The Anatomy of Anxiety, Part 3: From Fear to Faith by Love
A Theology of Anxiety
To develop relevant, effective “methods” of helping one another to deal with anxiety, we first need a biblical, accurate “theology” of life. In a “theology of anxiety,” we address: a.) the core question we all ask, b.) the core issues we all face, c.) the core longing we all pursue, and d.) the core fear we all face.
The Core Question We All Ask
The deepest questions in the human soul are God-questions. We all ask the core question, “How can I experience peace with God?” Such peace, biblically speaking, involves shalom—harmony, wholeness, oneness, communion, and fullness. Therefore, the ultimate focus in spiritual friendship is to assist each other in our quest for peace with God.
Put practically, when I am ministering to a friend struggling with anxiety, I am asking myself, “Where is my spiritual friend doubting God’s accepting grace in Christ? Where is he or she doubting God’s affectionate sovereignty?”
The Core Issues We All Face
The core issues we all face in life are relational issues because God created us in His own Trinitarian, communitarian, relational image. Therefore, relational issues become our predominant diagnostic indicator. The fundamental lens through which I interpret life is the lens of relationship.
So, when I am ministering to an anxious friend, I am asking myself, “What relational separation issues might be lying hidden beneath my spiritual friend’s specific fears?”
The Core Longing We All Pursue
Created to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves, our core longing in life is for relational connection, communion, and peace—not simply the absence of hostility, but the presence of unity and equality in diversity. Since the deepest longing in life is relationship, the greatest power we have as spiritual friends is our relationship with one another.
Practically speaking, in ministering to a friend battling anxiety, I am asking myself, “How can I offer my spiritual friend tastes of Christ’s mature love and grace?”
The Core Fear We All Face
The core fear in life is shameful separation. Adam and Eve said it well and experienced it first. “I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.” Anxiety is the hiding disease. We fear exposure.
In ministering to a friend fighting against such relational fear, I am asking myself, “What core nakedness is my spiritual friend terrified will be exposed?”