Reflections on anxiety

I tend to be anxious. If you read this blog, you have probably figured that out already (and are now saying, “Thank God she knows that about herself!!”). And I’ve been particularly anxious lately (where “lately” is the last month or so), for various reasons, both well-founded and otherwise. Having been particularly anxious, I’ve also been reflecting on that experience. Here are some of my reflections, both personal and otherwise.

Anxiety is inherent in life, or at least, in a life in our world as it stands, with sin running rampant and little done to actually curb it. So some of my anxiety is very legitimate, because it is based on the truth of the world as it is. It’s a dangerous place, where things don’t happen as you would expect or want, and where, very often, what does happen is undesirable, at least on some level. But that very fact makes anxiety a rather boring sin, because it buys into this world as it is and doesn’t leave hope for anything better. It tells the truth about the world, but it doesn’t tell the truth about God or about how things should be. Anxiety says, “The world is an unsafe place. I, currently, feel unsafe in the world. And my belief in the danger of the world overcomes my belief in the God who created the world, who can make danger evaporate if he so chooses, and who has promised and demonstrated himself more than able to take care of me in any place that the world’s danger touches me.” Anxiety truly chooses the status quo over what should be, and says that, really, there’s no real hope for what should be to actually ever be, which Easter itself proves to be false.

In my own life, I’ve realized that anxiety plays a much smaller role than it used to. It has lost power. Not all it’s power, by any means, but a significant chunk. Part of this is that I can now recognize when I’m anxious. I can read the signs, and I can make choices. I can choose to walk in truth I don’t feel, and I can choose to remain calm when my internal alarms tell me to panic. I might not be able to choose to go back to sleep at night, but I can choose what my mind dwells on when I’m lying awake. I think that the very fact that I can see so much of my anxiety makes it lose its power, because what I can see, I can fight. I’m no longer in such a guerilla war, but instead am in a war where I know the enemy, I can see him advance, and I can choose how, when, and where to fight him. That, for me, is a victory in itself.


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