I’ve heard that we’re born with only two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. If true, this reinforces the very real fact that we accumulate fears over time. We undoubtedly manufacture some, but life experiences saddle us with the others. From worry to severe anxiety disorders, from run-of-the-mill fears to irrational phobias, we all live somewhere on anxiety’s broad spectrum. We fear heights, spiders, bats, public speaking, rejection letters, financial collapse, negative judgments, loneliness, memory loss—the list is endless. And these fears bang incessantly on the tin roofing of our hearts.
And if anxiety were not paralyzing enough, it brings discouragement along for company. We listen to fear’s lies, fully knowing they are lies. We look in the mirror each morning and wonder when fear will finally stop being an unwanted house guest.
History offers a long list of faithful God-followers who fought anxiety or depression, some for much of their lives—Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, Job, Elijah, Jonah, Hannah. Even King David struggled, as evidenced by his psalms, though he had tasted remarkable courage many times, even defeating a lion, a bear, and Goliath. Charles Spurgeon, William Cowper, G. K. Chesterton, and Mother Teresa likewise struggled. Some suffocated so badly beneath the weight that they entertained suicidal thoughts not once, but many times.
Anxiety does not discriminate. It takes the strong and the weak, the cheerful and the melancholy, the spiritual juggernaut and the spiritual lightweight. And addressing the topic is complicated by ambiguity. The line between anxiety and worry, for example, is not as clear as we would like. When is the brain working improperly and ...1
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