Chamomile Tea and Hugs – Practical Tools for Anxiety

Anxiety has been a life long companion for me.

It pops up when I least expect it and it loves to needle at all my deepest insecurities…

I’m not faithful enough to hand it over to God.

I’m not smart enough to stop thinking like that.

I’m not enough…ever…to overcome this issue.

It’s one of the reasons I become so exacerbated when I hear someone quote flippant Bible verses to others about anxiety, or when someone shares a meme that tells me Do Not Be Afraid is found in the Bible 365 times.

I wish it was helpful. I really do. But it never has been for me. It feeds into the not enough aspects that anxiety wields like a sword, but don’t fit with the message of Truth and Love that I see from Jesus when He’s speaking in Scripture.

So, I do what any theologian-therapist-anxiety-prone person does…

I opened the Word to make sense of it all.

Lord, I don’t get it. I don’t understand anxiety and I don’t understand where in the world you are in all of this. Who are You? What is Your message here? Give me true Law and true Gospel and take out all the stuff I want to see, for what you are actually saying. In Jesus, in Him who rescues, Him who delivers, Him who Saves, I pray. Amen.

You know what I found?

Chamomile tea and hugs from a friend go a lot further than advice on how I should overcome it.

Jesus didn’t intend for me to struggle with this alone. He gives me people, connection, and care. When I share my burden, even when I can’t quite put it into words, God does miraculous things. It is still uncomfortable and sometimes I just have to sit in it. But, wow, the inexpressible becomes somehow alive with legs and arms and words. I can externalize what was pent up inside. I can rest because God sends people. God sends the Body.

Even better…

Jesus is that friend.

Some things I just have to sit with on my own. But…not really. Because when He says,

Come to me.

I know He’s for real. He sits in the discomfort with me. His Spirit resides in me, that Helper, that Counselor.

It still feels uncomfortable, but not alone is so much better than not enough.

In today’s podcast we address some of the very Scriptures I struggled to understand, as well as find some practical tools for anxiety and the Spritiual Care of anxiety.

PS – This podcast and blog are not a replacement for local mental health care resources. Please seek out and utilize counselors, psychiatrists, and other professional mental health providers in your local area.

PPS – Did you know that chamomile tea daily has been shown in at least one study to reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety? See the study link here. So, bringing it to visit a friend is a good idea. Now, if only I liked the flavor… 😉

Ministry Moment: Happy Hour

Ministry doesn’t have to be boring.

All the things that make ministry what it is – relationships, people, theology, God’s Word, Truth, Hope – all of those are far from boring.

Sometimes, though, we do need some fresh ideas, while clinging firmly to Truth. So here’s a new idea for the new year!

I recently sat down with our friend and colleague, Matt Wingert, Director of Youth Ministry Extraordinaire to share a concept we use at our own church, that we thought all churches would benefit from. He found it once-upon-a -time via the pretty great pastor of his church in California.

It’s not a complex idea. It’s not a scripted idea and it’s not a time consuming idea. It is an idea simply meant to build relationship, inside the church, outside the church, and around and through the church – just being a light of life together in this dark world.

Today’s Ministry Moment is…Happy Hour!

4-7pm, 5-8pm, whatever time of your choosing: some drinks, some snacks, friendship, conversation, an open house and an open door.

As Matt shares with us in this podcast, “Invite the churched, the unchurched, and the church across the street…”

Happy Hour is the Gospel shared in homes and with people you wouldn’t necessarily meet otherwise. It’s the people of God spending time together outside the four walls of the church building. It’s relationships happening on the good days and the bad.

Find out more details on what Happy Hour is, how it works, and how to implement it in your time and place on the podcast:

Ask questions, ask questions, and ask more questions: Lessons learned from Cross Cultural Ministry

Cultures different from our own can be intimidating.

People from different cultural perspectives may think differently from us, act differently from us, and even value different things than we do.

But goodness God does beautiful things to each of us, and our relationships when we step outside of our own culture for a moment and enter into another.

Missionaries Christel Neuendorf and Rachel Jaseph join  me in conversation to talk about lessons learned from cross cultural ministry.

I sat down and expected a discussion of language and communication struggles, learning where to go, and what to do in a new land, instead my heart and mind were opened to the reality that

culture is across the globe, but also right outside my door.

I think the lessons in today’s podcast will serve us all well, not only for ministry and knowing our neighbors outside of the United States, but for the work we have to do with meeting our neighbors everywhere.

A few of my favorite lessons you’ll hear include:

When in doubt, ask questions.

Often we think of poverty in financial terms, but there is also the reality of poverty of community.

Relationships first. Always.

When not in doubt, ask questions.

Be present with the people God puts in front of you.

Get out, go into your community and find out more, learn more, grow more.

Ask more questions.

Written in Iron Ink: Cross Cultural Ministry –

You can find Rachel and Christel and more information about their ministry at the following links: