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Kristan Torres

Finding God in Our Anxiety by Kristan Torres

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“There are times in our lives when our peace is based simply on our own ignorance.  But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (1935).

I love this quote, because I believe it captures so well the true condition we are in, while living our earthly lives.  I’ve written it down and carried it with me in working with clients since first starting out as a therapist a decade ago.

Anxiety is real and common. 

We have all experienced forms of anxiety; some more than others.  For some people it’s a nuisance, for others it causes distress, while for others it can be debilitating.

But what does the Bible have to say about anxiety?  Let’s look at the Psalms. 

Psalm 94:19 (ESV): “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”

In this translation, the word “cares” is used, however in other translations, the word is “anxiety” or “anxious thoughts.” The Psalmist is describing that he experiences times where he has many anxious thoughts.

Do you relate?  I believe that we all can relate to times when our cares, anxieties, worries are many.

The verse goes onto describe that God’s “consolations cheer my soul”.  What does this mean?  Consolation means comfort after a loss or disappointment and in some other translations, the word “cheer” is instead, “delight”.

I like what Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers (1897) explains: “Delight.—Literally, stroke, and so soothe. The Hebrew word is used in Isaiah 66:11 of a mother quieting her child with the breast, and in Jeremiah 16:7 of the cup of consolation given to mourners at funerals.”

What a beautiful picture this is of God’s comfort for us during times of anxiety.  God comforts and soothes us.  I wonder how many of us pray for God to comfort and soothe us when we are anxious? I’m not even sure that I had thought of needing comfort and soothing while feeling anxious – I think I’ve mostly prayed that it would just go away.  I’m sure you relate.

But maybe, God’s not going to take the anxiety away.  Maybe, our experience of anxiety, and reaching out to God for help, gives Him the opportunity to comfort and soothe us, as a good mother would her child who is upset.

God desires intimacy and closeness with us. Why wouldn’t He use the experience of anxiety to draw us close to Him?

Let’s now look at Psalm 112:7 (ESV): “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.”

How many of us experience anxiety as the fear of “bad news” coming our way – whether real or imagined?  The reality is, we will have both.  Bad news will come our way eventually; there will be emergency situations we weren’t necessarily expecting.  There will be loss of things, positions, health, and of important people in our lives… on this earth.

But there will also be the imaginings of bad news; things that aren’t at all real that come to our minds.  And in this verse, the “bad news” that is described here includes both the real and the imagined.

The Psalmist goes on to describe that his heart is firm – immovable – because he is trusting in the Lord and in His love and grace “which is sufficient for him even in the worst of times” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1748-63).

When we call to mind God’s love for us, it strengthens us.  So, what are our worries when compared to the love of God?

And here’s the trick or lie of anxiety – it has a big bark with no bite – the big bark is because it involves your mind and physical sensations in your body; nervousness, digestive upset, panic, and more. Because we can feel it so strongly – we think – it must be real!  But much of anxiety is not.  It’s really a lot of “what ifs.”

Think about the movie version of the Wizard of Oz. Everyone in the land of Oz feared the great and powerful wizard.  Dorothy and her friends endured so much to get to the wizard so that they could beg him to give them what they needed.

They finally arrived and fearfully approach – the loud voice, the smoke, the fire, the video of the strange looking man – he was as they imagined him to be – scary!  But then something happens, and the giant “wizard” breaks down.  Come to find out, it’s just an old man hiding behind the curtain, trying desperately to get his machine working again.  This, the scared old man, is all that much of anxiety is. Impotent, with no ability to actually help us.  All bark, no bite.

But our God on the other hand, is very real. And He is so much greater than any anxiety we could ever have.  Remembering how big our God is in comparison to how small and powerless our imagination is helps put things in their proper perspective, bringing calm to the storm.


An important note:  If your experience of anxiety feels out of control or is disrupting your ability to function in your daily life, you probably need professional help. It will be okay and we’ll walk you through it.  That’s what therapists are here for!  Feel free to reach out to me through http://hope-sessions.com and if I can’t help you, I would be glad to help you get to someone who can.


