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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

08 Jan '14

Managing the anxiety trap

Posted by T.J. Addington in anxiety
How we deal with those situations that make us anxious is both a sign of our EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and our faith in a sovereign God. 

Here is how Wikipedia defines anxiety: "Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry and uneasiness, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by restlessness, fatigue, problems in concentration and muscular tension. Anxiety is not considered to be a normal reaction to a perceived stressor although many feel it occasionally."

What makes anxiety interesting is that it is an emotion caused by a perceived threat or issue, not one that has actually emerged. In other words it is stress caused by what might happen, not what is happening. What it can do is trigger words, actions, decisions and responses that get us in trouble - all because of what might happen.

Anxiety robs of time, energy, focus and joy. But like any emotion it can be managed and if one is in leadership must be managed since our anxiety spills over to those who are around us. From a practical standpoint anxiety is wasted energy because perceived threats are not real threats. Yes they might become real and at that time one needs to deal with them but until they do it is a waste of time to worry about them. There are innumerable bad things that can happen but they rarely do.

Anxiety is also a test of our trust in a sovereign God. If He is in control of our lives we should not focus on what might happen but on a good and loving and sovereign Father. We ought to take the advice of God through Isaiah more often: Be still and know that I am God." Only He knows if our perceived threats are real threats and we can leave any of them with Him. They are not threats to Him.

Finally anxiety is a matter of our EQ. Healthy individuals manage their emotions and this includes anxiety. They choose not to focus on what might happen but on what does happen and even then seek to control and manage their emotions so that they don't respond impulsively.

Anxiety is a trap. Don't allow yourself to get caught in it.