A Letter to Anxiety ("Screwtape Letters" Inspired)

We’ve been exploring the habits of peace, the posture of peace, and many other principles to help us overcome anxiety. I hope you'll take some time to read or review.

As a part of the "
Baffling Peace" series, I thought I’d add a creative work inspired by C.S. Lewis’ book the  “Screwtape Letters” to expose the ways our own anxious habits can be exploited by our spiritual enemies:


To: Anxiety

Anx, your last strategy with Marta was a complete failure. Working through her loud aggressive neighbor to trigger her just made her pray for him! And not only that she sought the support of her church’s entire prayer team! We lost so much intel on that mission and were subject to be punished. I'm confident you learned your lesson so I won't talk more about this. In fact, I've written to congratulate you on the success of your counter-mission.

Well done! Your subtle and nuanced strategy to use social media, news, television and her own phone against her as a cover? Brilliant! The constant disturbances and overwhelming amounts of information did well to stretch her patience thin and weaken her spiritual immune system to your presence. She caused you little trouble in that state of mind. Less prayers that’s for sure. And good job waiting for her physical immune system to also wear out before prompting the tax agency to send the audit paperwork. Of course her taxes were legitimate but the audit sure did cause a scare. Your timing was impeccable! Her outburst was all you needed to get the foothold for the promotion: “Legal Ground Status” and all its great rewards! How are you liking your first host home so far? Nice huh? You’ll never wanna work from the outside again, trust me.

It is now my duty to help you in your mission to steal her health, kill her joy, and systematically destroy all her relationships to render her ineffective to our Enemy’s work.

Now Anx, I don’t have to remind you of your task to influence her to worry about big and small things from her past and future. It is in your nature to do this very thing. So instead let me warn you of a few dangers you’ll want to avoid along the way:

Prayer will invite our Destroyers. Like I said, you've learned your lesson from the recent fiasco. But you still haven't learned exactly how devastating Marta's prayer weapons can be to your tactics. Thankfully, neither has Marta. Keep it that way. Distraction will remain a helpful ally. So shut down any propaganda related to daily prayer, solitude retreats, living on less and fasting from food and media to fast to prayer and acts of service. Blech! Continue to leverage your partnership with Distraction to keep disrupting her so you’ll be able to do your work without our Enemy’s voice or her prayers disrupting you. The present tense is far too close to our Enemy’s presence, so keep throwing her out of it. This won’t be too hard, our Enemy’s voice is as gentle as a whisper and loud distractions come naturally to Americans.

The Enemy’s Book is a sharp weapon. Of course you have learned by now that His great book counters your mission at every point, so the best you can do is pervert its message or promote other less threatening reading materials. If she refuses to listen to you, whatever you do, distract her from applying it. If she persists past your attempts, resort to hyping up all the rules and traditions in her mind until she’s blind to the true point. If you can do this, it will be easy to influence her to worry about appearing religious in the eyes of others. Go ahead, make her into a legalistic Pharisee and earn yourself a throne! But from what I read about in Marta’s file this would take years to achieve. So initially, be realistic and simply attempt to ruin her from reading the Book for herself.

Community is a massive threat. You have barely tasted the dangers of community because Marta’s managed to stay largely uninvolved and inconsistent at her church. Of course, if you can, devise a strategy to influence her not to go to church at all. Tempt her to stay up too late on Saturday, strike with all your weapons right before service, partner with Bitterness or Judgment to tempt her to resent someone who attends there, or partner with Shame and convince her she doesn’t belong. This work will pay off; if she doesn’t go to church and listen to that Book or relate to those praying people, you’ll have even more room to tempt and accuse. If that doesn't work, attempt to divert her to go to the church where your cousin Fear-of-Man is worshiped. You'll have lots of room to work in that atmosphere. 

Praise is your poison. If your host, Marta, worships and offers thanksgiving to our Enemy, you’ll feel the pain. Remember what happened to Envy when his host started to sing in adoration of our Enemy every day, before and after work? Agck! Envy was so badly beaten. I’ve never seen an ally so devastated. So do what you do best: magnify her troubles so they appear bigger than our Enemy and you won’t have to deal with her worshiping Him. As long as she stands in awe of her fears, you won’t have to feel the shrieking pain of her praise. And Anx, I can’t exaggerate this: the pain is terrible! So do whatever you can do to keep her away from expressing gratitude to our Enemy or any of His creatures. But word of caution to you: be careful not to strike too hard or you’ll push her to get help. So be subtle. Slow and steady now...this is a marathon, not a sprint.

I’ve recently got word that one of your host’s friends is learning how to operate in our Enemy’s spiritual authority. I’ve already called Bitterness to help you destroy that relationship before her friend has the chance to talk to her about what she’s learning. I’ve found a couple books that deny our existence and argue against our ability to exploit those who belong to our Enemy. Promote these resources, those might be your best tools for long term prevention. Trust me, you don’t want her learning about you. She can’t know that her own anxiety has been exploited by us. But if she does start to suspect you, just influence her to worry about it. Make her feel like a powerless victim. If she realizes the authority she has over you, you will be evicted. 

So again, good job earning that promotion. I know you’ll enjoy the benefits of having a host home. But, before you get too eager, remember, we already lost her eternally. You can’t do much about that, don’t bother. The blood of our Enemy’s son protects her so your efforts to move up the ranks to live in the suite of her spirit are futile. Our time grows shorter, so redeem what time we have left, stay focused, and spend your efforts towards your mission to influence and immobilize her mind, will, and emotions.

In this letter, I've begun to warn and advise you in regards to the dangerous weapons available to Marta. But I have yet to tell you of your greatest weapon: Me. Without me, her shield will snuff you every single time. But with me, ohhh I can help you achieve all you need to keep Marta from the realization that she is radically loved. Together we can bury who she really is and what she can really do against us. Together we can blind her to the hope of her calling. Together we can dull her senses to the rich access she has to our Enemy's presence. And while we can't win the war, together we can thwart her from winning many battles. So report back to me daily. Let's keep her on the sidelines of our Enemy’s Great Commission, we don’t need anymore trouble down here.

Your mentor,