Thinking about ANXIETY

Many people suffer from anxiety. It may be an underlying feeling or result in panic attacks or burnout. How are Christians to think about anxiety? Paul Grimmond (au.gospelcoalition.org) explores the issue as an anxiety sufferer and notes:

– The Bible tells us not to be anxious but in everything give thanks, presenting your requests to God (Philippians 4:6) but has more to say. For instance Christians are to be concerned (anxious!) for the welfare and Christian growth of other believers (1 Cor 12:25). Anxiety/concern can be positive.

-In our sin-scarred world sometimes anxiety is a right emotion. There are things to fear. Dogs bite. People hurt each other. Death is terrible. We can’t control the future. Anxiety has its place.

Anxiety can be twisted by sin and bring terrible results. I may become more anxious about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me. I may become more anxious about things like food, drink and clothing than about God’s kingdom.

Anxiety is in part a bodily, chemical reality that we are not in complete control of.But that doesn’t mean we take no responsibility. Regular exercise, improved diet and good sleep are all helpful.

When God sets his Spirit on us through faith in Christ, we are adopted into his family.Adopted children don’t move in and out of the family depending on whether they have had a more obedient day. They are part of the family. And that is such a precious truth. Through Christ, we stand in a place of grace with God who treats us tenderly.

My fear of conflict may be driven by a fear of people that is greater than my fear of God. By God’s grace, I am learning that the tightness in my stomach when I detect the possibility of conflict is not a sign that I should run away but that I need to express what I’m thinking graciously and respectfully.