NO ONE WANTS to be anxious. Nevertheless, many of us wrestle with anxiety. It is an unpleasant experience. You can’t be happy and anxious at the same time. So, conquering anxiety is something everyone wants to do.
I have learned that it helps to identify the root of anxiety. To do that we need to throw out the word “anxiety” and replace it with a word that accurately describes the problem––fear. Anxiety is merely a symptom of fear. Beneath anxiety is greater problem, fear, and when I see the real issue I can begin to control anxiety with the question, “what do I fear?”
I remember learning years ago in my Psych 101 class that anxiety is always a symptom of goal blocked behavior. In other words, I am afraid that something is going to happen that I don’t want to happen. Or, I am afraid that I am going to lose something that I badly want to keep. I am afraid that I am going to receive something I don’t want. I am afraid that someone is going to reject me, or I am afraid that I am going to have to relate to someone unpleasant. The objects of our fear have many expressions.
In other words, something is too important to me. In biblical terms, I have an idol. Something is more important to me than God. Here is the root of anxiety…Idolatry. And identifying the idol is the key to the cure.
This is where the label “fear” helps. As long as I call it anxiety it is difficult to get to the root. But when I say, “my real problem is that I am afraid,” than I can answer the next question. What am I afraid of ? When I answer that question I have identified the idol. The next step is repentance.
Those willing to replace the word “anxiety” with the word “fear” are on theway to freedom from anxiety.