I don't believe anxiety is a sin.
I do believe anxiety is a normal human emotion that can potentially lead to sin.
I think a lot of Christians, (including myself), beat themselves up when they feel anxious, depressed, afraid, angry, frustrated, among lots of other human emotions. I somehow thought that following Jesus meant that I would never be overwhelmed, never be afraid, or that I would never want to punch someone in the face.
Maybe I just got confused along the way. Maybe it's just a lie from the enemy that I believed. Maybe I was just around too many "perfect" Christians, who never let on that they were afraid. Maybe I listened to one too many preachers telling me that if I never wanted to be afraid, that I should just come to Jesus. Maybe it was the worship music that I would sing, boldly proclaiming that I would never be overwhelmed. I don't know...
However, I do know that I get anxious. I get sad. I get angry. And I get overwhelmed at times. Is that sin?
(Is it okay if we talk straight up Bible talk for a minute??)
Did Jesus sin? I believe he NEVER sinned. I believe that he was the perfect Son of God- the only one who ever lived a perfect life on this earth. Ok…so was Jesus ever anxious?? Let me see…oh yes….I remember reading about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, right before he was about to go to the cross, and the Gospel writers tell us that he was so anxious that he was sweating drops of blood. (Look it up-Wikipmedia-Hematidrosis is a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood. It may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death.)
So if Jesus was this anxious, yet did not sin, how is that anxiety or other human emotions could be sin when we experience them? In teaching them to love each other more perfectly, Paul tells the church of Ephesus, (Ephesians 4:26), "In your anger, do not sin." He didn't say, when you're angry, go repent and ask for forgiveness. He said essentially when you're angry, assuming they would be angry from time to time, don't let it turn into sin. As my nanny would say, "Nip it in the bud," before you do something you'll later regret.
In his Fearless book, Max Lucado points out that Jesus' most common command emerges from the "fear not" genre. The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) lists some fear not command 125 times. The second most common command? To love God and your neighbor is listed 8 times. "If quantity is any indication, Jesus takes our fears seriously. The one statement he made more than any other statement was this: don't be afraid." SO if that is, in fact, his most common command, what is Jesus assuming about us??? That we would be afraid, right?
I don't want to be a completely fearless Christian. Because I believe to fear is to be human. To be anxious, sad, frustrated, angry are all normal human emotions that I want to feel. Why?? Because I'm not God, I'm human! However, I don't want those emotions to dominate my heart. I want to take Jesus 'fear not' command as serious as he did. I don't want to be a fearless Christian, but I do want to be Christian who fears less and less, because of the incomparable love of Christ.