Dr. Jeremiah Johnston and Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley, a physician and author known by many as “Dr. Carol,” discuss emotional health and how to face fear, anxiety, and grief from a Biblical perspective.
To navigate our emotions effectively, we first need to understand how we are wired by God. Rather than viewing ourselves as comprised of different facets, Tanksley says it’s important for us to view ourselves as holistic beings.
“The way some groups in Christianity talk about our humanness is that ‘I am a spirit, I have a soul, and I live in a body.’ Not that that’s wrong, but God didn’t create us as separate pieces. You can’t separate the different parts of our humanness from each other—the physical, emotional, relational, spiritual parts—any more than you can separate the flour, sugar, eggs, and salt in a loaf of bread. We are baked together into an integrated whole. Because we are integrated, whole human beings, God’s best for us demands that He has access to all these other areas of our lives.”
Our physical actions, our relationships, and our mental focus all play an integral role in our faith walks. When facing anxiety, we need to remember that we can choose what we focus on to a great extent.
“If you want positive resilience, it’s important to keep the bad stuff out and keep the good stuff in. We have a choice about the food our minds take in. We have a choice and it makes a difference.”
Since grief is unavoidable in life, people are served by learning how to manage it.
“Healing doesn’t just drop on you. For me, I didn’t want to work on the grief, but I realized that was the thing that would help me go through it.”
In helping others through their pain, Johnston and Tanksley emphasize the ministry of presence. Johnston recounts a time when he simply read in the Psalms and prayed over a suffering person.
“I want to say this to those who may be suffering: know that your profound grief is never wasted. God will and can bring good from it. God will restore your joy.”
As Christians, we are not exempt from experiencing mental and emotional challenges in life. We need to acknowledge our feelings and face them head on, allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives and bring us to a place of peace, joy, and complete surrender.
Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley (MD, MDiv, and DMin) is an OB-Gyn, a speaker, and an author. Her books include, “Overcoming Fear & Anxiety Through Spiritual Warfare,” “Live Healthy, Live Whole: Your Prescription for Healthy Living, Loving Relationships, and Joyful Spirituality,” and the recent “The Christian’s Journey Through Grief: How to Walk Through the Valley with Hope.”Learning how to face fear, anxiety, and grief