Is anxiety part of our genetic makeup? I was talking to someone the other day who believes her ancestors passed on their worry and stress via genes and there’s little she can do about it. Maybe some of it is inevitable, but I think most of our anxiety is the result of our environment, our past experiences, and especially the things we fear. When I say ‘fear’, you might imagine a criminal threatening someone’s life, or a rabid skunk in your backyard, or the possibility of a tornado or an earthquake. Our fear of those threats is usually manageable, because they occur so seldom.
The fears that make most people anxious are those we face on a daily basis: not fitting in, saying something stupid, talking to a cute guy with lettuce stuck between your teeth. Ratchet up a notch: running out of money before the bills are paid, losing your toddler in a department store, wondering whether that little lump under your arm is going to have big consequences. I definitely begin to feel anxious when I reflect on ISIS and the fate of Christians around the world. There is rarely a time when most of us can’t make a list of our fears, whether serious or minor. How we cope is the difference between a happy productive lifestyle or one wrought with anxiety.
In A Good Chance, Sam fears that he’ll give power to the wrong person. Anna is afraid that her life lacks meaning. Franny is afraid that Sam’s distracted behavior means he doesn’t really love her. Tyler is afraid the worker on the roof will get hit by lightning, but God uses this fear in a positive way. Heather is afraid that Tyler will reject her if he finds out what sort of person she once was. They’re both afraid of what Aurora might do if she sees them talking to one another. Heather’s mother is so fearful, she can’t even leave the house anymore. Nearly everyone in A Good Chance is afraid of something.
No matter where our anxiety originates, what’s important is how we deal with it. Some people rely on drugs or counselors, others on meditation or yoga. Some people rely entirely on the power of prayer. What helps you deal with your anxiety?
A Good Chance, Book #5 in the Chance series, will be published on May 27 (if everything goes as planned). It gives us Tyler’s point of view and introduces a few new characters. Acting on comments in Inspy Romance, I added a short synopsis of the previous books. Eventually, I’m going to go back and add a cast of characters too – another reader suggestion. Thanks!
Hi Diane. Thanks for the thoughtful post. I for one definitely believe anxiety is genetic. I have several people in my family who have varying degrees of anxiety, some of whom the onset was childhood. One of my daughters has anxiety and it just cropped up at age 11. She is a perfectionist with regards to school so she get anxious sometimes about academics which is self imposed and doesn’t originate with my husband or I. Thankfully in the age of youtube and vlogs my daughter has found several popular vloggers from England who also suffer from anxiety. Hers is much better now but I find that anxiety is really just a physical manifestation of all the fears and doubts that can overcome us in a very hectic and intense world. I never had anxiety as a child or young adult but every now and again I find myself feeling anxious over things I can’t possibly control. I have learned to go get massages and deep breathing to combat it. Blessings.
Trixi O. says
One verse that helps me when I am anxious (worried) is Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Sometimes I have to repeat this several times to feel God’s peace pouring in my heart. I tend to worry too much about things or all the what-if’s (ugh!) in life. It robs me of the peace of God and feels like a domino effect…I start thinking of one thing and then ends in some disaster! I have to learn to go to God first in prayer, thanking Him for all He is to me and know He is in charge of everything. It’s still a work in progress in my life, but the more this verse comes to mind, the more peace I have in my heart! And it is getting easier and more natural to turn to Him in my prayers :-)
Diane Lil Adams says
Such interesting comments – thank you! It was actually my granddaughter who brought up the subject of anxiety, teasing me with “Thanks a lot, Moomaw, for passing the family anxiety gene down to me.” It’s certainly true that many of the people in my family have struggled with it, as do half the people in the US. Thankfully, we live in a time when we don’t have to hide our problem and can find others with like issues who will share what works for them – hats off to your daughter, Belle! I like the verse, ‘Do not fret.’ Sometimes all I have to do is mutter that one a few times. The key for me is exactly what you said, Trixi – go to God first in prayer. FIRST. Prayer shouldn’t be our last resort. Blessings!
Becky Dempsey says
I have dealt with anxiety and my son has also. His showed up when he was less than 2. His was so bad that he couldn’t speak in most situations (Selective Mutism). We did take him to a therapist, but I think the biggest help for him was just us knowing what was going on (his Kindergarten teacher was wonderful!). I think there must be a genetic predisposition to anxiety. Going through it with my son helped me realize what I had gone through better and therefore deal with it better. I always liked Phil 4:13. Isa 26:3 is also a big help.
Diane Lil Adams says
I am new to blogging and wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a pleasant surprise to find that I will learn and grow from the comments people make regarding my blog posts. I honestly thought my granddaughter was teasing when she said I had passed the anxiety gene to her through her dad. But after reading your comments here I see that there’s nothing amusing about it. Thanks Becky and Belle and Trixi! And especially for helpful Bible verses – I hope others read your comments and made a note of them, as I did.