Mental Health

3 Seconds on Anxiety and Finding Peace

Doug Bender

August 02, 2019 | 3 minute read

Clint Gresham, NFL Long Snapper

“I went on to become a very sensitive kid. I would walk into a social setting and would feel this, just, almost intense paralysis of fear and feeling like people were judging me or looking at me.”

“I had grown up knowing about God, I believed that God loved me, I wasn't sure if God liked me. I thought that it was based on my performance and how good I was doing that day. I always gravitated towards sports because sports made me feel like I mattered.”

“The thing about mental health stuff is that it has nothing to do with internal strength, and I think for a long time I believed that. Kind of this whole testosterone culture of, ‘suck it up,’ and, ‘you've just got to go out there and do your job.’”

“Things don't get rational when you feel afraid, and when you feel depressed. When you feel like you're wearing a bodysuit that doesn't fit, and you look in the mirror and you don't like who you see, and these lies come in and tell us that we're not enough, that you don't matter.”

“God looked at you, and he said, ‘I don't want heaven if I don't have you. I would rather come and die in their place so that I could have you.’ And that's His passionate, unrelenting love that He has for you right now in this moment where you're feeling alone and broken and feeling like you're unlovable.”

Clint Gresham may have nerves of steel in perfectly snapping a football again and again in front of millions of people, but underneath all that is a lot of personal doubt. What gets him through is a bedrock belief in at least one person who truly likes him: God. Check out his whole story HERE.

Cody Garbrandt, Mixed-Martial-Arts Champion

“I always tell my corner men that whatever happens in that octagon, I’m willing to die in there. If you guys got to carry me back out, then do it. Let me fight to the death. So surrender is a foreign word to me.”

“Surrender is on the last page of the dictionary for a fighter. It’s on your dying page, in the last chapter at the end of the book. That’s the warrior’s way. You go to battle with your shield, and you get carried out of the battle on it. There’s no giving up.”

“I tried to figure out what I was going to do. I felt like my road was running to an end. I felt unaccomplished. I got in with the wrong crowd. I started doing drugs and partying, living super carelessly. It almost consumed my life.”

“There’s a time and a place when you need to surrender to a higher power. It’s God’s plan; his way that works. Once you give it up to God, everything’s going to be okay.”

“It’s God’s work. We’re just a little part of his work. Once I surrendered, I knew it was going to be okay, whatever he gives us. I’m able to surrender to him.”

Surrender doesn’t come easily to MMA Champion Cody Garbrandt. He’s made a living out of not surrendering. But in his heart, he has found one place to bow his knee, one place that gives him rest from worry and anxiety, and that’s to God. Check out his full story HERE.

Shawn Johnson, Olympic Gold Medalist,

“There was this void. I felt this loss and pain. I’d seen my parents sell their house and move into an apartment, do everything for this dream. There was nothing I could do to repay them. But somehow thought gold would do it.”

“I set my sights on London. I went back into the sport with a vengeance. But as soon as I started, I started to decline as well. I wasn’t sixteen anymore. I wasn’t the perfect image of what the USA national team wanted. I was constantly trying to lose weight and look a certain way, but it wasn’t happening.”

“I tried to make my sponsors happy, my parents happy, my coach happy, my team happy. But day after day I would come home from practice just bawling and bawling, just not having any outlet that gave me peace.”

“Perfectionism is like a drum. As a gymnast you’re taught that nothing except perfection is acceptable. You’re never thin enough. You’re never good enough. You’re never sticking your landings perfectly enough.”

“But in that moment, I knew I could trust in God. I had taken myself so low that I needed someone, some miracle to get me out of it. I heard God telling me it was all going to be okay. I was just so at peace with everything.”

Shawn Johnson felt overwhelmed by the pressure of perfectionism from her fans, family, coaches, and sponsors. The weight of it brought her anxiety and depression. The breakthrough came when she heard God loved her with all her imperfections, gold medal or no gold medal. Check out her full story HERE.

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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