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Anxiety and your health: Danger

BY WARRICK
LATTIBEAUDIERE

Sunday, October 20, 2019

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KING David asked: “How long will I have anxious concern, with grief in my heart each day?” (Psalm 13:2).

As early as 2018, in an article in The Guardian, journalist Harriet Green declared our era “a new age of anxiety”. With the world being literally a dangerous place to live, people shudder in fear for their their lives. Even with increasing security presence in our little island State, there was close to 1,300 homicides last year. And the threat of disease outbreaks and natural disasters are ever looming.

Gunshots send people dashing inside their homes and jumping for cover, hearts racing, as neither innocent nor guilty is immune. News that you or a loved one is suffering with a life-threatening disease hits like a bombshell. Yes, “Man is dominating man to his own injury” (Ecclesiastes 8:9).

Can people really cope in the face of these horrible realities? At Habakkuk 1:3-4 the prophet had similar concerns when he remarked destruction and violence right before his eyes, along with abounding strife and conflict, as he concludes: “The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted”.

Given the past trends in our country, more bad things are expected to rear their ugly heads. With this knowledge, Proverbs 27:12 describes a prudent person as one who “sees danger and takes refuge”.

Similar to the precautions we take to be safe, we take steps to protect our mental and emotional health. Believe it or not, violent entertainment and the dissemination of graphic images on social media platforms portraying horrendous acts of killings — such as decapitations, stabbings and wanton bloodletting — only serve to spike up anxiety levels. Avoiding unnecessary exposure to these nitty-gritty portrayals serves to lessen our anxiety.

Like food to the body, whatever our minds feed on naturally reflects our mental health, or lack thereof. Instead, therefore, of dwelling on evil, why not take the Bible's advice and fill our minds with wholesome, positive things? After advising us in verses 6-7 not to be anxious over anything, verses 8-9 of Philippians 4 recommends our focus to be on “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think on these things”. Then allow these positive thoughts to translate into speech and action that build up.

“As far as it depends on you”, also, “live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

Learn to leave people's business alone, not “gadding about from house to house”, and with colleagues being “busybodies in other people's affairs” (1 Timothy 5:13) — in essence avoiding people's wrath if they perceive you as meddlers or news carriers.

Prayer must never be underestimated in a world “lying in the power of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Ask God, in the spirit of the Our Father prayer to “deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). Never be afraid to pray if cornered by evil or if you find yourself in evil's territory. Ask God to help you control feelings of fear in volatile areas or anywhere evil decides to manifest itself.

Psalm 145:18 says: “The Lord is near to those calling on him, to all who call on him in sincerity”. As you pray, do take the necessary steps to protect yourself, since Proverbs 3:21 says “practical wisdom and thinking ability will safeguard you”.

Focus also on the Christian hope. God's kingdom is in place. We pray let it come, let it come (Matthew 6:9), and not only will the Prince of Peace cause “wars to cease to the extremity of the earth” (Psalm 46:9), but when the “tent of God is with mankind, he will wipe out every tear from their eyes and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). No longer will mankind need to feel calamity or dread from the fear of men.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.


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