Moving Anxiety to Motivation3 min read

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4.6)

 

My good friend Eric came over Saturday. We now have all the recording equipment necessary for our upcoming podcast, “Revealing Voices,” and now need to learn how to use it before our debut on March 1. Eric also brought over a Ninja blender to make the smoothies we will drink and review on our show.

Eric was here from 10:30 am – 3:30 pm and made tremendous progress. I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. The more time passed, the more progress Eric made, the more my mind became encased in a cage of anxiety. Eric is a good communicator, but because of my state of mind, here’s what I heard:

“Blah, blah, Skype, blah, blurb, best practices, bloop, bloop, Blubrry,… embedding… migrating.. birds… Face time, yellow smileys, power press, drills, overlaying two channels… ABC, CBS… Ecamm… Zoom H5, downloading, U-hauls, export blog, Blogger, WordPress…”

At this point, I’m not sure what happened next, but I think it had something to do with my head exploding. Fortunately I wasn’t sitting near the lap top, er… Mac Book Pro… something else I know next to nothing about.

After Eric left, I was so exhausted, I slept for much of the next 16 hours. Thanks to a text from my good friend Sam, I got up in time for worship. There, my anxiety shifted to visions and voices, causing me a sense of fear that I was doomed to self-destruct. I couldn’t hear the service, the voices were so loud and distracting. I did manage to make it through the sermon, but left before the Lord’s Supper, fearful I would be drinking wrath upon myself.

After worship I came home and went straight to bed. I slept another 7 hours. 23 out of the last 24 hours. Both amazing and alarming. My friend Sam texted again to check on me and offered to swing by for a visit. We met and discussed some of the spiritual dimensions of my condition. How the Enemy preys on our vulnerabilities. For me, this is my mental health. Anxiety. Depression. Mania. Whenever I am off-balance, the Confuser compounds my chaos such that I lose a sense of Self and my capacity to think clearly.

{Note: I will be meeting with my therapist tomorrow to discuss the psychological dimensions of my state and have a session with my psychiatrist about the mind chemistry.}

Throughout Scripture God says to His people, “Do not be afraid.” This is not so much to scold us for some sin of lacking faith. Instead, it is to encourage us that God is with us even in the darkest, most fearful moments of our lives. God knows better than anyone, even ourselves, that many things in our lives cause stress and anxiety, particularly new undertakings. When I started out in pastoral ministry, I would vomit every Sunday morning before I had to preach. I was like clockwork. In time, my anxiety lessoned. Experience taught me to see the presence of God in what became a familiar task.

Whether we are excited or fearful, everything new causes us stress. But without moving forward, we are bound to lose faith, to lose sight  of what God is doing in our lives, to lose our grip on what God is leading us to do.

“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.Søren Kierkegaard

 

What new venture lies ahead for you? What causes you the most anxiety? What is going to be your first step forward?

2018-01-08T01:23:57+00:00

About the Author:

I am a man with an unquiet mind who delights in the One who delights in me.
  • Lyn

    the Enemy preys on our vulnerabilities. Isn’t this the truth!!! He knows exactly which buttons to press. Our only defence is our Heavenly Father. The enemy hates to see us turning to our Refuge and our Strength, which is exactly why we need to do it constantly. But sadly, we often forget and dwell on our situation or worries. God’s “Do not be afraid.” should always be a comfort, it’s definitely not a reprimand.

  • Heather Jensen

    A very timely and encouraging post for me. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Tony Roberts

      Approved.

    • Tony Roberts

      Heather, I’m glad this post spoke to you. I have often struggled with the guilt associated with anxiety. I don’t think this is God’s loving intent. I believe God wants to reassure us, not scold us for feeling what is natural as part of being human. I’m doing another post on anxiety with a quote from C.S. Lewis. As you might detect, it’s a timely issue for me as well!

      Blessings in Christ,
      Tony

      Facebook Author Page Delight in Disorder Website Revealing Voices Blog

      *“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”* (Psalm 37.4)