More and more people struggle with anxiety day to day. In this video, certified counselor and Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lilly Park gives three truths that anxiety can reveal and how we need to care not only for our physical body, but also our soul.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
Anxiety is probably one of the most common struggles that we all can identify with in some capacity. And I don’t know about you, but that is comforting to me to know that I’m not the only one. But I will say that some of us struggle with it a lot more than others.
I would say there is no quick solution to this and God never promises to take away your anxiety if you just have enough faith, but He does give us a lot of biblical wisdom in His Word.
The first thing I would want to say about anxiety is that anxiety is not just an emotional problem. God has created us as physical and spiritual beings. So make sure you get a medical check up to see that you don’t have, for instance, something like hyperthyroidism. I have a family member with that condition and anxiety does accompany it. So make sure all those physical things are out of the way.
We are also spiritual beings and both interact, the physical and spiritual component. And how are you taking care of your soul is probably the big part that I want to focus on now.
Anxieties Can Reveal What’s Important to Us
There are three big truths that I’d like to share. The first one is, anxieties can reveal what’s important to us. So for instance, usually when I am anxious about something, that object or that goal means a lot to me. In fact, so much so that I dwell on it a lot. Then my body starts reacting differently and I don’t sleep well, I lose my appetite perhaps. Those are symptoms that I really want this object, this goal, to happen.
So take time out, take a step back to think about what is it that I’m wanting so much pertaining to this anxiety?
Anxieties Can Reveal Who’s In Control of our Lives
The second is anxiety can reveal who’s in control of our lives. In other words, it’s either going to be God or us. We don’t need to be the god of our own lives, but as human beings that can happen when we’re wanting something to happen so much. Ask yourself, are you trying to be overly in control of this?
Perfectionism can come into play here. I think of Matthew 8 where it talks about the disciples in the boat and they became fearful with the waves. And it’s amazing how Jesus said to them, “Oh you of little faith.” Just a simple reminder that we need to keep our focus on Christ and not the circumstances around us.
Anxieties Can Reveal Who Are We Trying to Please
The last one is, who are we trying to please in life? And this is either going to be Man, meaning a person, or God.
Recently I’ve seen this trend with teenagers where they’re developing migraines and there’s also perfectionism, lots of fear, this desire for control. And when I talk to their parents they’re not explicitly telling their child, “You need to have a 4.0. You need to make varsity sport of something.” But somehow that child or that teenager is interpreting their parents’ expectations that way.
So it might be helpful if you’re a parent to have that conversation, even if you think that you’re not saying or verbalizing high expectations. Where is there a miscommunication between your expectations and how does your expectation compare to God’s expectation?
I say this often in my classes that God’s will for us is not be perfect, but to be faithful. And I think that can go a long way in thinking about anxiety.