An Open Letter to My Anxiety

My dear Anxiety,

Well, here we are again on a Sunday morning. And as in many times past, you decided to tag along as I made my way to church this morning. I guess perhaps you were still a little sleepy, since you didn’t seem to really awaken until the service started.

Now normally, I’m always happy to see somebody else at church. But I have to wonder ‘” just what are you getting from the experience? It’s obvious that you don’t care for the hymns, the scripture readings, or the pastor’s sermon. That leaves me with only one conclusion: you go to church for the sole purpose of needling me.

So, let’s review your behavior in church today and what you accomplished with your childish actions.

First, you started in as we entered the sanctuary, blurring my vision a bit so it was harder to see the chancel area. You thought that might be enough to make the place cold and unwelcoming to me.

Guess what? You failed. The sun streaming through the windows reduced your effort to a minor irritant. In spite of your effort, I still felt safe and welcome.

Next, you decided to see if making me weak in the knees would get a reaction. You began to put thoughts into my head about not being able to stand through the opening hymn and invocation.

Guess what? You failed. I stood through both.

From there, you decided to mess with me during the reading of today’s Lectionary scriptures by making my mind race. I bet you thought I would get nothing from hearing those ancient words.

Guess what? You failed. I heard most of them and they did sink in.

After that, you thought that making my mind cloudy during the pastor’s sermon would prevent me from hearing his words regarding overcoming adversity, attempting to combine the fuzziness and racing thoughts in what no doubt you thought would be a winning combination.

Guess what? You failed. In spite of your best efforts, I took away a half dozen key points from the sermon that I will meditate on in more detail later today.

As the time to offer the Peace approached, you resorted back to the weakness, whispering in my ear that if I stood up and walked around a bit to greet others and wish them the Peace, I would faint.

Guess what? You failed. I did stand up and greeted several people.

Your final effort to derail my time in worship was to double your efforts by making me feel that I had no strength left to approach the rail and receive Communion. To the weakness you added a rapidly thumping heart and a bit of dizziness, even pulling out the blurred vision again for good measure.

Guess what? You failed. I did enter the procession, kneeled at the altar, received the emblems and made it back to my seat without incident.

So what did you accomplish? Well, you’ve left me feeling a bit tired this morning, but that will pass.

But you and your shenanigans did not stop me from fulfilling my desire to be in church this morning or prevent me from receiving instruction and counsel, or taking Communion. And even though you will probably try some more tricks today, you are not going to stop me from enjoying the rest of this morning or cooking the lunch I’ve been looking forward to, or prevent me from enjoying my planned outing to a friend’s house this evening. Come along if you like, but sit in the corner and be quiet. I’ve had quite enough of you for one day.


M. Tatum