This is going in a different direction than my blog posts to date… I recently (read: an hour ago) facilitated a discussion for a men’s church group on anxiety. What follows is the notes I had prepared for that discussion, which I thought I would post up. I have also been hanging on to a much longer post about beating anxiety, full of tips and personal experience, ever since I started this blog more than a year ago, so that might see the light of day someday, especially if I really do ‘beat it’. Anyway, the notes:

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Anxiety is a problem. Especially in a breakneck-speed lifestyle Americans tend to lead. Most of us don’t even realize it’s a problem until we’re forced to think about it. Even 2,000 years ago, it was a big problem – Jesus included it in his Sermon on the Mount for a reason, and the Bible makes references to anxiety or fear many times in other places. While women are 60% more likely to have an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, by no means are men immune to ever feeling the pressures of life.

What the problem is:

Worrying about work, school, relationships, health, schedule/workload, other people, ‘crisis’ issues (random serious things that pop up), etc. Anything else? How do we do it all?

How this affects us:

–          Less time for God (usually pushed to the back burner)

–          More time spent worrying

–          Health takes a dive (Staggering amount of symptoms, panic attacks)

–          Our commitments suffer (AS A RESULT of worrying)

–          Possibility of depression

What the Bible says about it (all verses from the ESV translation):

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. – Proverbs 12:25

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong, Fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” – Isaiah 35:4

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25-34

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:23

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. – Psalm 56:3

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42

What we can do:

–          First of all, make sure your troubles are actually there. For example, worrying that you could fail a class because of one bad grade, and then you won’t graduate, and then your parents will disown you, etc. is a bad belief (disclaimer: that is not my thoughts, parents, just an example). The only thing that happened is the bad grade, and nothing else. If you have not actually failed the class yet, there is always something you can do to regain your footing.

–          Pray

–          Pull out and re-examine your focus. Are you worrying about something disproportionately?

–          Trust God, that He may provide!

–          Remember that He is in control. Perspective works wonders.

And finally… if there’s one thing you should fear, fear God!