Title: Anxiety
Category: Emotional Issues
Subject: Anxiety

This information was not authored by the Editor, rather the Editor serves as a contact person. This information was provided by the office of Keith Hamilton with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Living is sort of like pouring water into a coke bottle, if you''re nervous, it's difficult to do well. A lot of people live as if they have an underlying dread that steals their confidence, and renders them insecure and unstable. Primarily there is an anxiety about life and it's continuous and inevitable changes. Secondly, a more focused anxiety can become neurotic as its victims concentrate too much on making mountains out of molehills. These two kinds of anxiety surface in most individuals. Fears and nervousness can become debilitating.

For instance, most people rate "speaking in front of an audience" as one of the activities that engenders inordinate fear. Of course Christians are encouraged to publicly witness to others by sharing their faith in testimony. Ministers, as a part of their job description, are regularly preaching, and teaching in various settings. The introverted person will have even more difficulty accomplishing these expectations. Many Christians sense an overwhelming guilt as they hold themselves to high standards for doing what they think God wishes for them. This plague of guilt stirs in them more anxiety.

Too many Christians have turned to addictive behaviors and substances to calm their fears, nerves, and quash their anxieties. History verifies that those who abuse those activities as crutches only worsen their problems rather than alleviating them.

The Internet has become a recent phenomenon that some have attempted to use as a diversion from these anxieties and fears. Counselors have become accustomed to seeing people who have become dependent on the Internet. Family relationships have suffered. The ability to press a key on the computer and enter into a fantasy world has offered people a false illusion that has implications beyond the wildest imaginations. However, the treasure for which people search is still the same tried and true gift humankind has always had offered to them.

Jesus offers counsel to alleviate this tragedy of seeking after those things that offer false hope.

* Mr 4:19 "But the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing."
* Lk 10:41 "But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things."
* Lk 21:34 "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly."

Paul attempted to transmit Jesus'' teaching.
* 1Co 7:32 "I want you to be free from anxieties."
* Php 4:6 "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

If no debilitating fear or anxiety accompanies the Christian, they will do life well. Confronted with life's challenges, they will be able to succeed.

All Christians would do well to heed the teaching of the Psalmist who had been transformed by God's grace and mercy. "Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry"(Ps 37:7). With God as his strength, David battled his enemies and his emotions and was victorious.

If a person warrants an objective view, like Nathan offered David, they should engage the services of someone who is trained to help people discover hope in crises. Members of a person's family or church may be too subjective to render effective counsel. God has inspired specialists who know how to help unsteady Christians regain their confidence and grounding.

Every day, Christian therapists help people learn new ways to interpret life's challenges with godly principles and clearer insight. Many stories could be told of clients who reached out "just in the nick of time." Suicides, divorces, and other life altering crossroads have been diverted by the intervention of a wise Counselor who was invited to help.

The variances of life are always challenging, but God is unchanging. "So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs" (Heb 12:12.)

Will Bacon

Georgia Baptist Healthcare System

Helpful Materials To Read On This Subject:

The Courage to Be: Paul Tillich,Peter J. Gomes / Yale University Press / August 2000
Hope against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety
Richard Rohr,With John Bookser Feister / Saint Anthony Messenger Press & Franciscan Communications / February 2001
Painfully Shy: How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life
Barbara G. Markway,Gregory P. Markway,Phd Markway Gregory P. / St. Martin''s Press, Inc. / January 2001
The Bible Cure for Depression and Anxiety Don Colbert,Donald Colbert / Creation House / August 1999