Join us for our next event: God & Depression

Depression is a problem that many live with on a daily basis. It can hinder relationships, cause health issues, and cause even the most routine activities to feel overwhelming. 

Whether you or someone you care about suffers from depression, we invite you to join us for an evening where you will hear from licensed Mental Health Counselor, Kristan Torres, on the subject of GOD & DEPRESSION. 

Kristan will discuss the topic of depression from a biblical standpoint. Her insight into this subject will both encourage and challenge you as she shares how GOD is able to help us, speak to us, and address our depression in practical ways.

Appetizers and drinks will be provided.

This event is FREE, but RSVP is required as space is limited.

Register Here


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Hope in The Darkness by Kristan Torres

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The grass wither, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:8

According to Andy Haley from stack.com (last updated September 23, 2015), did you know these things happen every day in our bodies?  

  1. You get shorter (gravity).
  2. You gain weight.
  3. Your hormones fluctuate.
  4. Your heart rate changes.
  5. You’re more or less likely to get hurt (more likely in the evening than the morning).
  6. Your body temp peaks in the afternoon.

Our bodies are constantly changing, and so are our emotions.  But to someone who is depressed, this is one of the hardest things to believe; that they won’t always feel this way.  But as the verse above says, the “grass wither, the flower fades” – nothing on this earth lasts forever, except for the Word (Bible) and promises of God.  

So, if we apply this principle to feeling depressed – this is actually good news.  As I sincerely promise all of the clients I work with who are experiencing depression, they won’t always feel this way – and it turns out to be true.  

Depression eventually lessens; sometimes through therapy, sometimes medication, sometimes nutritional and lifestyle changes, sometimes through circumstances changing, and sometimes through a whole combination of these things and more.  Always through prayer; although not always in the timeframe we would want.  But the depression does eventually lift.  

Depression is not “one size fits all”.  Everyone who experiences depression, experiences it in a different way.  

Some people cry, and others can’t find any tears.  Some people eat more, some eat less.  Some sleep more, some less.  Some people find it hard to function and others bury themselves in tasks and responsibilities.  Some people’s depression comes and goes, others experience depression that weighs heavily for what can seem like a lifetime.  

Just the same, the answers about why the depression is there are not necessarily easy either, and sometimes it takes some time to figure it all out.  Relieving depression is also not simple, or formulaic.  Believe me, I wish it was…  

But what I do want you to know is that if you are experiencing depression, you’re not alone.  

I have walked with many people down what may seem like a very dark path, and I have seen as what little light there is becomes brighter and brighter, until the depression is in the past rather than the present.  Isn’t that what we all want?    

Let’s look at Psalm 42:5 first: 

5Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Here the Psalmist acknowledges the depression he is feeling, but he almost instructs himself to put his hope in God and declares that he will praise Him, reminding himself (and all of us) that God is his Savior and his God.  

Part of the darkness of depression is feeling alone.  Feeling like no one understands you and wondering if maybe God has even forgotten you since you aren’t experiencing relief.  See here what David wrote in Psalm 13:2:

2How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

In the midst of depression, you wrestle with your thoughts; trying to figure out why you’re feeling the way you are, or you wonder why you are going through the depression in the first place.  David understood.  He describes here the agony and frustration of not knowing when the sorrow in his heart will end.

Just a few verses later, his tone (and his focus) changes:

5But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Now, truthfully, we don’t know that experientially his feelings changed as quickly as reading one verse to another.  What he wrote may have been a summary of what he had been feeling over a time period.  It may have taken time for him to actually cry out to God in his suffering and then to praise God.  In fact, it takes time for most anyone going through depression to experience this change, or for some, to even be able to praise God.    

We see David reflect here on God’s promises to us of his unfailing love, and salvation.  David, similar to the Psalmist in Psalm 42 above, then declares that he will “sing the Lord’s praise” and reminds himself of God’s faithfulness.   

What can we learn from these passages?  

