Note: For part one of this mini-series, please visit: http://bit.ly/aHstk. For part two, please visit: http://bit.ly/20R01P. For part three, stop by: http://bit.ly/HAoxI. For part four, drop by: http://bit.ly/1I6XmF. For part five, visit: http://bit.ly/19Jdqt.
Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love? Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety.
Where We’re Headed
In our blog series on anxiety, we want to move toward biblical victory over anxiety. What want to explore together how to move from fear to faith, and how to help one another to move from anxiety to faith, hope, love, and peace.
But before we do that, we have two more “stops” on our blog tour of anxiety. Today we want to summarize where we’ve been thus far.
Then, we want to paint some real-life biblical portraits of anxiety—what it feels like and looks like. Where do we turn in the Bible to see such portraits? We’ll address that question next week.
What We’ve Seen So Far: Ten Sign Posts for the Anatomy of Anxiety
Let’s summarize our first five blog posts on the anatomy of anxiety.
1. Emotions are e-motions. God designed them to set us in motion. They are part of the God-designed motivational structure of the soul. E-motions motivate action.
2. God gave us the e-motion of vigilance to urge us to act quickly and courageously in response to a life need. When vigilance works, we have “mood order.”
3. Vigilance is a faith response to threat. In our faith response, we love God by trusting Him, and we love others by protecting them.
4. However, living in a fallen world, inhabiting unredeemed bodies, and tempted by an unloving enemy—Satan (the world, the flesh, and the devil), our vigilance can turn to hyper-vigilance, or stuck vigilance when we experience threat without faith.
5. In stuck vigilance, instead of a faith response to threat, we have a fear response to threat that leads either to flight (anxiety, panic) or fight (anger, aggression). When e-motions misfire like this, we have “mood disorder.”
6. So when fear strikes, we should be asking, “Where does fear drive me? Does it drive me to self-protection by flight or fight? Or does fear drive me to God, my Protector?”
7. Faith that works does not shun vigilance. Rather, it controls vigilance. It refuses to allow the emotions to control the mind.
8. God calls us to manage our moods and to master our emotions. We are not to ignore them, stuff them, or harm others with them. David is a biblical portrait of mature mood management. In Psalm 42, he is emotionally aware. “Why are you disquieted within me, O, my soul?” David then demonstrates soothing his soul in God. “Hope thou in God.” As Martin Lloyd-Jones says, David talked to himself rather than simply listening to himself!
9. When anxiety stalks, faith wrestles. Faith talks to the self. “I know God will never leave me nor forsake me. I can do all things through Christ. I am more than a conqueror. Nothing will ever separate me from the love of God in Christ.”
10. When faith wrestles anxiety, we refuse the fight or flight response. Instead, we choose the tend and befriend response. Trusting God’s protection, we refuse to protect our self. Instead, we courageously protect others for God’s glory.
What About You?
What are you doing with fear? With threat?
They are opportunities to test Who and what you trust.
The Rest of the Story
I invite you to return for part seven where we’ll offer some real-life, biblical pictures of anxiety. The Bible is relevant. It addresses real people in real life with real issues. It paints accurate soul portraits of anxiety. We’ll point you toward over a dozen next time we meet.