Anxiety kills

Anxiety is trepidation.

It’s a suspicion, an apprehension. Life in a minor key with major concerns. Perpetually on the pirate ship’s plank.

You’re part Chicken Little and part Eeyore. The sky is falling, and it’s falling disproportionately on you.

As a result you are anxious. A free-floating sense of dread hovers over you, a caul across the heart, a nebulous hunch about things . . . that might happen . . . sometime in the future.

Anxiety and fear are cousins but not twins. Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one.

Fear screams, Get out!

Anxiety ponders, What if?

Fear results in fight or flight. Anxiety creates doom and gloom. Fear is the pulse that pounds when you see a coiled rattlesnake in your front yard. Anxiety is the voice that tells you, Never, ever, for the rest of your life, walk barefooted through the grass. There might be a snake . . . somewhere.

The word anxious defines itself. It is a hybrid of angst and xious. Angst is a sense of unease. Xious is the sound I make on the tenth step of a flight of stairs when my heart beats fast and I run low on oxygen. I can be heard inhaling and exhaling, sounding like the second syllable of anxious, which makes me wonder if anxious people aren’t just that: people who are out of breath because of the angst of life.

A native Hawaiian once told me the origin of the name that islanders use for us non-Hawaiians—haole. Haole is a Hawaiian word for “no breath.” The name became associated with the European immigrants of the 1820s. While there are varying explanations for this term, I like the one he gave me: “Our forefathers thought the settlers were always in a hurry to build plantations, harbors, and ranches. To the native Hawaiians they seemed short of breath.”

Anxiety takes our breath, for sure. If only that were all it took. It also takes our sleep. Our energy. Our well-being. “Do not fret,” wrote the psalmist, “it only causes harm” (Ps. 37:8). Harm to our necks, jaws, backs, and bowels. Anxiety can twist us into emotional pretzels. It can make our eyes twitch, blood pressure rise, heads ache, and armpits sweat. To see the consequences of anxiety, just read about half the ailments in a medical textbook.

Max Lucado, Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World(Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017).


I have just finished a study of this fantastic book. It is available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Question Subscription Service.

Anxious for nothing

When mariners describe a tempest that no sailor can escape, they call it a perfect storm. Not perfect in the sense of ideal, but perfect in the sense of combining factors. All the elements, such as hurricane-force winds plus a cold front plus a downpour of rain, work together to create the insurmountable disaster. The winds alone would be a challenge; but the winds plus the cold plus the rain? The perfect recipe for disaster.

You needn’t be a fisherman to experience a perfect storm. All you need is a layoff plus a recession. A disease plus a job transfer. A relationship breakup plus a college rejection. We can handle one challenge . . . but two or three at a time? One wave after another, gale forces followed by thunderstorms? It’s enough to make you wonder, Will I survive?

Paul’s answer to that question is profound and concise. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).

As we do our part (rejoice in the Lord, pursue a gentle spirit, pray about everything, and cling to gratitude), God does his part. He bestows upon us the peace of God. Note, this is not a peace from God. Our Father gives us the very peace of God. He downloads the tranquility of the throne room into our world, resulting in an inexplicable calm. We should be worried, but we aren’t. We should be upset, but we are comforted. The peace of God transcends all logic, scheming, and efforts to explain it.

This kind of peace is not a human achievement. It is a gift from above. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV).

Jesus promises you his vintage of peace! The peace that calmed his heart when he was falsely accused. The peace that steadied his voice when he spoke to Pilate. The peace that kept his thoughts clear and heart pure as he hung on the cross. This was his peace. This can be your peace.

Max Lucado, Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World(Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017).


I have just finished a study of this fantastic book. It is available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Question Subscription Service.

Risk

“Jesus promised his followers three things: They would be entirely fearless, absurdly happy, and always in trouble.” – Marty Babcock

Why Christians are so much like everyone else and what to do about it

Research by George Barna reveals what we were afraid was true:

Indeed, the research consistently reveals little discernible difference in the core behaviors and lifestyle attitudes and values of born-again Christians when compared with other Americans.

However, research also point us to the solution.

People who start their day with their Bible on the lap are significantly different from the rest of the world.

How do we get them to start their day with their Bible on their lap?

People who are in a group are substantially more likely to start their day with their Bible on their lap.

What needs to happen in a group?

  1. The Leader must stand before the group and say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
  2. The leader must identify and spotlight the first followers. Most people are influenced by their peers, not by the leader. This is how science says ideas spread. This is the way Jesus did it.

Focus on the few.

I have just released a video that explores these ideas.

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