By Andrea E.

Anxiety Exhortations: Words to Live By

I have anxiety and depression, which are worse this time of year, and especially bad pre-coffee and before my antidepressant kicks in for the day. So one recent morning, as I was morosely brewing my coffee, I found these exhortations forming in my mind. I hope these may be helpful to others as well.

Do not listen to anxiety first thing in the morning. 
Pre-coffee, it lies. Post-coffee, also.

Do not listen to anxiety late in the evening. 
It is at its strongest and you at your weakest. Why would you attempt a rematch under these conditions?

Do not listen to anxiety when you have not eaten yet. 
Need I say more? Get thee some lunch!

Do not listen to anxiety when it is relating its most compelling tale of woe, disaster and worthlessness — that the world is a dark and grim place, and things never get any better, and God does not care and will only judge your plea for help. The first are but half true, and the last are pure lies.

Do not listen to anxiety when it recites tales of past failure and mistakes. This is helpful for no one and goes nowhere good. Let the soothing murmur of junk TV shush it till you work up the courage to bare the accusations before the ultimate Judge.

Do not listen to anxiety when it says that the missed days of prayer, the ignored Bible readings have guaranteed a scowl of judgment from the Judge. For the Judge is also our Priest and Advocate — he knows our weakness and whispers “Peace, be still.” For he, too, was once a human.

Do not listen to the newest iteration of the Anxiety Variations, O my Brain, nor you, O my Soul. That siren song brings only sorrow — as you well know. Why would you heed it? Seek refuge in God. 

About the Author

Andrea E. is an assistant professor at a land-grant university in New England. Her research focuses on food safety and food microbiology. In her down time she enjoys hiking, reading, and writing about science, food safety, and faith.

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