Anxiety’s Clever Trap and Why We Fall for It - Warrior Mom Wisdom - Week of September 15
Anxiety’s Clever Trap and Why We Fall for It
“Aha!” I discovered a secret. You may already know about Anxiety’s scheme against you…
An anxious heart weighs a man down,
but a kind word cheers him up.
This verse states the truth so plainly; it seems like common sense, but for some reason I am just now getting a hold of it. Anxiety does weigh us down, doesn’t it? The more we are anxious, the less able we are to move. The less we move, the less likely we are to rise up and be victorious in the moment, the day, the week, the month, the year and within our life-time. And even if we do have quick moments of light-hearted victory, “Anxiety” waits to pounce upon our heads again and sit on us until we give into its pressure, again. It’s like we are in one of those bad movies where the girl is running for her life in the forest and a twig breaks, and bushes rustle, an owl hoots, and we hear her heart pound quicker and quicker and quicker as “Anxiety” lurks in the dark background waiting for the opportunity to grab her by the neck! I don’t think I can be too dramatic. I don’t think I can even paint a horrible enough picture to capture the essence of this for you. If you have ever wrestled with “Anxiety” like your life was at stake, you know what I’m talking about. The little movie-image I just painted seems like child’s play compared to what you’ve really endured with “Anxiety.” And the thing about “Anxiety” is you don’t even have to be alone and vulnerable for it to be able to attack you, granted, it makes it easier, but you could be in a crowded restaurant or your school’s library and there “Anxiety” hangs on your neck trying to sink its teeth into your jugular. Nobody notices. Your friend’s walk by, your professor says, “Hello,” The librarian asks if you need any help finding anything. You smile and say, “Hello, Hi, and oh no thank you.” They walk away and there you are bleeding with “Anxiety.” There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide so you almost get used to it hanging around (literally), and you try to focus and work, despite your “Anxiety.” It’s like you are living in Hell, but you are supposed to be living on earth. After all, you are still alive! You constantly wonder what’s wrong with you. When in reality it’s not “You” that’s “wrong,” but “Anxiety” that’s sitting right on your shoulder! But you are unaware of this (even if you have enough insight to be aware of it you don’t know what in the world you are supposed to do about it anyway), so your subconscious comes up with a clever way to try to control the “Anxiety:” – Obsession! So, “Obsession” enters our life. We become obsessed with the details of what we are doing, or obsessed with the details of what we are not doing. Either way, we develop obsessive behaviors that give us some sort of quick relief to the anxiety we feel. We don’t realize, however, that the obsessive behavior (though it reduces our anxiety for a second) doesn’t work long-term. Long-term, we actually become that much more weighted down! We become that much more anxious! It’s like we were wrestling with the alligator of anxiety, and 3 to 30 more alligators showed up – except their names are “Obsessions.” Our living Hell gets worse and we feel like we might die on the spot, but we don’t. So, we just sit there with “Anxiety” and “Obsessions” around our neck and snapping at our feet and butt!
And so, I say, “Aha!” I now understand that “Anxiety’s” ploy is to keep you, me, us from truly living! If it can suffocate the life out of you, you will never have the energy to truly live. I paint “Anxiety” as the bad-guy, but I must also bring up the part we (me included) play in this bad-movie. We are so used to living with “Anxiety” that if we ever notice it is off bugging someone else, we call out its name like it’s a long lost pet, “Here boy, Here boy, Here boy: come to mamma.” And when it leaps back up on our shoulders, we have a tendency to pet it and continue to talk to it, having a long-drawn out conversation with it like it’s a friend or something. Deep down we know it’s our enemy, but feeling anxious has almost become 2nd nature to us, and we’d rather have the familiar feeling of anxiety around rather than the ambiguity of the possibilities of life. It’s like we use “Anxiety” as a protective measure to keep us from having to live – not really live per say, but take risk (which is part of life). It’s almost like the ambiguity of life scares the heck out of us, and we’d rather just be anxious; “Anxiety” is at least familiar to us. “Ambiguity” – that one is soo unknown that it terrifies the ba-geebers out of us!
So, I conclude that “Anxiety’s trap” is to trick us into not living. May we then, take a running leap into “Ambiguity’s Arms” – and with “Faith” claim the truth and knowledge that God will catch us in His hand! For me, I want to be sitting in the newness of His hand rather than with the familiarity of “Anxiety” around my neck! It’s got to be better than this “Anxiety.”
If the Lord delights in a man’s ways,
He makes his steps firm;
Though he stumble, he will not fall,
For the Lord upholds him with his hand.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.