Anxiety is Good at Times
by Gini Crawford, MSW
Anxiety being good
There are four ways where anxiety could be called good for us:
Anxiety wakes us up to face a threatening situation - gets our adrenaline going (fight or flight). If your house is burning down your mind should scream, "Get out of the house because you will be burnt." This thought rightly puts you in a panic, so you haul tail it out.
Anxious feelings should give us a healthy motivation to do what we should be doing. Examples: You take time to help your kids with their homework because you dread the thought they may fail. You are diligent at work, because you are worried if you aren't, you will be fired. You eat right because the thought of bad health again makes you nervous. You don't buy the expensive car because not being able to pay for it stresses you.
God uses anxiety to help with self-awareness - our moral sense - our conscience. Our conscience leads us to distinguish between doing what is right and wrong. Choosing right leads to feelings such as peace, satisfaction and good. In contrast choosing wrong/sin should give you anxious feelings such as uneasiness, worry, distress or fear because you are going against what God wants. As a Christian, you should have a healthy fear of sin. This anxious fear should scare you away from sin.
For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. Psalm 38:18 NASB®
Last but not least, anxiety makes me close to God because only He can quiet my anxious thoughts, no matter what they are from. You too?
Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come …He will save you.” Isaiah 35:4 NASB®
Doing wrong should make us anxious
I would think most of you have heard of the personality disorder called Psychopath. No, psychopaths aren’t always serial killers or criminals. Psychopaths seem to have reduced connections between the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for emotions such as empathy and guilt, and the amygdala, which mediates fear and anxiety.
The key features of psychopaths are a lack of fear and anxiety, a lack of empathy and conscience. In other words, psychopaths seem to not get fearful-anxious about being mean or doing wrong. They don't get worried about things that they should be worried about. Their conscience doesn't seem to have the harshness of anxiety/fear to help them distinguish between what is right or what is wrong like the rest of us. Yes, anxiety can be a blessings if we allow it to guide us away from doing wrong/sin.
God's forgiveness brings peace
Our sins are completely forgiven when we believe in Jesus. Read John 3:16-18; Acts 10:43b; Ephesians 1:7. In reality because of Jesus' payment for our sins on the cross, we live in God's forgiveness. When we sin as Christians, it does affect our relationship with God, but never our eternity. Our relationship with God can be immediately fixed by confessing or agreeing with God about our sin (1 John 1:9). So when you sin and we all do, don't fight the anxious feeling within, ask God to forgive you, and go do what is right. It will take away your feelings of anxiety from sin. God's forgiveness brings peace and serenity (Romans 8:1-2).
Even as forgiven Christians we need to intentionally set our minds on doing what God wants and not sin. This is because our sin nature is still with us on this earth tempting us to sin. Even psychopaths can do what is right if they set their minds on doing what is right. God knows our anxious thoughts and sinful ways, and will give us the power to overcome them and give us His peace. Ask Him to guide you. Read Psalm 4:8; 23:1-4, 139:23-24, Isaiah 41:10; John 16:33; Philippians 4:6-7, 13.
Meditate on Psalm 23 for a few minutes.