February 23, 2011


The youth minister at my Field Education Parish had a pet peeve about the word "anxious."  It bothered him that people used it incorrectly. It bothered him even more that people used it incorrectly almost universally.  I'll be you've done it; I know I have.

"I'm anxious to get home and sleep in my own bed."

"Really," he would ask, "you are nervous about going home?"

Nope, not anxious at all.  Excited. Ready. Thrilled, but not anxious.

I wonder how anxious came to be misused so universally. I wonder what it says about the way we live that our default mode is anxiety, even if that isn't what we mean.

Jesus said not to worry, but that makes me anxious.  I worry about how much I worry. It isn't a lack of faith, necessarily, that leads me to worry. I trust God in the the things with which I think he's really concerned, but I don't know that God cares about a lot of the stuff I worry about because most of it is superfluous.  Seems like the only thing that God really cares about is having a relationship with us and the rest will sort itself out in the wash.  And maybe that it. Maybe the key to a lack of anxiety is realizing that the crap I worry about is just that. Crap.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.  The rest is just superfluous garbage.  Sure, you need to have food and shelter and clothing , but that's the small stuff - don't be anxious about the small stuff, be ready for the Kingdom of God.

1 comment:

Peter Carey said...

In addition, we use it incorrectly when we say that a "thing" makes us anxious...actually, anxiety is a feeling without an identifiable cause. If Jesus said something that does not make you "anxious" it makes you fear...

...so fear has an identifiable cause, but anxiety is a state without an identifiable cause...

"Anxiety is a generalized mood condition that can often occur without an identifiable triggering stimulus. As such, it is distinguished from fear, which is an emotional response to a perceived threat. Additionally, fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is related to situations perceived as uncontrollable or unavoidable"

For what it's worth,

Interesting thoughts!