“You’re part Chicken Little and part Eeyore. The sky is falling, and it’s falling disproportionately on you. As a result, you are anxious. A free-floating sense of dread hovers over you . . . “- Max Lucado
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret — it only leads to evil.”- Psalm 37:8 (NIV)
In Chapter 1 (“Less Fret, More Faith”) of Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World, Max Lucado contrasts fear and anxiety. Thus, Pastor Lucado opens the chapter with the poignant, down-to-earth description of anxiety:
“It’s a low-grade fear. An edginess, a dread. A cold wind that won’t stop howling. it’s not so much a storm as the certainty that one is coming. Always . . . . . coming. Sunny days are just an interlude. You can’t relax. Can’t let your guard down. All peace is temporary, short-term. . . . You don’t laugh often . . enjoy the sun . . . whistle as you walk. And when others do, you give them a look. That look (emphasis author’s).”
Furthermore, Max stresses, anxiety is:
- a meteor shower of what-ifs
- an apprehension
- perpetually on the pirate ship’s plank
- twisting us into emotional pretzels
However, it’s not accurate to describe anxiety and fear as twins. Rather, Pastor Lucado states, they’re more like cousins. Therefore, Max explores the differences between the two:
- sees a threat
- screams Get out!
- results in fight or flight
- imagines a threat
- ponders What if?
- creates doom and gloom
Consequently, Max wryly offers his personal perspective on the word anxious:
“The word anxious defines itself. It is a hybrid of angst and xious. Angst is a sense of unease. Xious is the sound I make on the tenth step of a flight of stairs when my heart beats fast and I run low on oxygen. . . . which makes me wonder if anxious people aren’t just that: people who are out of breath because of the angst of life.”
In conclusion, Max notes, anxiety takes our breath, energy, and well-being. Hence, to see the consequences of anxiety, simple read half the ailments in a medical textbook.
Today’s question: While considering your response to fear and anxiety, do you see yourself as part Chicken Little, part Eeyore, or both? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Anxiety – presence or prison?”