“Anxiety has been a part of our human condition from the earliest beginnings. When we experience anxiety we are in that space where a world of freedom and possibility is opened up before us by God. And in that space we have the choice to run and hide, covering up in shame, or we can choose to embrace that anxiety, clothed in grace by God, and allow Him to lead us into freedom and possibility. It is in this place that our lives are transformed.
The choice is yours.
What I am saying about anxiety, and what God is asking of you in your anxiety, is not an easy decision. If it were, then Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6, ‘Do not be anxious about anything,’ would cure all of our worries. But Paul reminds us in that same letter in Philippians 2:12 that we are ‘to work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling.’ There is to be a sense of anxiety as we acknowledge and wrestle with the things that God is wanting for our lives.
Without this anxiety we are creatures who are tempted to play life safe. When we play life safe we are tempted to become content and comfortable, and eventually stagnant. God does not want that of us. To follow after God is to be in a state of heightened alertness and sometimes ‘knocking knees,’ as C.S. Lewis put it. (The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good?, pp. 37)
One of the very first steps (if you can call it that) in allowing our anxiety to be transformed in a healthy, life-giving way, is to actually embrace it.
What if you could look at your anxiety as something that was in your life to help you, rather than destroy you? Hard to imagine I know.
At the end of each chapter in my book I have discussion questions, exercises, and a prayer for the reader to engage in. Hopefully you will find those helpful as you allow your anxiety to be transformed.
To Get Started
- What are some times that you experience anxiety? Or as we learned earlier this week, what story is your anxiety attached to?
- Could you imagine the anxious times you described above, or the story that your anxiety is attached to, as being helpful to your life in any way? How?
- Don’t judge your anxiety. Be curious about it. How could it help you right now?
- Pray that God would use the anxiety you experience to be transformed for good — that the anxiety you experience will serve as a catalyst for growth in your life, keeping you from growing stagnant.