Do you get anxious? Most people do from time to time.
In my experience, many women deal with feelings of anxiousness on a regular basis. Needless to say, these repeated bouts of anxiety can be quite disruptive and crippling. (I’m referring to feeling anxious, not to medically diagnosed anxiety disorders—which I’d be entirely unqualified to address).
Anxiousness displays itself in a variety of ways. Some people get an uneasy feeling in their gut. Some struggle to focus on anything but what they’re anxious about. Some get overwhelmed by fear and worry. Others get uptight, angry, or impatient as they dwell on their concerns. And others know they are dealing with anxiety when they start completely freaking out!
One dictionary defined anxiety as:
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Regardless of how you experience it, that definition sums up anxiety well — it’s when something is going to happen (or might happen) making you troubled or apprehensive.
Come to think of it, most (if not all) of us could admit to succumbing to this kind of anxiety at times. And since it’s so common, it’s okay, right?
The Trouble with Anxiety
As easy as it is to fall into anxiety, it’s not what God wants. Philippians 4:6-7 says,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So we are commanded not to be anxious…about anything! Reason being, God wants us to trust him in everything! Even the most troubling aspects of life are opportunities to trust God.
So we must admit that anxiety is not an acceptable part of life. It’s sin. Not trusting God is a sin, and succumbing to anxiety is a sin. But I wonder if anxiety is actually a bit uglier than that. How can it get uglier than sin? Well, if it’s sin that motivates the sin of anxiety, that would be worse. And that I fear, is the reality behind much of the anxiety we feel.
The Sin Behind The Sin
Maybe you can come up with an anxiety instigator that doesn’t start with sin. But the more I’ve thought about the average anxiety spell, the more I’m convinced there’s more sin than we realize.
Picture these scenes that illustrate possible sin behind the sin of anxiety.
- You are anxious about tomorrow’s big project proposal. At first, it seems you just want to do well. But on second thought, are you super uptight about whether this will make you look as good as you hope it will? Has the praise of people become your focus?
- Your day is crazy and your to-do list is overwhelming. You sense anxiety creeping up. Could it be that you’ve developed an inordinate desire to have a perfectly organized, smooth-running schedule? Or have you begun to overly value controlling your environment?
- You are waiting for a phone call from the doctor about your health. You are anxious. Are you giving into fear instead of trusting in God’s sovereignty?
- You are hosting guests for the weekend. You are feeling anxious about how it’s going to go. Could it be that you’re extremely worried they’ll think less of you if anything is less than perfect? Are your domestic efforts becoming self-serving?
Call Your Sin Out!
Well, it turns out anxiety is far from okay. Not only is it a sin, but it may, in fact, be caused by sin.
Thankfully there is hope for fighting this multilayered heart issue.
But really step #1 is a big enough task…we need to admit that our anxiety is far from being “no big deal.” We need to remember that God tells us to not be anxious about anything! And we need to be more aware of our thoughts and motives — the reasons behind our anxious heart.
So let’s start by just calling anxiety what it is: Sin…and sin that is likely rooted in more sin.
and then come back next week for 5 Ways to Attack Anxiety