So what can we do about anxiety? Is there any hope? The hope lies in my parable of the steel rebar rod protruding out of the concrete. I will get back to that later.
First I will say that I do not believe in quick fixes. Some things that present at instantaneous relief include repentance (as mentioned last time), discovering repressed memories and being healed from them, and even as an answer to prayer. I've already talked about repentance so I will move on to repressed memories and other kinds of psychological healings.
Imagine that B was in her thirties and still wrestling with anxiety. Then a "repressed memory" (probably Christian) psychologist takes her back through hypnosis to her childhood. She remembers, vividly, her father's tantrums and his kick in her side. Then the repressed memory theorist, through suggestive manipulation, gets her to remember things that didn't happen (for example sexual abuse). This therapist then leads her in prayer for forgiveness and deliverance. He then assures her she had been delivered and is now free of the bondage of fear.
This is no better than the youth pastor's prayer and laying on of hands for an instantaneous deliverance from demonic oppression. Both of those are cheap and quick like a microwaved dinner. It makes the youth pastor feel better about his value (of finding the problem to a pretty young girl's problems and being her knight in shinny armor) and it helps the psychologist demonstrate his great talents as a mental healer . . . but neither does a thing for B. Indeed, she may eventually be worse off because she discovers that the anxiety is still there and months later, after the euphoria of being "delivered" wears off, she will be more depressed about her anxiety.
What about one more instantaneous relief . . . the simple and humble petition of the sufferer to God . . . in other words, prayer? Someone has already mentioned in the comments of this blog how they have prayed so hard for help and deliverance and none have come. Is God impotent? Is God deaf or doesn't care?
Because anxiety disorders are deeply imprinted into the brain's structure and chemistry, to be instantaneously fixed by prayer would be a SUPERNATURAL event . . . in the same order of someone who was born without a leg, suddenly growing one. It is my confident view, not based on a theological position, but as an honest observer of real life, that true--SUPERNATURAL--miracles are rare. Do you know anyone raised from the dead or grew a new limb? Most of what we use as proofs of answer to prayer are subjective and easily subject to wishful thinking. To even talk like this I am quickly put in my place by Evangelicals as someone of little faith, or who doesn't really know the true God.
This prayer issue is another posting series in itself, but I'm not at all implying that God is not listening nor is He impotent. I'm just saying that Evangelicals (and other Christians) have created a mythology that God is constantly doing supernatural things, when most of that is wishful thinking.
I know that during the years that I was constantly attesting to miracles, that I was self-deceived at best and often I was telling all out lies. In my heart of hearts I knew that they were lies. I decided to come clean. It is a simple observation that God typically works within the wonderful system of nature. This is where this discussion goes back to the point of monist Vs dualism. The dualists see this physical world, the laws of nature, the laws of human philology as being other than God or outside of God's goodness. But I see these as part of God wonderful works. I've quoted Einstein many times where he says that there is only two ways to look at the universe, as if nothing is a miracle or as if everything is. I see the universe as all a supernatural miracle, when I use "natural" the same was as the evangelicalism. So when I use "natural" as meaning without God, then the only natural state is complete nothingness. No matter, no energy . . . absolutely nothing. So, as the moment that the big band occurred, everything side of that is supernatural. So, in my opinion, God doesn't have to bend the rules of nature to intervene. The way He has made things is wonderful and most solutions come within that system.
With this view, I don't feel betrayed by God when He does not work instantaneously to change things outside the natural laws which He has created. Now, since I got so far along this tangent, I have run out of time and space. Next time I will talk about what I think is the solution to this problem of having an anxiety disorder. But I will warn, that I do believe that for some of us there is no true hope of complete resolution this side of having new bodies. In the same way I don't believe that there is complete resolution to my friends with spinal cord injuries or amputations in this life. There are big improvements that can be made, but the hope of being normal again awaits the great restoration after this life.
Sorry about typos. I'm with a group and suddenly we have to leave the coffee shop before I had the chance to proof-read.