Anxiety and lack of faith

There is a church around the corner from us that always has one of those quotes on its sign. A few weeks ago, it was, "Anxiety is lack of faith in disguise." I wanted to stop at the church office and ask the pastor, "Wanna bet?"

I have struggled with anxiety on and off for a number of years. I am pretty sure it's genetic, as my dad did and I think my mom had periods of it as well.  I would say that 95% of the time for me, it's not an issue, but then it creeps back in, mostly at night. The darkness magnifies what would - in the daylight - seem trivial or at least manageable - into almost terrifying possibilities.

If anxiety equals lack of faith, then I believe I stand in good company. Look at Christ in the Garden of Gethsamane: the AGONY in the Garden. He agonized - in worry, fright, anticipation - of what stood before Him. He clearly knew that pain and betrayal awaited Him, and He was anxious.

Telling a "worrier" not to to worry is like telling water not to be wet. It isn't going to happen. We all have worries and most of us manage them quite nicely, but those of us with anxiety can't always get our brains to shut out those very real worries. Children get hurt, money runs out, pain occurs, people die: all very real things. And some of us are anxious about the emotional toil it takes.

I have faith. I believe, I believe, I believe. And I am anxious. More than that, I believe Christ stands with me in my anxiety, not scolding me for lack of faith, but in deep compassion and empathy. I will continue to battle the anxiety, but I am also assured that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me - even when I'm afraid.

7 comments:

  1. "I believe. Help Thou my unbelief" (Mk. 9:24).

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  2. Philippians 4:6-8

    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

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  3. What a beautiful image - of Christ standing next to those of us who struggle with issues. Standing not in judgment, but in comfort. Thanks for sharing this.

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  4. I struggle mightily with anxiety. I am pretty sure only my mom gets it, which makes it hard sometimes. My sister once said something pretty cruel when I was in the ER with a bad anxiety attack, and it is now a trigger, every time I remember what she said. But, reading this, I will now picture Christ standing with me, in empathy of the very real physical manifestations of anxiety. Thanks for this...I am posting it for others to see.

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  5. Megan - I'm glad it helped! Those who have never had a panic attack or anxiety issues think it's "all in your head", but it is a cross.

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  6. I remember being elementary school age and listening to "and keep us free from anxiety", which was right after the Our Father in the old translation. I didn't know the word, but I knew what leprosy was and that was bad. But we didn't have a prayer to keep us free from leprosy, so whatever anxiety was, it must be worse.

    Marie

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  7. Marie: terrific insight! Isn't it funny how our little minds work?

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