Anxiety Cure

I recently heard it said that anxiety is different than fear. I’ve typically interchanged those words; having almost always referred to anxiety as a lower-intensity sub-type of fear. Yes, they are both under the same umbrella, but I like how Adam Young presented it to us at our conference in Estes Park this past summer – this Adam Young, btw.

He said that fear is a matter of danger while anxiety, on the other hand, is about avoiding something necessary. I like that; it rings true. Anxiety can still be in the same category as fear, and it can absolutely be a less intense version of fear, but it’s not just a less intense version – anxiety is of a different nature than fear, because it has a different object.


The main object of fear is a threat to personal safety. The main object of anxiety is something uncomfortable – an important item which needs to be addressed, but hasn’t yet been. Treating something which is safe as though it is dangerous creates problems that don’t exist, while treating something dangerous as though it is safe creates further danger, while not addressing the original threat – and so it compounds upon itself.

Being uncomfortable is not the same as being unsafe. And so, correctly identifying the error is essential to fixing the problem.

I am suggesting that our cultural anxiety is the result of a misdiagnosis. Specifically I am saying that what we call safe is our own heart, and what we call dangerous is obedience to God and His law.


As an example of what our culture says about our own hearts, here is a song from a 2002 Disney film that I never saw, although I bet there are a few kids who did.

And yet, here is what Scripture says about our own hearts:

In Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT) – The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jesus himself went further in Matthew 15:19 (ESV) – “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”

Here is what Scripture says about obedience to God’s law:  Romans 8:7 (NLT) – “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.”  Also, as stated very clearly by Jesus in John 14:15 (ESV) – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” 

Further, His parting instructions to His disciples doesn’t equivocate on what we are to do: Matthew 28:18-20 (LSB) – And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to keep all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (emphasis mine).

Scripture stands opposed to the messages our culture conveys – which makes it more relevant than ever, especially in regard to anxiety. We cannot stand in the place of God; we will crumble, because we are not Him. Here’s a fun song that explains that: Jenny Geddes Band.


God is safe, but He is also dangerous – see Aslan but also Matthew 10:28 and 2 Corinthians 1:20. We, on the other hand, are not safe; we are very dangerous. Does this need proof?

Because God is dangerous, the wise fear Him (Proverbs 1:7). Even still, God is also safe; proven by how He created the very ability for us to return to Him. (Hebrews 9:14) In doing that, He made us His heirs (Galatians 3:29), and sealed that promise with His Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22). How could we not stand in awe of such a gift?

Yet we collectively no longer fear God. We as a western civilization of the 21st Century do not recognize God as God. If we consider Him at all, we act as though He is a genie-in-a-bottle or a useful myth. When we do speak of Him, outside of mocking His name, we attribute our flaws and frailties onto Him – we think of Him as limited because we can’t fathom how He is described Biblically. We reason that He can’t be eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, and all-powerful; as well as personal, good, patient, and just – all in total perfection, without any borders. Our human limits won’t recognize His limitlessness, and so we justify our lack of faith as enlightened. And we grow increasingly anxious.

And for those who want to know Him better, stepping into Scripture is threatening, and therefore anxiety-producing.

Here’s the dirty secret of anxiety – we like it. There is comfort in the familiar. Quite the paradox, isn’t it? We avoid dealing with some problem, therein we create anxiety – yet over time that discomfort becomes ‘life’, and any threat to take it away produces additional anxiety. Hey! That is why the whole field of counseling exists! We know that what we’re doing as individual people, both gets us through the day, as well as causes its own problems. We can’t wish away that double-bind. But throw enough people together, where the individual faces fade into a fierce mob, and somehow we all forget.


I heard a person who went through some severe trauma recently say that what we fear controls us. Yup.

Jesus said to fear the One who has both the power of life and death (back to Matthew 10:28). And the apostle John states that perfect love drives out all fear (1 John 4:18). They fit together beautifully – to fear God is to love Him, which is shown by how we follow Him (John 14:15). In drawing near to God, our anxieties actually flee (1 Peter 5:7).


They said, “Boy, you just follow your heart,” But my heart just led me into my chest.
They said, “Follow your nose,” but the direction changed every time I went and turned my head.
And they said, “Boy, you just follow your dreams,” but my dreams were only misty notions.
But the Father of hearts and the Maker of noses and the Giver of dreams,

He’s the one I have chosen. And I will follow Him.