Philosophers and Poets, from their perch on the cutting edge of reason, have always seen the advantage of anxiety. It is the “dizziness of reason,” argued Soren Kierkegaard; “the handmaiden of creativity,” said T.S. Eliot; “the beginning of conscience,” observed novelist Angela Carter. So have actors backstage, summoning eternal energies and edges for the roles they play, and sprinters on the block, finding hormonal springs in the fear of failure that allow them to achieve race times they never managed in practice.
So begins the opening paragraph of TIME Magazine’s December cover story, The Two Faces of Anxiety.
This is a timely topic as the release of my book The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? is being published by Moody Publishers on March 1, 2012. When I was in the book proposal writing/submission phase in the late Fall of 2010, anxiety was the topic that my acquisition’s editor Randall Payleitner seemed to be really focused on. You see, in all my anxiety of trying to submit the right proposal I had submitted a large, sprawling dissertation that lacked any real focus or clarity, but Randall seemed most excited about a chapter I had submitted on anxiety. So eventually, one chapter idea became the whole theme of my new book.
I think anxiety is an important topic because everyone at some point in their life struggles with it, and many struggle with it on an ongoing basis.
But is all anxiety necessarily bad?
I don’t believe so….in fact, anxiety can actually be good for us as I see it as a catalyst to help us grow as people. There are only a couple of options when you begin to feel anxiety.
- Pretend it doesn’t exist and push it below the surface.
- Acknowledge that the anxiety is there and use it as an opportunity to move you forward/to grow in life.