Part 2: The Curse of Anxiety

storm cloudsAnxiety is a curse that slowly weighs us down, eats away at our soul like a cancer and corrodes our joy like acid.  The curse of anxiety will eventually steal your life, your ministry and your testimony if it’s insidious effects are not stopped.  Yesterday, we looked at the  “The Soul Corroding Causes of Anxiety” from Matthew 6:25-34.  Tomorrow, I will share with you the cure for anxiety, but today I would like to talk about the curse of anxiety.  I want us to see vividly what anxiety will do to the human soul if left unchecked.  Let me show you four results of the curse of anxiety:

1.) Anxiety traps us in a vicious cycle.

The simple truth of the matter is that anxiety has never fixed a problem.  In Matthew 6:27 Jesus asks, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”  The answer is not a single one of us.  You can worry and fret a problem all you want, but worrying will never change the situation.  Worrying only makes the problem worse because it traps us in a cycle of trying to take care of the problem ourselves, but never being able to actually fix anything.  In fact, anxiety usually paralyzes us to the extent that we end up doing nothing.  When someone comes to my office trapped in the vicious cycle of anxiety, I will say to them, “While God is working on that issue in your life, you need to be doing the things that He has clearly commanded you to do.”  Then I will lead them through a process of making a list of the commandments they know that God has given them to do.  By doing what they know to do, they will be able to move forward and learn to trust God to take care of the other issues in their lives.  Worry will paralyze you by trapping you in a vicious cycle.  It is a curse of anxiety and the only way to break free is to trust God by carrying out the clear commands that He has already given you.

2.) Anxiety erodes and dissolves our faith.

A second curse of anxiety is that it will erode and dissolve your faith.  If you worry about a problem long enough you will eventually get worn down and think that you must fix the problem yourself.  This is a dangerous position because you will be prone to depending upon your own wisdom, strength, and resources to fix the problem.  This will almost always result in devastation.  At it’s very root anxiety is connected with unbelief.  Notice in Matthew 6:31-32 Jesus says, “Therefore, do not be anxious saying ‘What shall we eat? or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”  Notice that last phrase again, “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”  When we get anxious or worried about something we start thinking that we have to provide for our own needs or to take care of ourselves.  We start to trust in ourselves or something else rather than God.  Faith combats anxiety by reminding us that God knows exactly what we need and will provide it at the right moment we need it.  Until then our job is to simply trust and obey.

3.) Anxiety isolates us.

When I get worried or anxious about something, I end up withdrawing into myself and isolating myself from other people.  I have seen numerous other people do this same thing.  The third curse of anxiety is that it tends to isolate us.  It isolates us from our families.  A few weeks ago I spent several days in the intensive care unit and experienced first hand the corrosive effects of anxiety.  The more I worried about my physical health and condition the less that I wanted my family to be around me.  That may seem strange, but I found that I was withdrawing further into myself and had a difficult time trying to relate to them.  The anxiety that I was feeling was isolating me from the people that I love the most.  Anxiety not only isolates us from our families but it also isolates us from God.  In moments of intense anxiety King David wrote, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.” (Ps 22:1-2)  In this Psalm and many others, David is expressing the deepest emotions that come from anxiety.  Like so many others have experienced, David felt as if God had abandoned him.  Of course, this was the anxiety talking.  The reality is that God never leaves us nor forsakes us, but anxiety is a great curse that will sometimes make us feel abandoned.

The curse of anxiety is all to real for those who have experienced it.  Tomorrow I will share with you the cure from anxiety.  Until then I would like to invite you to share some of your own stories or experiences with the curse of anxiety.