by James Rudy Gray
Anxiety or worry-both describe a state of being uneasy or apprehensive- is a common difficulty in our fast-paced, stressful society. Dr. Grace Ketterman (M.D.) notes that "the significant difference is this: worry is typified by more mental activity while anxiety is expressed more vaguely in feelings and is accompanied by physical signs." There are many different kinds of anxiety disorders incuding such things as panic attacks.
While the more severe forms of anxiety may certainly need the attention of a physician or a professional counselor and medication, "pill-popping" may be vastly over-used in our culture for anxiety. As Dr. Ketterman observes, "I use as little medication as possible for my patients. I want my patients to learn as much as possible, to develop understanding, self-discipline, and other personal skills that will win over worry, anxiety, and depression for a lifetime."
Natural (such as Kava Kava) or pharmaceutical medications can help, but persons should use them only during the time they are developing coping skills and insights that come from godly counsel.
In Matthew 6, Jesus counseled us not to worry. In 1 Peter 5:7 we are advised to cast all our anxiety onto the Lord who cares for us. Nowhere is worry or anxiety regarded as a good or positive thing in Scripture.
In 1984, I wrote a book entitled, Worry the Silent Killer. My thesis was that, while worry may not be written on death certificates, it is too often a major contributor to the deaths of people.
Admitting that we have the tendency to worry is a start toward doing something constructive to manage and overcome it. "Casting" in 1 Peter 5:7 (epirrhípto) means to throw something away or throw it onto something. The same Greek word is used in Luke 19:35 for throwing garments on a colt in preparation for riding. This formula for dealing with worry teaches us that worry is something we can do something about. We must be pro-active when it comes to dealing with worry or anxiety.
Most of the things we become obsessive about in our worries never materialize. Many people's anxious feelings grow out of fear. Some very practical things we can do to reduce and overcome worry are:
• Be a growing, learning Christian.
• Develop a Bible-based attitude toward God and life.
• Practice the discipline of prayer.
• Be involved in wholesome entertainment.
• Have a program of personal development.
• Get ample rest and adequate exercise and recreation.
• Build a sharing relationship with trusted people.
• Face problems honestly and without unnecessary delay.
• Learn to live one day at a time.
• Maintain a balanced diet.
With God's strength and Scripture's wisdom, we can work through difficulty and become stronger, more confident individuals by doing it.