Anxiety, adrenalin and “peace at all costs”
Fear and anxiety are part of life. You may feel anxious before you take a test or walk down a dark street or go rock climbing. This kind of anxiety is useful – it can make you more alert or careful. It usually ends soon after you are out of the situation that caused it. But for millions of people the anxiety does not go away, and becomes debilitating.
So what was up when Jesus said “do not worry?” What does God mean in the Psalms when He repeatedly says “do not fret?”
Jesus addressed anxiety in relationship to material possessions. He said others would be freaking out (paraphrase) but you need to trust that God sees and He will provide. He also said we would get into situations and be at a loss for words, but to not worry as He would give us what we need in the moment.
Psalm 37:8 says “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.”
So there are obviously some areas we are to exercise trust and self-control. Not always very easy to do…
It appears our management of anxiety is also affected by an addiction to adrenalin. One website asks the following questions in order to determine if you might be experiencing adrenal fatigue:
- Tired for no reason?
- Having trouble getting up in the morning?
- Need coffee, colas, salty or sweet snacks to keep going?
- Do they call you “Red Bull” at work? (I added this one)
- Feeling run down and stressed?
We thrive on stimulation. How else can we explain being “bored out of our minds” when we are “busier” than any previous generation, mentally stimulated, technologically over-connected, entertainment-addicted, on data and information overload, and sleep deprived???
Okay, makes me a little tired just thinking about it.
Imagine the controls on your stereo. It is as though everything is turned up full blast. There is no equalizer balancing the “levels,” in order to bring out the most accurate reproduction of music. It is like we hit the loudness button to drown out everything that sounds bad. Then we obscure the beautiful song God made us to sing.
There is hope! God intends for us to connect with Him, which does bring the levels down (and refreshes us). The only problem is, when we connect with God, all the places where things are “off pitch” are more pronounced and obvious. It can be more painful in the moment to allow God to make adjustments than it is to just hit the loudness button again.
Peace at all costs
Sometimes the loudness button is simply a “peace at all costs” mentality (which always results in anxiety and chronic pain of some sort). The very attitude of ignoring what is unhealthy drowns out the still small voice of God. Anxiety results because we’re not being true to what is true. We end up living a lie.
Paying the price to be honest with ourselves and others (in love and humility) can bring acute pain.
The ultimate challenge is to trust God… to hit the pause button and allow Him to bring some balance. And once He begins to reveal what is unhealthy, we have to pay the price of being honest in the short-term (with ourselves and others) so we can be free for the long haul. There is hope!
Father, help us to trust you. Free us from fear and anxiety. Refresh us in Your presence.