The Hidden Causes of Anxiety
Experiences affect how people think about themselves and what they choose to believe. Sometimes negative events create a hurtful thought pattern that can play in a person's brain like a continuous tape loop. When that tape gets switched on, it triggers anxiety in the heart of the listener. Shutting it off permanently requires faith in the Lord.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. Suppose that little Tina's efforts to do well were often rejected by her parents. She heard, "You can do better than that" or "Your sister did much better at your age." Tina rarely received praise for a job well done. Now an adult, she refuses to apply for a job promotion, even though her boss is encouraging her to do so. Why? Because she fears being found inadequate. Tina may not be able to name her fear, but it certainly holds her back.
There are several other potential root causes of anxiety. An exhaustive list would not fit here, but the following are a few of the more common ones:
• A belief that one can't reach a set standard
• Guilt over past sin
• An erroneous idea of God as a punisher
• Attitudes instilled during childhood
Even if one or more sounds familiar, don't despair. These roots can be yanked out.
When feeling anxious, ask yourself what produced the uneasiness. Knowing which incidents nurture fear can point you to the underlying cause. Let God help you reject the unhealthy thought pattern and replace it with assurance that those who listen to Him live free from the dread of evil (Prov. 1:33).
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Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.