Hi, my name is Andy and I have PTSD. I am sharing this little piece of my medical history with you as an encouragement not a plea for sympathy. You may be asking, “How can this possibly be encouraging info?” Well, I am glad you asked. You see, I am convinced that God has BLESSED me with PTSD so that I might learn to trust in Him more fully! And what I want to do today is point you to a passage often used to encourage those who are anxious for one thing or another and provide three ways I am able to apply this passage in my life. I do this with the hope that I might serve as an example to you when you feel anxious.
The passage I want to point you to is 1 Peter 5:6-7: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
And now without further ado, let’s get to the three ways I apply this passage in my life as I seek after God in the midst of my own challenges:
1. I humble myself by seeking God’s perspective.
Ok, so that might need some explanation. One of the many ways PTSD affects me is an inability to distinguish between when a situation is or is not actually a danger to me. In other words my “fight or flight response” has been set to “fight”. So whenever I encounter a situation in which I feel threatened I must humble myself by admitting that my perception of what is going on is probably wrong. Wrong, like in the 99.9% probability range.
So I must force myself to pray in order to ask God to make me able to see what is actually going on. Likewise, I must rely on those around me in order to determine how a ‘normal’ person is responding to the same stimuli. Trust me when I say, this is almost always a difficult, but not impossible, exercise.
2. I trust God with the situation.
This may appear to be a cliché, but I assure you it is not. For twenty-two years I was trained to be self-reliant and to always move forward regardless of the situation. I was institutionalized into the concept that the only ones to handle the situation were me and the fellows to the left and right of me and that failing at any given task was unacceptable and therefore not part of the plan of the day. God used many of these things to bring me to salvation, for I had a deep sense of personal responsibility and accountability, but these same understandings can also lead to sinful self-reliance. So what does all this have to do with trusting God with the situation? Well, in addition to seeking God’s perspective so as to see things as they are, instead of how I perceive them, I trust that whatever outcome God has in any given moment is the best one possible. In other words, I trust God with my life the same way I used to trust the man to my left or right. Only in this case God is ultimately able to preserve me, either here on earth or by bringing me home to heaven.
3. I enjoy God’s provision.
This last point is most directly related to the preceding point about trust. When I trust God to provide for my safety – whether temporal or eternal – I am reminded of His great love for me! If God demonstrated His love by sending Christ to die for me (Romans 5:8) then surely I can rest in the knowledge that He has my best interest in mind – ALL THE TIME! And in light of 1 Peter 5:6-7 it is the reason for being humble and trusting God with your problems in the first place. In other words, because God cares for me I actually have nothing in the world to be concerned over because God knows what I need even before I discover it for myself (Matt. 6:8).
In closing this post I want you to know that I know I have made this appear to be an easy process to work through each time I (or you) encounter an anxious moment. I know it’s not and to tell the truth without Christ it is more than not easy – it’s impossible! So if you are reading this today it really doesn’t matter what you worry about – turn to Christ and place your full trust and confidence in Him. Trust Him for your salvation and then continue trusting Him for everything.