Anxious? You've Got Two Options!

Seth Godin is thinking ninja. His mind is quick and powerful. It is one of the reasons I read his blog. I like a person who puts their noggin to good use. Because Seth thinks, he makes me think. In Linchpin, Seth discusses how anxiety hinders us from reaching our best. Here's what caught my attention:

Anxiety is practicing failure in advance. . . . "Needless anxiety" is redundant, because anxiety is always needless. Anxiety doesn't protect you from danger, but from doing great things. It keeps you awake at night and foretells a future that's not going to happen. . . . Anxiety . . . is dangerous paralysis. Anxiety is the exaggeration of the worst possible what-if, accompanied by self-talk that leads to the relentless minimization of the actual odds of success.[1]

I agree with Seth about the paralyzing effects of anxiety. So what does he offer for facing our fears and soothing our anxious hearts? This is the sad part. YOU are the answer to your fears! YOU are the solution to your anxiety. He writes,

"Confidence self-fulfills as well. If you can bring more of it to an interaction, you are more likely to succeed, which of course creates more confidence for the next interaction. This cycle can bring you up or it can bring you down. It's up to you (italics mine)."

Seth's worldview excludes the supernatural. You've evolved into what you are. It is the "lizard brain" within you that triggers the fear and makes you run. Consequently, the only way to combat fear is to "reprogram" your thinking. In other words, YOU must pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. But what happens when your arms are too weak or your bootstraps too short?

The Bible offers both a different explanation for our fear and a different solution to our anxiety:

"And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." Genesis 3:8-10 ESV

When men and women were in perfect relationship with God, there was no fear. How could there be? Perfect God + perfect people + perfect environment = No Fear! No anxiety. But sin changed all that. Sin means imperfect people and an imperfect environment. Sin opened the floodgates of anxious thoughts. Sin also means you and I will never have within us all we need to handle what is going on around us--including combating our anxious thoughts. That power ultimately comes from God. That's why the Scriptures say,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

The recurring message of the Bible is this: A God who saves you by his grace will carry you by his grace, i.e. you have no worries.

When it gets right down to it there are two options for handling anxiety, Seth's way and God's way:

  1. Seth's way: Trust yourself! It is all up to you anyway, right? Ignore the threat, reprogram your mind, and tough it out.
  2. God's way: Trust God! Acknowledge anxiety's wicked spell. Cast your worries on God, and rest in his peace.

What are you anxious about today? When it comes to getting past it, you've got options!


Remember The 40 Days Of Prayer Adventure (Day 24)

We are on day 24 of 40 Days of Prayer for Church Planters. Today we are highlighting Pastor Ricot & Lorsinska Fertil of Miami, FL. Click hereor scan the QR code below to find out more about how to pray for them.

40 Days of Prayer QR Code


[1] Seth Godin. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

[2] Seth Godin. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Located under "Fear Self-Fulfills"