In the healing process, anxiety complicates matter. Usually anxiety is looked upon as the
by-product of our illness, that is, because of our illness or strained relationships, we are stressed and worried about the problem and ultimately the solution. Will I get better? Can we find reconciliation? Am I done with my habits or will they return? Will the disease return? Will it kill me?
Anxiety is quantifiable, that is, it can be measured. Arguably, certain levels of anxiety can even be beneficial for our own safety. For instance, walking through on the street at night, with heart-beat racing, our senses are alerted to dangers and we can exercise extra caution. Or, when we hear of someone else’s diagnosis we might project that same illness on ourselves. The anxiety is not healthy in a large dose, but in a small dose it might make us aware of our frailties causing us to change our habits, diets or lifestyle. Many diets and smoking cessation programs have been started because of the illness of a friend or loved one.
Anxiety in large levels is dangerous and here’s why: It prevents us from taking risks! What? Isn’t that a good thing? Why should we want to take risks in the first place?
As you stand on the edge of the building, on the sill, to see if jumping off will hurt or not, anxiety and stress kick in preventing you from risking your life. Getting on a plane to attend a business seminar or visit your Aunty Margaret is also risky, but it’s calculated in favor of reaching your destination without harm. So, while you may get anxiety-induced sweaty palms or jitters during the takeoff, you take the trip nonetheless. But if the anxiety level was so great that you walked away, or off the plane, that would be harmful to your general welfare.
Life is a calculated risk. Too many times I have witnessed people who are so scared of risking that they do not move forward. That fear – being scared – is a negative anxiety. I’m not discounting the power of anxiety; rather I’m challenging its influence in your life.
Life, by definition, is about living. Living means moving forward. When you move forward with your life you’re taking some calculated risks. You may fall down. You may trip. And, yes, you may actually make it to your destination!
Some of the greatest tragedies that I’ve seen in my life have involved people who are so scared that they refuse to take a risk for fear of failure. Yes, there is failure and there is success. They are two sides of the same coin. In the coin-toss of life, there is a chance that the coin will come up Failure, but think of this: Failure is much heavier than Success. Therefore, there’s a better chance that it will land DOWN on Failure and UP on Success!
There are medications that control anxiety, but we are already deep on the Road to Healing. We’ve been through some training over the course of the last few weeks and we’re ready to try out some of our learned experiences against anxiety. Prayer and meditation are important. Stay focused.
Let us meditate on Christ’s words, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
What are the things you are most anxious about? Illness? Troubles? Relationships? Addictions? All of these? None of these? What can you do by worrying about them? Does your worrying prevent you from moving forward with your life?
Now ponder the worst-case scenario… What will happen if I take a step forward? What is the worst case scenario? Can I survive it?
You’ve survived thus far. Life has ups and downs and some of the downs are painful, but the ups are tremendously pleasant. Look forward and be prepared to continue on this journey tomorrow. I hope you’ll take the risk to join me.