Anxiety – presence or prison?

“The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.”- Max Lucado

“Be careful, or you hearts will be weighed down with . . . the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.”- Luke 21:34 (NIV)

As Max Lucado continues Chapter 1 of Anxious for Nothing, he quips that “if worry were an Olympic sport, we’d [the United States] win a gold medal.  According to Taylor Clark (“It’s Not the Job Market”), America now owns the title of most anxious nation in the world.  Ironically, citizens in developing countries enjoy more tranquility.  Yet, when they immigrate to the United States, in time they tend to get as anxious as Americans.

Consequently, Pastor Lucado notes four causes of our anxiety:

  1. Change.  Smartphones, TVs, and computer screens import changes and new threats to our lives every few seconds.  Before we barely process one crisis, we hear of another.
  2. Pace of life.  Today, we move faster than ever before.  Thus, Max observes, ” we jet through time zones as if they were neighborhood streets.”
  3. Personal challenges.  You, or someone you know, most likely faces an onslaught of personal challenges – divorce, illness, addition, bankruptcy, etc.
  4. Aging.  With aging comes a multitude of challenges.

In conclusion, Pastor Lucado explains why Christians aren’t exempt from worry, assumptions to the contrary:

“We have been taught that the Christian life is a life of peace, and when we don’t have peace, we assume the problem lies within us.  Not only do we feel anxious, but we also feel guilty about our anxiety.  The result is a downward spiral of worry, guilt, worry, guilt.  It’s enough to cause a person to get anxiety.”

While anxiety’s presence is unavoidable, feeling imprisoned by it is optional.  Tomorrow Pastor Lucado talks about the apostle Paul’s exhortation to “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6).

Today’s question: Has the presence of anxiety turned into a prison in your life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Anxiety – an emotion, not a sin”

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