Anxiety and Paralysis

Last weekend I had the great opportunity to speak at a new church called in North Carolina. My brother-in-law is the Lead Pastor, and asked me to come and share on the subject of grief and loss. It was a privilege to be asked, and I am always excited for an opportunity to share the hope that I have found in Christ in the midst of losing our son Josiah.

I'd like to share something here from a Pastor's point of view that I don't think many people want to discuss. Interestingly enough, even though I speak publicly on a weekly, if not daily, basis I found myself very tense and nervous the morning I was about to speak. Feelings of inadequacy started to creep in, and fear that what I had to say wouldn't matter to these people. This was not a fear of public speaking, this was a fear of rejection.

The thing with anxiety is, it can cause a physical reaction in your body that doesn't actually connect with the true physical danger around you. I was in no actual danger, but I felt like the "fight or flight" instinct was particularly strong that morning. Ever feel that way?

I bring this to light, because statistics are showing that more and more people are feeling this way more and more of the time. Often living with anxiety is like living without the ability to live for yourself. Your emotions are a deer in headlights, unable to move or get out of the way of the impending anxiety. 

"The Anxious Christian"  is written by Rhett Smith, a marriage and family therapist based in Texas asks this question "Can God use your anxiety for good?" Many a well-meaning Christian has trotted out Philippians 4:6  "Do not worry about anything," writes Paul, "but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God." The underlying message here seems clear: Pray more. Give thanks more. Don't focus on your anxiety.

Smith writes, "When we discourage from safely expressing their anxiety, then we are essentially saying to them that anxiety is a bad emotion …. It communicates to them that perhaps something is wrong with their Christian faith." Smith goes on to talk about how God may be using anxiety to draw us closer to him, allowing us to recognize our need and limitations as anchors to the One who is sufficient. 

"The tension is good," I told people as I began my message. "The tensions of life will force us back to our need for a Savior. The tensions of life will help us see the very hand of God in our lives." In context, I was speaking of grief. In application, I was in a very literal way allowing my anxiety to motivate me to trust in God.

What about you? Will anxiety can you to freeze up, or can God use your anxiety for good?

Pastor Milo

1 comment:

  1. Tremendous post, Milo. This is a very important topic that is hardly ever talked about. Thanks for sharing!