I don’t want to. I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want to go to
the park, to the store, to get food. I mean, I do want to, but what if
_____ is there? What if I see someone I know and I just don’t want to
have a conversation right now? What if something tragic happens to
me on the way there or while I’m there? I mean...what if?

Have you had these conversations with yourself? Where it ends
up as an endless cycle of “what-ifs” and only a handful have answers,
and those answers come as more fears that bring more “what-ifs”?
Has it brought more worry that maybe something is wrong with you?

The answer to the last question is nothing is wrong with you. Anxiety is another result of the Fall in Genesis 3. But what is anxiety? According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” It can feel very similar to fear, but they are not the same. Anxiety focuses on the future (short or long term) with a long-acting response. Fear is an appropriate, present-oriented and short-lived response to a clearly identifiable and specific threat.

What is it?

So what is going on in the brain during a period of anxiety?
According to, anxiety is the result of constant chatter
between a number of different brain regions–a fear network. The brain
can be split into two parts: cognitive (logic) and emotional. According
to this theory, we only feel anxiety when signals from the emotional brain overpower the cognitive brain and come into our consciousness.
Scientists are still learning how every part of this fear network works together when anxiety happens.


As followers of Jesus, what can we do if, or when, this happens?
It can certainly be a case by case situation. Sometimes we do need
to seek a professional for medication, and nothing is wrong with that.
Sometimes it may be a need for confession and repentance. If
we get anxious at the thought of “being found out” because of a
hidden sin or secret, repenting and confessing is the absolute last thing we want to do. But maybe that's exactly what is needed. James 5:16says “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (italics added).

Maybe you need to take God at His word and trust that He’ll do
what He promised. This can be terrifying if we have many examples of
being let down in our past by others.

Maybe you need to do more of what makes you have a good
connection with God. Prayer and reading scripture are disciplines and
absolutely necessary and needed. But maybe you really connect with
God in the wilderness. Maybe it's fitness, cooking, driving, or maybe you need a solid nap. Whatever it is, you need to make time and do just that.

Followers of Jesus are not exempt from struggling with mental
health and mental health disorders. It does not show a lack of faith, just as not struggling does not show an abundance of faith.
Don’t throw punches at yourself. Don’t guilt trip yourself. God made
you and chose you; and not without or before anxiety, but He chose
you in the middle of it.

Travis Lane
Discipleship Director