Anxiety alert – plug your ears?

By Dave Henning / September 28, 2023

“When the anxiety alert is going off, it’s best not to plug your ears and ignore it. . . .  So when we start to constantly feel anxious, we’re being alerted to stop and consider whose way we are following.”- Kyle Idleman

“Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ “- Exodus 3:11 (NIV)

In Chapter 6 (“I Don’t Know What to Do: The Anxiety Alert”) of When Your Way Isn’t Working, Kyle Idleman observes that most of us don’t begin each day choosing to deliberately ignore God’s way.  While consciously deciding, I’m going to do things my way.

Yet, at times we fail to realize that’s the path we’re on.  So, a constant feeling of anxiety serves as an alert to stop and examine whose way we follow.

Above all, we sense uncertainty about the future and carry the weight of knowing we possess little control over what happens.  Hence, psychiatrist Dr. Edward Hallowell provides this equation fo anxiety (aka toxic worry):

Heightened Vulnerability + Lack of Control = Toxic Worry

Furthermore, Kyle notes, we live in a culture that glorifies autonomy.  But at the same time, everything feels extremely uncertain.  Statistically, we live in a time in history where we’ve never been more anxious.  Thus, Pastor Idleman adds:

“The emotion of anxiety alerts us to the reality that instead of connecting with God and depending on his power when we are vulnerable and powerless, we are making it about ourselves.”

In conclusion, Kyle takes a look at the biblical account of Moses and the burning bush in the book of Exodus.  God stands ready to send Moses on a mission to free the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt.  Certainly, Kyle stresses Moses experienced heightened vulnerability and lack of control.  And his response in Exodus 3:11 reveals his anxiety.  Not false modesty.

In the next blog, Pastor Idleman looks at four reasons for Moses’ uncertainty.

Today’s question: How do you respond when the anxiety alert goes off?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “An epidemic rise in anxiety”

About the author

Dave Henning

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