Oh…really? There is a practical side to anxiety? I don’t believe it.

Well, from a certain perspective, there can be. As I wrote on Tuesday, anxiety, fear and worry can be incredibly debilitating. Those powerful emotions can cripple us and leave us in an emotionally and spiritually paralyzed state. No one wants that. So, what is the practical side to anxiety? The practical side of feeling these emotions is to first be aware of them and recognize them. You must get to know your own soul. If you are unaware of how your soul works, or what exactly your soul consists of, here are some thoughts.

Our soul is invisibly inside of us, yet strong and real. Our soul is made up of three parts: our intellect, our emotions and our will. Basically, this is how and what we think, the emotions which are triggered by this thinking and the decisions we make as a result. Powerful stuff. These three facets of our soul must be in balance for us to remain healthy. If we live only by our intellect, we will not feel anything and live and act robotically. You may know someone like that. Or if we live primarily by our emotions, we tend to lose touch with what is real in our world, being tossed about like a boat on the sea without a rudder. When we try to make decisions, which are controlled only by one or the other, our outcomes may be impractical or even dangerous.

The practical side of anxiety or any emotion that might lead us to distraction or being distraught is that feeling these emotions can be a trigger for us to take another look at why we are feeling those emotions. This is what we have control over. We have the God-given ability to think, re-think and examine what is causing that negative emotion.

It is important to recognize that feelings are bodily sensations and emotions are the labels we put on those feelings. For example, if I feel heat on the sides of my neck and behind my ears, I’m beginning to experience anger. If I feel like my stomach is upset and uneasy, I probably am becoming anxious. If my eyes narrow and my neck and shoulder muscles tighten, I am feeling fear. These sensations may be different for you, but you can get to know them.

When we pay attention to what is going on in our bodies, we can more easily assess the feeling and label it as an emotion. This can become second nature to us as we practice being in touch with our souls. This may also aid us in knowing what to do next. Some feelings need immediate action, others we ponder. This is where scripture helps us a great deal. David speaks directly to his own soul, “Praise the Lord, O my soul and all my innermost being, all that is within me, bless His holy Name.” Psalm 103:1

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.” Luke 1:46.

If you are having difficulty in sorting out exactly what you “feel” and labeling the emotion, follow the directive in Psalm 46:10 to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Let’s use this time at home to learn, change and to grow. 

Chip Whitman 
Pastor of Care & Counseling 

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