Anxious for Nothing

Anxious for Nothing

Written by Jared C. Wilson |
Sunday, May 14, 2023

You may not comprehend all that’s happening to you, but you can remind yourself of the purposes of the One working it toward your eventual good. That’s what I’m going to do with my “anxious nothings”—ask God to take them away and believe that, even if He doesn’t, He is still good, still here, still actively working in my life to complete my joy and glorify Himself.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was about forty-five minutes from preaching the closing session of the seminary’s annual student conference. Sitting in my office and scrolling through my phone while listening to the session before mine on the livestream, I suddenly felt something very wrong.

My heart rate began to surge. I had the overwhelming sensation of my body “shutting down.” I felt internally as though I was seizing up and was about to die. Beginning to panic, I decided I needed to exit my office and enter a public area where I might access help. I thought I might be having a heart attack.

Sitting down on a couch in the foyer, I signaled security that I was in distress. EMTs arrived, stretcher in tow. After being examined, I opted not to go to the hospital. My wife came to get me and took me home, and the next day we went to see the doctor.

Blood was drawn. My heart was scanned. My personal and family history was scoured.

It was determined I had not suffered a heart attack. The diagnosis? Anxiety-induced panic attack.

This was not a total surprise to me, as I’ve been experiencing sporadic “flashes” of panic over the last six or seven years, always while driving. I’d never suffered an attack outside that context, and it didn’t feel quite the same. It felt more severe. I’d never felt before that I needed emergency services or that I was about to die. Now I’ve learned that this thing has been building, and it can strike any time.

Part of me wished they had found something else. Something they could go in and take out. Something they could “clean up” or fix. Instead I have . . . anxiety. Even when I don’t feel particularly nervous about anything.

“What were you doing when it happened?” people keep asking.

“Nothing,” I say. “Just sitting there.”

“Were you nervous about speaking?”


“Were you agitated about something?”

“No. I was literally just sitting at my desk, killing time.”

I am literally “anxious for nothing.”

I have had people throw Bible verses my way, none of which have I been unfamiliar with. The top recommendation is of course Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

But it’s not that kind of anxiety.

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