Sunday, October 11, 2015

Day 11: Fear of What Might Be

This post is part of a 31-day series.

Precautions have lengthened many lives; anxiety has lengthened none and shortened many.

We've discussed the fear of doing wrong (Day 9) and the fear of humiliation (Day 10); so that brings us to today's topic, Fear of All Things Unpleasant.

What if today brings something painful/embarrassing/sad/tedious?

Nobody enjoys unpleasantness, so the desire to avoid it is naturally legitimate.

For those who've struggled long with these things, the fear can even be circular:  What if I feel anxious all day?  Fear itself can be the most common unpleasantness.

This type of fear can present as indecisiveness, too:  What if I order the chicken madeira but I would've enjoyed the chicken cacciatore more?  How do I know that moving to this new place will lead to greater happiness? 

As discussed earlier, the goal in the battle against worry is to adjust our rumination from our fears ("What if?") to the anchor of our souls ("Direct me in this decision, Lord.  Thank you for Your promise never to leave me.").

Like John Piper, quoted above, 20th-century preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones makes a distinction between preparing for the future and worrying about it:

No, he takes reasonable thought and then he leaves it...In other words, although it is very right to think about the future, it is very wrong to be controlled by it.  

The difficulty with people who are prey to these fears is that they are controlled by the future, they are dominated by thoughts of it, and there they are wringing their hands, doing nothing, depressed by fears about it. In fact, they are completely governed and mastered by the unknown future, and that is always wrong. To take thought is right, but to be controlled by the future is all wrong.

Tomorrow we'll address morning anxiety once more, and then we'll work on applying the gospel to it.

Thanks for joining me on 31 Days!

Next:  The Jitters

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