Do not be anxious about anything… —Apostle Paul
Anxiety is a serious issue. Every human experiences anxiety on some level; some people seem to live with a steady flow of anxiety, as if on an IV drip.
But anxiety doesn’t have to take the driver’s seat in your life. You don’t have to sweat at the thought of that person, practice, or platform. You don’t have to edit your plans, swallow your dreams, or stuff your face. You can overcome anxiety—or at least limit it.
At its root, anxiety is fear. Thus, to uproot anxiety from our lives, we must follow it to the fear.
Presently in my life, my anxiety levels are minimal and quite manageable. Despite the fact that I speak to a thousand people every week (and though I always sweat before and during the delivery of each message), anxiety does not haunt me as it has in the past.
Anxiousness reached its peak when I played volleyball in college. I dreaded practice. I was anxious all day, knowing that I’d have to face my angry coach, my intense teammates, and my own limitations.
I couldn’t articulate or appreciate it at the time, but anxiety around volleyball exposed my deepest fears:
- That I wouldn’t be truly great at something
- That I would let people down
Growing up as the eldest sibling and captain of all my sports teams I grew up with a superman complex. I was always the first, best, and responsible one. Letting others down was a subtle but deep fear.
Similarly, I put pressure on myself to be great. After all, I was “special.”
*Side note: I completely believe that each of us are totally and completely unique. However, if we’re driven by a fear to constantly prove it, we’ll be anxious, exhausted, and unhappy.
For me, volleyball was the crucible that exposed and elevated my greatest fears.
What are yours?
What is your anxiety telling you about your greatest fears? Listen. Look. Be honest.
Are you anxious about your kids being hurt or turning out okay? Is that turning you into a controlling, anxious mess?
Are you anxious about being late places? Is that a trigger for a deeper insecurity about your value?
Are you nervous about every date, conversation, or romantic encounter? Is that a fear about being alone, or whether or not you’re lovable?
Follow the anxiety to the fear. What is anxiety telling you about your deepest fears?
Don’t let anxiety become acceptable or normal. Face your fear. Then we’ll take the next step.
For an extended message about Anxiety and Identity, listen to Caleb Anderson’s recent sermon.