the anxiety. Your depression is so bad like would you be considered taking medication for it? And so those can go either way. I always think obviously, it’s a very personal decision what you put in your body, so I never tell people like, oh, you have to be on medication to see me or anything like that.
It’s just, “Hey, this is something that could be helpful for you. If you’re interested, why don’t you talk to somebody about it?” Whenever people initially come in, if they haven’t had just like a general blood work screening for things like vitamin deficiencies, thyroid, iron, that’s another thing that can cause issues, although that’s probably more on the low energy side rather than the anxiety side.
But anyway, the point is all of these things we talk about in a very early episode with a nurse practitioner about how all of those things can contribute to anxiety. So always like people to have a blood work rule out too. And we don’t wanna assume it’s all emotional if they’re also could be something physiological going on that could be contributing to the symptoms.
Tiffany: Absolutely. Yeah. That holistic approach is really important. And I’m gonna mention it’s just so on topic with a lot of things I’ve thought about and wrote about. One of my chapters in my book is called Therapy and the one after that is called Medication because that’s my story and I’ve been on medication for over 10 years now.
And like what you’re saying is absolutely true. In my case, I’m able to actually engage with life, engage with people, engage with God better because my mind’s working the way it’s supposed to with, you know, a boost from the medication I take. But it definitely was a journey. I know people who all over the place.
A couple good friends actually I saw go through hesitation with medication. One because of breastfeeding issues. Another because of one thing you mentioned with the, oh, I get all the side effects from everything I take, and it’s been a blessing to be able to walk with them, just kind of watch their story unfold.
And like you said, it’s not for everyone, but actually they both ended up trying it because when things get really hard, for me anyway, I end up at a place where it’s like anything to stop the anxiety. There’s something that can make me feel better. I’ll try it. That’s just my story.
Carrie: I talked about this in my first episode as like when I was going through my divorce, I was like, I’m not functioning.
I mean, I just remember periods where I would like, I’d be trying to write something for work, like a progress note, and I’d literally just stare at the computer screen for 30 minutes and all I could think about was you know my marriage that was ending. . It was very tough. I remember that was my realization moment.
That was like my wake-up call. And it was interesting because I think either that week or shortly after my therapist had said, “Have you thought about getting on an antidepressant, at least for this period? Like until you can get over this hump?” And I saw my doctor and ended up taking one for six months and it was probably one of the best things I did at that point in my life.
I think that’s another thing to tell people too, is not everybody has to be on it forever. I don’t know why people think this, because like I said, it’s not true for other medications. There’s people that might start taking medications because they’re pre-diabetic and then they can come off of. They manage with diet and lifestyle, those types of things.
But for some reason, when it comes to mental health meds, people think that somehow they’re gonna get sucked into this vortex and they’re gonna have to take it for the rest of their life. I don’t understand, cuz we don’t believe that about other kinds of medication. , it’s so bizarre. But that’s a thing that I hear a lot from people.
“Well, I’m gonna become dependent on that and I’m gonna have to have it all the time.” Plenty of things that you can take that are not addictive, right? Certainly for anxiety. Now there are some that can be potentially addictive. Those are typically prescribed more for like short-term relief, panic attacks, those types of things.
Even with that, there’s, you know, other options as well. It doesn’t mean you’re gonna get addicted if you get on an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.
What Do I Do If I Have No Idea Where My Anxiety is Coming From?
Tiffany: Right. Yeah. Thanks for diving into that. Let’s see our next question. This is a good one. I’ve been there. What do I do if I have no idea where my anxiety is coming from?
Carrie: Yeah, I think this is a good one because people are always trying to find like the answer, right? So like if I’m anxious, there must be some kind of reason that I’m anxious. Let’s face it, because we’re both females. Sometimes you just feel stuff, , and you have no idea why. I don’t know. Hopefully, men could resonate with that too, but I really believe like there’s some hormonal components at times that we don’t know are working behind the scenes.
You know, maybe we ate something that wasn’t agreeable. Maybe it’s just something with our nervous system that’s malfunctioning and to really be able to say, you know, “Okay, I don’t know why I’m anxious right now. Like you, you may know. And if you do know, then you can acknowledge it and go, “Okay, like, yeah, I’m really worried about this test that’s coming up on Friday.
