Part 1: What Type of Anxiety?
How do you overcome anxiety? This article is Part 1 in a series of articles to help you let go of worry and hold on to trust.
The painful events in life will either make you or break you. But the good news is, you get to decide. You get to choose today; in fact, every day you wake up, you get to determine if the pain from your past will hurt you today.
We’ve all been hurt by someone at some point in our life. Those painful situations have a way of leaving marks on our lives. Sometimes physically, but always emotionally. We remember them. And when we get hurt, we get angry and resentful. We might hold a grudge, and all that stress can lead to anxiety. We all deal with anxiety from time to time. Some have more severe forms, but everyone will deal with it in life.
Some people say that anxiety is sinful and you ought to stop worrying. They say Jesus said not to worry, so if you do worry, it’s a sin. They say you have to just get over it. But that’s terrible advice because I don’t think it’s a biblical approach or a helpful approach.
In order to overcome anxiety and experience peace, you first need to think about what type of anxiety you might be experiencing.
Type 1: Anxiety Because of Danger:
Anxiety and fear are very closely related. Fear is an emotional response to a real and immediate threat. Fear is also a psychological and emotional response that alerts us to danger.
My wife and I recently stayed in a cabin in Townsend, TN. One evening, we were leaving to go to dinner, and when I opened the door, I saw a large black bear with two baby cubs standing in the front yard. My wife’s response was to scream, push me down, and run inside. That’s fear and anxiety working to protect her.
God created the emotion of anxiety to be a warning system of potential danger. When you encounter a black bear, it should trigger a respectful fear and even anxiety toward potential threats. When you feel that emotion, it will lead you to get to safety. The God-given emotional response to dangerous situations is fear and anxiety.
This type of anxiety isn’t sinful.
Type 2: Clinical Anxiety:
For some people, anxiety becomes a physiological issue that has become debilitating. Some symptoms might be persistent anxious thoughts every day of the week. At that point, anxiety interferes with your daily life. Another symptom can be trouble sleeping. These are often symptoms of a medical condition such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or social anxiety. In such cases, a person should seek help from a counselor or physician.
I don’t consider this sort of anxiety sinful.
Type 3: Anxiety Because of Sin
Sometimes, we experience anxiety because we are involved in some kind of sin. For example, someone who is cheating on their spouse might worry about getting caught and ruining the marriage. Someone who gambles away all their money might feel anxiety because they don’t know how to pay their bills. A student who doesn’t study is triggered to anxiety because they might fail the test.
In each case, the anxiety is the result of sin.
Type 4: Anxiety Because You Don’t Trust God:
When you aren’t trusting God to take care of you, it can trigger anxious thoughts.
When you want to overcome anxiety, it’s helpful to think about what type of anxiety you are experiencing. It might be a combination of these factors that we need help understanding.
The good news is that it can get better whatever type you’re experiencing.
Anxiety is our stress response. You might be going through very stressful situations in your life. Anxiety is your body’s response to these situations.
It’s stress, fear, then anxiety. All our worry flows from fear.
You might have severe anxiety, and this article will be helpful, but you might need counseling. If you are genuinely going to get over this, it will require a lot of work that counseling can provide.
Some of you are going through a crisis that has caused anxiety. You might need a mentor or counselor to help you walk through this season.
You might be living in sin, and sin is triggering anxiety. The answer for you is to repent and turn away from sin and turn to Jesus (1 John 1:9).
If anxiety is an issue for you, take a minute to think about what type of anxiety you might be experiencing. Write it down and then read Part 2 of this series.