There is a vast difference between the meanings of these words. Consider them carefully in your thoughts and speech, and strive to live with eagerness rather than anxiety.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Eager? Or Anxious?
I’m considered a word nerd. I tend to edit other peoples’ writings and spoken words in my mind. Don’t worry, I rarely share my internal edits, so you’re safe. There is one edit I will share, however, since it has spiritual significance, and that is the difference between the words “eager” and “anxious.” Eager means enthusiastic, impatient, ardent, whereas the word anxious describes a state of uneasiness, worry, and apprehension.
I’m reminded about one of my trips to Alaska, where I experienced both emotions. I was eager to dig for clams but anxious about the boat trip across the rough, sea-tossed bay. I was eager to see the mountains but anxious about traveling on the steep, narrow mountain roads. I was eager to see wildlife up close but anxious about seeing it too close—especially after all the reports I'd heard about grizzly bear and moose-with-baby attacks.
The Bible clearly defines the words eager and anxious. First Peter 5:2, written to Christian believers, tells us to care for and serve other believers, "…not because you must but because you are willing, as God wants you to be … eager to serve." Titus 2:14: "…Jesus Christ … gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good."
How often we worry about things when we wouldn't have to. We could, instead, turn our anxiety into eagerness, anticipation of better things ahead.
This is not meant to be a lesson in English grammar but a lesson in Biblical principle. It all comes down to a matter of attitude. We can choose to be eager about something or anxious about it. We would be wise to heed Paul the apostle's words from Philippians 4:6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God …." Paul, a missionary to heathen countries, had every reason to be worried and anxious. He was frequently beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked. Yet he admonished the new church in the city of Philippi to not worry about anything. We can choose to follow his example.
Lord, we know that worry and anxiety are unhealthful to our bodies, our minds, and our souls. Forgive us when we've allowed ourselves to be anxious and worried about situations. Remove from our minds that temptation. Help us rather to choose eagerness and anticipation in everything we face. Like Paul, give us the will to thank You for whatever comes our way. In Jesus' name, amen.