It’s worth like three grades. I’m afraid I’m gonna fail it.” and then I can approach that several different ways. Obviously, I can breathe into it, I can pray about it, I can study, I can say, you know what? I’m gonna do the best I can. And if I fail, you know, I fail.” And then we’ll have to regroup from that.
But most likely if I study, I’m not going to fail. I’m not gonna get to that point, but if you don’t know and you just feel that, especially the physiological sense of anxiety. Sometimes it can be because something from the past is triggered that something going on in the president has kind of reminded us of a previous time, and our cognitive brain is not necessarily able to link it.
But it’s stored somewhere in our body. A lot of times trauma can be stored in in the body. When we realize that, I think it’s just, we lean into it and we say like, okay, I don’t know why I’m anxious right now, but that’s where this place of awareness and acceptance comes in. So I’m gonna acknowledge it first of all, like, “Okay, I’m acknowledging that I’m anxious right now and that we can’t snap my fingers and let that go.”
But what I can do is try a coping skill. I can try to think about something positive. I can breathe, I can go outside for a walk, you know, I can pet the dog. I can think about vacation I wanna take, that would be really peaceful. Those types of things. Even though that can be scary because we feel outta control, it’s like, “Oh gosh, this is just coming up
Seemingly out of nowhere.” A lot of times it’s not really as out of nowhere as we Think it is. If we’re able to kind of like dig in and do some work in therapy. But that’s kind of what I would recommend. I think
Tiffany: That’s good. I once had a therapist recommend to me if I’m interested, if you would agree with it, recommended, you know, if you’re feeling your anxiety physiologically, if it’s just a, I think she said somatic thing, then you should attack it on the somatic.
She recommended like a jog, try yoga, you know, breathing those things. Because you have no thought to work with it. It does make it a little more challenging. Right. And I’ve actually just went through a bout of that about a month ago I was unemployed and I was shocked by how much jogging actually helped work it outta my system or something. Nothing else would get rid of it. I just go run it off and then I feel better.
Carrie: Yeah, exercise is really great. It’s really, really good for anxiety and depression and does wonders for our body, but I would agree with that. Yeah. I think a lot of times this is another problem that people have if it’s physiological, then a lot of times what they’ll do is they’ll sit there and they’ll go, “I have no reason to be anxious.
I’m fine. My life is good. It’s okay. Move on. Like what’s the next thing?” Instead of like using something physiological to help themselves calm down. Take a deep breath, quiet your mind. Meditate, walk. Good.
Everyone says to try deep breathing when you’re anxious. It doesn’t work for me. Why?
Tiffany: Yeah. So speaking of taking a deep breath, the last question I have when I got from, a friend, this one says, “Everyone says to try deep breathing when you’re anxious. It doesn’t work for me. Why?”
Carrie: This is a good question, and I think there could be a few different reasons. Some people have get really weirded out focusing on their breath, or they start to have some obsessions about it or doing it right, something of that nature. So it really trips them up to kind of have that focus is one thing I’ve seen.
Another thing that can happen is people are not breathing in a way that’s activating that calm-down response. So like we were talking about the rest and digest, there’s something called your vagus nerve that is around that diaphragm area that if you’re breathing from your diaphragm for anybody that’s. Taking choir or anything like that, it’s right above your belly button.
So if you’re breathing into that area, you’re pressing on the vagus nerve, and that’s gonna trigger that calm down response. Sometimes when you see people take a deep breath, it comes from their chest, and it’s like, if it’s way up top, then they’re not activating that parasympathetic nervous system response.
So that’s a problem. It also could be because if you’ve had a lot of trauma or negative experiences, it may not feel safe to be at a place of rest. And this happens a lot for clients that have experienced chronic developmental trauma. So for example, growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent, I come home.
Dad’s been drinking. Dad gets violent sometimes. I don’t know. Is he gonna hit mom? Is he gonna throw something? Is he gonna just gonna be passed out in the chair? I don’t know. But I need to somehow be on high alert when I get home because I need to be prepared at all times for whatever it is that I’m gonna face.
And so that will linger in people’s nervous systems and in their body. So even though they’re a grown adult, they have a good spouse. They have kids, like their home life is actually okay and can be, you know, reasonably calm. They may wonder, why do I feel so anxious? But they’re still keyed up from all that stuff that happened to them earlier that they haven’t been able to clear out of their nervous system in some way, shape or form.
