I realize my next statement is not terribly popular these days. But there are a lot of people copping out on the phrase, “I can’t help it, I was born this way.”
I know. Me, too.
I was born into sin just like everyone, since the first mom and dad started populating the earth. I have plenty of things that I could just lay on the fact that “I was born this way”… but it always has been, and always will be, the excuse of the self-centered whiner.
Harsh? Sure. Absolutely. But it’s true. It’s true when you say it, and it is true when I say it.
There are many different issues I could talk about here, but I want to talk about anxiety. That’s a pretty politically and socially safe, non-polarizing issue, isn’t it? I mean, who isn’t anxious every now and again? There are entire chapters in psychology books devoted to the subject of anxiety. I know… I’ve been studying human behavior on a master’s level for the last several years and I have discovered some very interesting truths.
First… science is finally catching up with theology, and I find that super cool. Psychologists are learning that if we simply change the way we think about certain things we can get past many of the phycological disorders that people deal with. It’s called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I find that really interesting. Especially when you find that very thing in the lines of scripture.
We are instructed, much like patients receiving CBT counseling, to capture every thought… that just because we think a thought, does not make it true. But the Bible goes a bit further and tells us not only to capture the thought, but to set it against the measure of Christ and see if it rings true. If it does, we keep it. If it does not… we march it at spear point (take it captive) right out of our minds. Psychology is also teaching us that we actually CAN control what we think about, and neuropsychology tells us that what we think about really does change the physical construction in our brains. We are hard wiring our own brains with the thoughts we choose to keep.
So back to anxiety. Anxiety is not a condition, it is a choice. How can I be so sure? Well, the Bible tells us in Philippians, “Do not be anxious…”. Why would it tell us not to be something we have no control over? When we find ourselves anxious, it is because we are choosing to hold onto the thoughts that are making us anxious. (That’s an oversimplification, but you get my drift.) The Bible tells us that we cannot add one day to our lives by worrying about things. Research backs this up by saying that eighty-five percent of the things that cause us worry or anxiety never happen. Eighty-five percent. Those odds aren’t bad.
Did you know that we were born with only two fears? The fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. We learn or convince ourselves of all the others. The Bible bears this out. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.” He gave us power. He gave us love. He gave us, what? A sound mind. Not fear. Not anxiety. Not PTSD. Not depression. Not identity confusion. Not a whole host of other things either. Those things have come upon us because we have chosen not to take our thoughts captive. We have just allowed whatever thoughts running through our brains be welcomed with open arms.
And that mistake is quite literally destroying us.