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Gramps,

I suffer from debilitating anxiety and depression. I especially suffer social anxiety, which causes me to have panic attacks in social situations, especially at church. I try to go to Sacrament Meeting when I can, but have to leave because of panic attacks. Anything else beyond that, such as callings is too much. Will the Lord accept this as my best effort even though it is very little compared to other members of the church? I fear that He won’t and will reject me. This causes a lot of shame.

Forrest

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Answer

 

Forrest,

Our Father in Heaven loves you and He knows your heart.  He also knows what you are (or are not capable of) and He is and will continue to bless you for doing the best you can.  Imagine if you were home bound due to physical illness, to you think the Lord would reject you for that?  Of course, He wouldn’t.  This is no different.  Keep doing the best you can with the circumstances you find yourself in, the Lord will accept the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

I believe the Lord would also want you to seek therapy.  Elder Holland spoke of this in his beautiful talk, Like a Broken Vessel.  He said,

“If things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values. Be honest with them about your history and your struggles. Prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe. If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use allof the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation.”

Some people with anxiety, depression and anxiety attacks have been healed through therapy, and the Lord’s assistance.  Elder Holland said:

“Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it! Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed.”

For others anxiety and depression may be a life-long thorn burden to carry, but like in Alma’s people in the Book of Mormon, the Lord can make that burden more bearable.  (Alma 24:14)    I’ll leave you with this last quote from Elder Holland’s talk:

“Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart. Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.”  Like a Broken Vessel

Gramps

 

 

 

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