I want to write to you today about anxiety. I believe there is a seed of worry in every breathing person.
Some of us work with such zeal to bury this seed of anxiety. We try to trample it, destroy it and deny it. We do that through addiction to food, alcohol, work, exercise, pornography, technology, video games or Netflix, just to name a few. I think you get the idea. If we take away our addiction, oddly, our anxiety seeds start to flourish. 🙂
Some of us are aware of our seeds and are afraid of what might grow from them. We tiptoe around them and avoid them. We give them some time and attention but only in the shadows where no one is looking. We do not want to let anyone know that this seed exists in our soil. We don’t destroy it, but we don’t acknowledge it or name it out loud either.
Some of us know the seed has taken root, and our anxiety lives as part of our being. We don’t like it, but we name it and are aware that it doesn’t feel unruly if tended. It is just part of living honestly.
Some of us give too much power to the seed and ignore all the life-giving roots surrounding this seed, including joy, peace, love, hope, laughter, contentment, and so many more.
I know this is a simplified view of anxiety. Still, maybe it will help us recognize that everyone has it, and it often shrinks and grows and shrinks again during different seasons of life.
Why do I call this anxiety and faith?
I want to remind you that our feelings, not our faith, trigger anxiety. I hear people relate anxiety to a lack of trust in God, and I don’t believe that is a kind or true narrative. I also don’t think that God typically works in such a way to take away our anxieties if we pray hard enough.
I believe God invites us to live honestly into the feelings we hold and to learn to navigate them with an understanding of God, ourselves, and others. It is a journey, and the journey can and likely will grow and deepen our faith. From my perspective, anxiety does not relate to a person’s lack of faith in God or God’s love for them. It is about where we feel powerless, invisible, overlooked, worthless, and so much more.
We must be curious about what feelings trigger or fuel our anxieties.
We must be curious about what we believe about God, ourself or others in those strong spaces when those feelings bubble up.
We must be committed to sorting out the web of feeling in order to decrease the anxiety. God has given us the tools to work with and people around us to guide the navigation journey.
Peace to you and your anxious thoughts, my friends. May we be kind to one another in our joy and our anxieties!
Blessed be His name,