The Gift of Anxiety
As a rabbi, I can honestly say I have had more anxiety over the past few years than any season in my life before. I imagine that most of those reading this today, regardless of their vocation, could probably make a similar statement. As time advances and we see biblically prophesied events unfold before our eyes, I expect that we will experience much more anxiety as our futures become our present. However, as I experience more and more anxious moments, I find myself being more and more thankful for the gift of anxiety.
You may be wondering if my recently increased level of anxiety has caused me to lose my mind. Let me assure you, I am still as sound of mind and faith as I have ever been. However, while I have definitely experienced higher levels and more frequent anxiety over the past few years, I have also learned to appreciate those times of anxiety as a gift from G-D and not as a curse from the enemy. After all, anxiety is an emotional response to a chemical reaction within our bodies. In order for us to have that type of response to a stimulus, that response has to be pre-programmed into our minds and DNA.
Said another way: G-D programmed our bodies to have anxiety. Likewise, if G-D programmed anxiety as part of our operating system, then anxiety must be good. Yet, as with all other good things, if we don’t use our gifts according to His instructions, those gifts can and will become detrimental rather than advantageous.
According to the dictionary, anxiety is: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. Or said another way, anxiety is distress or uneasiness caused when we face a situation or circumstance that is beyond our ability to control or resolve.
To put this into a word picture: anxiety is the little man inside our mind who aggressively waves red flags to warn us that we are about to enter a situation that is outside our ability to handle on our own, or, as one of my favorite young people once said: “Anxiety is when we come upon a situation for which we lack a file folder in our emotional and rational file cabinet.” Anxiety is G-D’s warning light on our harddrive, warning us that we do not have the available space for what we are trying to download.
Or better said: anxiety is a G-D given warning sensor provided to His children so we will know well before we go beyond our abilities that whatever is happening must be turned completely and totally into G-D’s hands. Anxiety is a warning label that screams loudly into our minds: “Do not try to fix this yourself; call the expert.”
The reason we get overwhelmed with anxiety is because we do not listen to the warning when it first begins to sound. The longer we try to solve whatever problem we are trying to solve, even though we know we have no ability to solve it, the louder the warnings get and the more anxious we become. And the more we attempt to do the undoable, the more problems we cause, which results in more anxiety, until we finally, simply release the situation into G-D’s capable hands.
To put this into Biblical context, you would have a hard time finding one situation which resulted in sin within the Bible that didn’t result from a man or woman trying to deal with a situation beyond their control. Just look at Adam and Eve, the people of Babel, Abraham and Ishmael, Moses killing the Egyptian, Peter chopping off the guard’s ear, Paul arresting and killing believers in Yeshua, and ultimately, those who choose to take the Mark of the Beast. Each case is the result of resisting the gift of anxiety, and instead of looking at anxiety as an invitation to call upon our heavenly Father for help, we try to fix the problem ourselves, even though we know we know from the start that we are ill-equipped to do so.
So, if you are like me and anxiety has become a frequent visitor to your mind and heart, please accept it as the gift that it is and accept G-D’s invitation to handle all of those things that are beyond our ability to control.