ANXIETY: FIGHT IT OR FEED IT
With the right weapons, we can conquer this enemy of
By V. Neil Wyrick
Have you heard about the man who had a plane to catch at an
early hour? Having set his alarm, he sat on the edge of his bed
all night to make sure it went off on time. This man earned his
PhD in anxiety; he had worry down to a science. He believed that
living one day at a time meant never sleeping so he would always
know what time of day it was. Fear can be a friend when it keeps
us from walking on glass, ingesting poison, or running from a pit
bull. But foolish anxiety, the kind we feed - runs around wearing
holes in our brains, creating ulcers in our stomachs, and making
any peace we might have had break up in pieces. Anxiety does
exactly what the Greek translation of the New Testament says it
does: It strangles the living daylights out of us. It curdles; it
crumples; it cripples. We have only so much time and energy, and
it wastes both.
We must fight, not feed, anxiety by wielding spiritual and
A POUND OF FORTITUDE
So then, where and how can a pound of fortitude be found to
control a pound of fear before it becomes a ton of anxiety?
Therein lies the rub, because many a fear that was wise can
become an anxiety that isn't.
Second Timothy 1:7 offers a weapon and way of weighing
worrisome things properly: "For God did not give us a spirit of
timidity [fear], but a spirit of power, of love and of self
discipline" (NIV). Joining hands with David and his words has a
winning sound to it "Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in
Him, and He shall bring it to pass" (Psalm 37:5).
If there is a truth that should be written across the sky,
it is this: Saying and meaning "Though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil" (Psalm 23:4) is an
affirmation that has the touch of miracle in it. Why? Because
when one is not afraid to die, one is not afraid to live.
A big part of any solution is to seek out proper
authorities. Once we have read the first-class authority, Jesus -
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow" (Matthew 6:31) - it makes
common sense to find outstanding examples of those who have taken
His words to heart.
One is John Wesley. It was said of this founder of the
Methodist Church that he arose each morning at four o'clock,
preached more than 40,000 times, and traveled more than
250,000 miles on horseback in the course of all this, Wesley
never hurried, never worried, and never let foolish anxieties
wear him down.
(Huuuummm.... maybe back in those days Wesley could do such
things, it was a much less stressfull life people lived. People
like Westley lived from the land or from what people gave him in
the way of food and clothing, it was the way people paid
travelling preachers, and just about everyone travelled on horse
back or horse drawn wagons. It was a simple life most lived in
Westley's time. And he probably went to bed very early, no TV or
Computers, no emails to answer etc. etc. Not sure if Westley's
example is that good of an example frankly. Getting up at 4 a.m.
does not make you a better Christian or healthier or less in
anxiety in todays world. And preaching 40,000 times, does not
prove that much, only you have the gift of the gab and the
opportunity to talk - yes a different world back then in many
ways - Keith Hunt)
Connie Mack was a baseball manager, not a preacher, but he
early learned a truth that allowed him to perform brilliantly the
intricacies of life. He used to say that he forced himself to
prepare to win future games rather than waste time and energy
worrying about games he had lost. One of Mack's favorite booster
phrases: "You can't grind grain with water that has already gone
down the creek."
COURAGE AND PEACE
Today we have Iraq, but remember Y2K not that long ago? (the
big hoopla for computers going from 1999 to the year 2,000 -
Keith Hunt) Remember Vietnam, the Korean War, WWII? It is hard to
picture a time when there has not been some kind of political,
economic, or social turmoil. Therefore, when problems come to
call, let history be a teacher as you wisely "Wait on the Lord;
be of good courage, and (let Him) strengthen your heart; wait, I
say, on the Lord! " (Psalm 27:14).
It is good to stand on your own two feet, but some proper
propping-up by God certainly isn't out of order: "You will keep
him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he
trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3). Call it prayer partnership. Call it
linking with your Creator. Call it spiritual common sense.
One lady, with ninety years behind her, lived far out in the
country, all by herself. When asked if she was ever afraid, she
replied, "Why should I be? Faith closes my door at night, and
Mercy opens it in the morning."
COOPERATE AND REKINDLE
Whatever anxious moments find our doorstep, we must learn to
cooperate with the inevitable if we're to accomplish well the art
of living. An appointment made, and our watch stops. Gone
fishing, and the only thing we catch is a bad cold in a
When such things happen, we don't have to like what is
happening. But at least we must learn to learn from a problem.
This way, it is not a complete waste of time.
Before we traded our 1986 Dodge several years ago, my wife
and I had a car that majored in stalling. It reminded me of 2
Timothy 1:6: "Kindle afresh the gift of God" (NASB). It didn't
kindle afresh; it didn't want to go. It was a king of quitters.
Our present, newer car doesn't do that. It starts, never stutters
and then stops. Every time we want to go somewhere, it kindles
afresh with remarkable enthusiasm. There are dangers all around
on the highway, but the car never notices. It is the epitome of
GOD WITH US
Another weapon in our emotional conquest is realizing that
the secret of finding the "peace that passes understanding" is to
not waste time trying to understand it. Just accept the fact that
peace comes from the presence of something rather than the
absence of something. And that something is God.
God is with us when twin towers are built and when they
waver and fall to the ground in terrible pieces. God is with us
long before dawn and long after dusk. On the blackest night or
when the brightest moon sweeps away the darkness, God is with us.
Would you stand tall and suncrowned above the crowd? Think
eternity. Think salvation. Think wonderment and awe about the
Creator of it all.
The last weapon in our fight against anxiety is prayer. An
old preacher friend of mine used to counsel me, "If your knees
are knocking, kneel on them." Or another way of putting in "You
don't have to worry about running from worry when you are
The question must always be, How can a skinny soul deal with
the big, fat problems of life? The answer is to stop feeding
anxiety and fight it. That's the message of Jesus and of others
who have gone before us.
(Prayer and looking to God for help and strength is the key, and
depending on the problem facing you, good expert advice from
people skilled in the problem you have to deal with. Also admit
if you have got into the problem because you were unwise,
unknowledgable, or just plain stupid. Admit your errors or faults
in the matter, and set about to correct them, ask God for wisdom
- Keith Hunt)
V. Neil Wyrick writes from Miami, FL.
Taken from the June 2007 BIBLE ADVOCATE, a publication of the
Church of God, Seventh Day, Denver, CO, USA