Anxiety – Part 1

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TensionClose

Q: Why am I so anxious?
A: Because you are so human.

Stat: I learned that around 30% of Americans will deal with an anxiety disorder sometime in their life.  That means that roughly 1 out of 3 will at some point have a diagnosed, clinically defined anxiety disorder.  Although I knew it was pretty common, I was still surprised to hear that anxiety is so widespread.  And that’s not to say that the other 70% don’t have their moments also.  Fear and its associated gremlins (insomnia, panic attacks, obsessive or compulsive behaviors) are something that many of us have struggled with off and on, and it is the topic of our discussion today.

Spirit, Soul, and Body

We are made up of spirit, soul, and body.  I do not have time to fully discuss that here, nor do I fully understand it.  However, it is crucial to remember that anxiety wars against us in our:

Body: The physical and material
Soul: Mind, emotions, will
Spirit:  My inmost Being.  My eternal Me.

God has made humans to be an intricate web of both the physical and the non-physical.  In fact, we are told that the Word of God can create the dividing line between the soul and spirit, (Hebrews 4:12) but I can’t figure out how to separate them! We are too intertwined.  Completely interconnected.  As science discovers new ways to explore the human body, we learn more and more that we are “awesomely and wonderfully made!”  (Psalm 139:14)  So, when we have symptoms of anxiety it is a time when our soul has overwhelmed our body.  A thought, which is not a physical thing, nonetheless exists in my mind (not physical) because I have a brain (physical).  That thought can cause me to feel (not physical) anxious (not physical), which causes neurons to fire (physical), adrenaline and other chemicals (physical) to surge throughout my body (physical).  These physical chemicals cause my heart rate to quicken, stomach acid to flow, the sensation of nausea to fill my thoughts.  Can you see how these physical and non-physical dominoes all start falling one after another? It’s a chain reaction.  It is amazing to me to explore the connection between the physical and the non-physical.

And that’s my main point today – it’s all connected! 

Sin, Stress, and Insecurity

Let’s say that you are having a lot of upheaval at work.  Or maybe your marriage has been more rocky than usual.  Or let’s say you are a people-pleaser and are always secretly obsessed with making everyone happy.  Or maybe you have a deep belief that you always let everyone down.  Or maybe you have been supporting a friend or family member who has been fighting through a really tough situation.  Or maybe you have a secret sin that is positively owning you, and you are tired of the guilt and shame that come from it.  And maybe you haven’t been eating right, sleeping enough, or keeping physically active at all.  Or maybe you have been too busy to pray, read the Bible, and spend time worshipping God.

Maybe some of these describe you.  Maybe all of them describe you – ouch!  You may think that you can contain each of these various things in its own neat box.  Tamped down.  Contained.  Catalogued and under control.  Handled.  But believe me, you are much more messy and interconnected than you realize!  Each and every one of those things I listed will add to the burden of anxiety that you are carrying.  A strong and spiritual person will be able to carry on for a while without exhibiting any signs or symptoms, but deep underneath the surface that anxiety is simmering and bubbling.  I know for a long time I was able to hold the lid down and not even consciously notice the pressure, but eventually those issues just boiled over and I was forced to deal with them.

Warning Sirens

And that is a good thing.  The feelings and physical symptoms are the alarm bells that tell me “Something isn’t right!”  “Maintenance Required!”  On the one hand, fear is the most normal of human emotions.  But on the other hand, we are not designed to carry that fear and anxiety with us throughout our lifetime.  Our body can’t handle it.  Our mind can’t handle it.  Our heart can’t handle it.  We are simply not wired that way.  So we have to fight it!

Watch out!  It can envelope you!

Watch out! It can envelope you!

Overcoming

Next week we will talk more about how we have fought anxiety, in ourselves and in our kids.  But for now, I will challenge you to think about these words and how they affect you.  We all experience and perceive fear in different ways.

  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Stress
  • Dread
  • Fearfulness
  • Uncertainty
  • Afraid
  • Worry
  • Apprehension
  • Fretting
  • Panic
  • Insecurity
  • Vulnerable
  • Terror

Which of these types of fear are most detrimental to you?  What physical effects does anxiety have for you? We’d love to hear from you…what questions do you have?  Is this topic relevant to you?  Feel free to leave comments that you would like to be public, or email us if you would like to keep it private.  We would love to help, and we want our next posts to answer any question that you may face.

And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!

Our Purposeful Life Anxiety Series:

Anxiety Part 2: What Kind of Anxious Are You?

Anxiety Part 3: Irrational Anxiety

Anxiety Part 4: Fighting Anxiety

Anxiety Part 5: Peak Performance  

Other Resources:

OPL: Boldness Vs Fear

OPL: Kids and Fear

OPL: Scriptures that we use for the kids

Anxiety Disorders

National Institute of Mental Health: Anxiety

Spirit, Soul, and Body

Christian Broadcasting Network

Andrew Wommack

Bible.org

Wikipedia (Yes, I did cite Wikipedia)

2 thoughts on “Anxiety – Part 1

  1. achanso says:

    Thank you so much for addressing this topic. I definitely believe it is relevant, and I have personally experienced those times of shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and chest pain:physical manifestations of anxiety of the conscious and subconscious.
    Thankfully God has gotten me through these times. Though I still deal with anxiety, sometimes on a daily basis, I can truly “cast all my cares upon Him, for He cares for me!” (1 Peter 5:7 paraphrase).

    I have also found apps (yes there are!) for smartphones with relaxing music and ideas for anxiety relief. One of the keys is to find what works for you. Prayer-meditation-calming music- listening to the Bible (particularly the Psalms) read out loud (BibleGateway.com will read it out loud from their website)-exercise-talking on the phone-physical activity of some kind- a nurturing pet—these are some things that have worked for me. But everyone has to find what helps them: what is stress relieving for some will be stress-producing for others.

    Finally- pray against anxiety actively! Command Satan from you- In the name of Jesus, I command this anxiety out of my heart. God has the power to change your heart, and He honors the prayer of a sincere (albeit anxious) heart.

    1. Nate says:

      Thanks for sharing!

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