  1. We won’t always feel the way we feel; our emotions change. 
  2. We are not alone; God is always with us, and others have gone before us, felt similarly, and experienced God’s faithfulness, closeness and relief.  
  3. There is something we can do in the midst of depression which will provide some relief, and that is to cry out to God – tell Him all that you are going through, and trust that He’s listening.  
  4. “Instruct” yourself to praise God, because it’s likely not the first thing you’re thinking of when you feel depressed.  But, praising God, singing to Him, is not only honoring to the Lord, but it’s good for us.  It can provide perspective and relief.  

Keep in mind, if it takes you some time to get to this place of praising God, it’s okay.  It will not be helpful to put pressure on yourself or feel shame because you’re not ready to do this.  Again, everyone’s experience is different.    

Finally, what I’ve written here isn’t everything, but I pray it’s a start.  Please reach out to someone in your community, church family, christian counselor or trusted pastor if this message is speaking to you, and you’re feeling stuck and alone, like the darkness is engulfing you, like there are no answers and nothing is working.  We’re here to help.


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What Is It About The Psalms? by Kristan Torres

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Is there someone you love who now hates you? You know, without a doubt, that they want to see your demise. They want to see you torn down, destroyed or heartbroken. You’re not alone.

I invite you to look at Psalm 3 (which was written over 3,000 years ago by the way). Regardless of their age, the Psalms are still singing to us today. Psalms, after all, are songs, Hebrew poetry, that was meant to be sung.

As a therapist, I am so encouraged by this incredible book from the Bible that gives voice to so much of the human experience.

Realizing that our God-given story is woven within His grander story of all of creation, is so much of what we work to help people realize and formulate in the therapeutic process. Talking about our feelings and our experiences is important. Your story is a valuable part of the tapestry God is weaving. And if you forget this – look at the Psalms.

I’d like to talk about a passage from just one Psalm right now, Psalm 3:1-6 ESV (listed below in italics). Let’s take a look:

1 Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

King David, the author here, is acknowledging having enemies; and don’t miss this, because this is personal. These aren’t just any enemies – David here is speaking of his own son, Absalom, and the people in the land who Absalom had turned against David.

They were out to kill David, and they were scoffing at him for his faith in God for deliverance. Do you relate?

Let’s continue.

3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

David then acknowledges the power and protection of the Lord which is all around him, and the lifting up in honor, after removing our shame.  We may be attacked for a time, but we will eventually feel relief and victory.  Although sometimes it’s not the victory we thought we were going to have.  

David then goes on to speak of God’s faithfulness - God does not have to answer, after all, He is holy, but he does answer.

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

David then shares that he can sleep, despite the attacks; he can rest and wake up again to face another day because God is sustaining him. Again, from the perspective of a therapist, this is so good to see in the Psalms – we need rest and sleep, particularly when going through stressful times, and God will provide this to us. He will sustain us when we trust Him for it. God is practical.

What’s interesting is that David doesn’t say that his trouble has gone away, in fact, he describes his trouble as worsening, but his fear has gone away because he acknowledges who God is. This is powerful. It’s when we put things in their proper order, we are able to have peace.

In the clearest possible language – God is bigger and more powerful than our enemies or any trouble that can come upon us. Sometimes we miss this because we have our perspective wrong; things are out of order and we are seeing our enemies as bigger than God. This is not true though – He is still bigger.

Can you relate to this passage?

I know that I can. How encouraging is it to read this and be reminded of people, like King David, who came before us, who felt as we sometimes do, and who have experienced the faithfulness, the protection, and the sustaining of God?

So – what is it about the Psalms? They’re beautiful, they’re real and they apply to our lives even today, and tomorrow too.

The Psalms show us that it’s okay to feel ambivalent (aka, having mixed emotions). They are authentic in their display of trials and human emotion; nothing is ‘sugar coated’ in the Psalms. They show us we can struggle, plead, and cry out to God but then we see the Psalmists ultimately praise God; and praising God is good for us.


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