So when you try to teach relaxation skills to these people, you say, “Okay, like take some deep breaths.”. It’s almost like there’s this part of their body that’s like, “Nope. We can’t do that. Not safe. Okay.” . And it almost like, sounds this like secondary danger alarm, like, “Nope, nope. It’s too dangerous to relax.”
So in those types of situations, we really have to like ease into it and kind of like dip our toe in the water and even like recognize that anxiety and like acknowledging and validating that like, “Oh, okay, it didn’t feel safe when a kid to relax or didn’t feel safe to let your guard down.
Sometimes vulnerability is super hard for people, so it may take them time to open up in therapy or time to be able to feel comfortable enough. Sometimes it’s like having another person in the room. It feels too vulnerable to relax in the presence of another person. That can be another issue that comes up with those types of things. Multi reasons. Someone may have difficulty using breathing to relax.
Tiffany: Thanks for sharing. That’s all really interesting. I’ve never been in that place myself like the deep breathing, I have positive reactions to it. I find that really interesting. It makes a ton of sense. I also didn’t know that about the vagus nerve, about that being a reason why it helps calm down.
How Do you Respond to Someone When they Say that Anxiety and Depression are just Spiritual Warfare and Lack of Faith?
Tiffany: The last question comes from a friend of mine, and it’s something again that I’ve heard plenty of people say when I’ve come out about my anxiety. Basically, what do you say or how do you respond to someone when they say that anxiety and depression are just spiritual warfare and lack of faith?
Carrie: Yeah. Okay, so there’s two different aspects to that, right? , I think we have to address those one at a time because they’re two different responses. So our anxiety and depression, spiritual warfare, I think they can be, sometimes. , but I don’t think that they always are. So that’s really the defining piece. I think that there are times where I have like a feeling of oppression on me.
That’s the only way I can kind of describe it. I can verbally say like, “Okay, this is not from God. I don’t know where it’s from. I don’t know if it’s from Satan or if it’s just depression, but it definitely feels like, okay, this is something that’s trying to pull me down. If you acknowledge that, kind of going back to the multifaceted view of anxiety.
You know, there can be spiritual components to it where you say, “Okay, I have put my faith and trust in say, money, for example.”. Maybe you are a person that was like super financially secure and then you lose your job. Well all of a sudden you’re like trying to do it all on your own. You’re not like necessarily praying about it and you’re just, you’re getting super stressed out cause you’re like, I have to make it happen.
Pride can get in the way or not trusting. So can anxiety be a faith issue? Can it be spiritual warfare? I think it can be. However, it’s just not always going back to people like, I think to give simplistic responses to more complicated issues because they don’t. What to say or how to respond. So going back to looking at people in the Bible who were anxious or who were sad. I mean, there were people in the Bible who wanted to die, you know?
Because they were so sad about their situation. So I don’t think that those individuals had a lack of faith. When you look at faith, You look at like David prayed for his son that was sick and then the baby died. Did the baby die because David didn’t have enough faith? No. That’s not what the Bible tells us. Or there are other situations you look at Paul with like the thorn in the flesh. So did Paul not have enough faith that he could be healed from this? Well, no. It was something that God used in his life as part of his sanctification process. Mm-hmm. . One of the things that I’ve really come to learn is that the things that we want God to take away in our lives, the things that we say, Hey God, I need this.
Like I need this tho removed and I need it removed right now is like the very thing that God may be wanting to use in our life to make us more like Christ.
Carrie: My husband was recently diagnosed. I’ve talked about this on the show before, but he was recently diagnosed last September with basically a life-altering neurological condition and it’s degenerative and there’s no cure.
And so I think it, it’s been interesting kind of to see some similar responses to it. Like, “Okay, well we’re gonna pray for you and we’re gonna lay hands on you and God’s gonna heal you.” And he has had people lay hands and pray for him, and that’s been incredible. But also what I’ve really seen happen over the last few months as he’s, you know, walked out his life in his struggle to walk with a walker in his forties is that other people look at him and become inspired or their faith is increased.
I don’t know how you are so positive while you’re going through all of this. You know? So I would say if somebody’s struggling with anxiety or OCD, never underestimate how God may use that in your life. Or may use it in someone else’s life. When my husband was diagnosed, I remember just sitting there and telling God, like, “I don’t have the prayer life for this.”
