Did you know that a lot of what we think is fear, is actually ANXIETY? While both of these emotions trigger the same “fight or flight” response, they aren’t the same. Fear is the result of a threat or impending danger. Anxiety is the result of a perceived threat or danger. Make sense?
If you think about it, how many times are you actually experiencing fear in any given day? There are so many articles on this, and I don’t claim to be a psychologist or know much about the human brain. All I know is that what I’ve been defining as fear for so long is actually something very different.
Paul writes about fear in 2 Timothy 1:7 when he says —
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
I think that maybe what he means by “a spirit of fear” might just be anxiety.
In my own definition, I think a better way to describe anxiety might be to call it “false fear.”
A lot of the anxiety we experience is born out of the stories we tell ourselves. It’s believing the things that we make up in our imaginations are factual.
I’ve been thinking a lot on the subject of imagination recently. I grew up in a very small town as a young child, so having an avid imagination kept me busy day to day. In elementary school, my imagination even led me to develop some pretty creative plots that helped me to fall in love with writing at a very young age. Now, as an adult, I can see this biting me in the butt at times. What used to be valuable and praised in childhood, has now become something that can sometimes cause my anxiety to escalate. The things I imagine can become so real in my mind, that I begin to believe that they are truly accurate. This is the definition anxiety!
We can’t let our imaginations run wild and then just sit in our anxiety and false fears. We have to attack them head on, and the only way to do that is to remind ourselves of what the true story is. And, Truth is…
We aren’t the sum of the stories we tell ourselves. We are who God says we are.
Our God is not the author of anxiety. He offers us power. He gives us the ability to love others as well as ourselves. He fills our minds with creativity and imagination, and helps us to discern it well. We need to stop paying attention to the stories that we tell ourselves, and instead, start focusing on the one that God is writing!