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Anxiety as a Tool for Growth

“Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate.”
—Søren Kierkegaard in The Concept of Anxiety

Anxiety can be a very helpful tool in our lives. Unfortunately we have too often thought of anxiety as an indication of something wrong in us. Sometimes we equate it to a lack of faith or trust in God. Philippians 4:6 says:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

It’s not that anxiety is “bad”, rather, it can be a catalyst for growth in our lives…driving us out of a place of being stuck…out of place of being worried…towards a new resolution in our lives…towards making change…towards a trust in God with the things we can’t control.

When I’m feeling anxious, the question that comes to my mind is not, “How do I get rid of this anxiety?” But rather, “What does the presence of anxiety in my life indicate?”

Identifying that distinction in my life can help me then move towards making the changes that are needed. It can help me work through relational issues that I’ve tried to bury. It can help me foster a deeper relationship with God.

Maybe there is anxiety in your life for a reason. Maybe it is the bullhorn that is beckoning you to take action, and in your freedom take responsibility for your life and make choices to change it.

Listen to anxiety. Don’t bury it. Don’t ignore it.

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rhettsmith@churchleaders.com'
I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate (MDiv, MSMFT, LMFT-A) and pastor to youth and families. I write about the relationships between psychology, theology and technology.