You know, it’s definitely transformed the way that I have depended on God. It is transformed how much I’ve realized I need community and the body of Christ instead. You know, living in a lot of independent pride for a long time saying, ah, I don’t need your help. No, we got this. Like, we’re good now. I’m just like, yes, I need help. I raise my hand. “Can I have some help over here?” And that has been incredibly humbling, and hard.
This is, none of this that I’m talking about has been easy, but I’ve been reading in Olympians and Paul talks about being in Jail. He’s like, Hey, I’m in jail. And it’s totally like advanced the gospel all over the place.
Everybody knows like I’m here because of Jesus. And that’s what I really pray over my husband is that when people see him and they see his positive attitude that they’ll see like, This is Jesus, you know? In him. And that’s how he’s able to get up every day and do the things that he’s doing and have hope and to keep moving forward each and every day.
That’s a long response and some, you know, extra personal info in there. But I think if we run around every corner and say, you know, that must be Satan, or you’re not trying hard enough, because I think the lack of faith response, my husband gets really, , tiffy about this one because essentially, it’s saying, you’re not a good enough Christian, essentially, right?
well, you don’t have enough faith to be healed, then you know you’re not a good enough Christian. And we just don’t know like what God is doing behind the scenes. So many times in our life, we just have no clue. Like if you never had anxiety in your life, And this happens to people. I’m not saying it doesn’t, but like if you went forward at a prayer service and someone laid hands on you and you never felt anxious again, you and I like, we wouldn’t even be sitting here having this conversation, like trying to give hope to other people.
You wouldn’t be writing a book to encourage other people. You just never know. We don’t always see the purpose in it when we’re suffering, especially in the beginning of our suffering, we do not see, we’re like, whoa, this is awful. Take this away. Right? God’s at work all the time.
Tiffany: Amen. That’s beautiful. And we see it in Jesus himself. So, yeah. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that.
Carrie: I kind of shared a little bit of a story of hope at the end, but a lot of times I like to, I didn’t prep you on this ahead of, but do you have, you have any recent story of hope, like where you received hope from God or another person?
Tiffany: I like that. Sure. I know I do. There’s been a lot going on lately. I think there’s a girl who’s kind of recently come back around, a church, church that I meet with, and she struggles from anxiety and trauma growing up. She’s in her early twenties. Context. I’m 40 in a month, so we have a bit of an age gap, but we’re in the same small group together.
And she called me one night asking if she could have a ride to the emergency room, and her anxiety had been so bad recently that she got to the point of throwing up the hospital visit. They said that there was more going on than just anxiety there, but I see hope in that. She called me and I stayed there with her in the hospital until 2:00 AM.
Tiffany: When we got out, you can’t explain that other than Jesus, like we don’t have a whole lot in common. We both really like coffee. We both have anxiety. , but, but that’s Jesus. Like, I don’t think I would’ve stayed if I didn’t know how it might feel to be in anxiety alone.
Carrie: Right. And I didn’t want that for her. And there was another occasion before that where she texted me, “Hey, I’m really anxious right now. Can you pray for me?” And I texted her back, “Yeah, should I call you?” And she said Yes. And so I called her. And I don’t often pray for people over the phone, but this is just one example, like how your husband’s, how his
disease has reawakened your prayer life. I guess that’s kind of a micro example of that. Her reaching out to me saying just like you, you know, I need help that awakened my prayer life. And reminded me of years ago when I was like much more practiced in my intercessory prayer life. And you know, I feel like God used that to kind of start nudging me back toward that and she’s, I’m going to her birthday party in a weekend or so. So that’s definitely a story of hope. I can definitely see hard things bringing people together and the body of Christ coming together in community to support one another.
Yeah. That’s awesome. I love it. I’m so glad that you joined me on this episode. It’s been a lot of fun.
Tiffany: Me too.
Carrie: It’s good to have like your insights and your feedback as well. That’s awesome. Glad we could work this out. Well, like I said before, let us know when the book comes out. We want all the details and all of the links and people can go follow you on Instagram too to keep up with you.
Tiffany: Yes, absolutely. It’s uh, Tiffany and some Italian last name, .
Carrie: I’ll link it in there for you all so you can just look in the show notes.
Awesome. Thank you so much, Carrie. I really enjoyed this too.