I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that an awful lot of people today are uptight and anxious.
I read an article last week that said young adult Americans are, free, confident, tolerant, open-minded, and self-asserting—but they are also cynical, depressed, lonely, and anxious. The next day I ran across another article titled, “Pass the valium: U.S. anxiety levels climb faster than rest of the world”. This author said that levels of U.S. anxiety has jumped sharply since 2014, and came in at the highest levels since the surveys began a decade ago.
Another article jumped out of the headlines titled; “Prozac Nation Is Now the United States of Xanax”. This author said that while to epidemiologists the disorder is a medical condition, anxiety is starting to seem like a sociological condition, too.
Anxiety has become an everyday issue for many, and can easily be fueled by stressful relationships, politics, social media, or Atlanta traffic. Per data from the National Institute of Mental Health, some 38 percent of girls ages 13 through 17, and 26 percent of boys, have an anxiety disorder. On college campuses, anxiety is running well ahead of depression as the most common mental health concern.
Regarding anxiety, Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic, urges people to put things into perspective historically. “Every generation, says Stossel… believes itself to be the most anxious age ever.”
There was no shortage of stress and anxiety in the Old Testament, and not much relief in the New. And, what’s interesting is that unlike what’s promised by today’s prosperity preachers, stress levels, did not then, and do not now, necessarily go down because you’re a Christian. In many cases, it gets worse.
But the good news for the Christian is this: though faith in Christ does not eliminate anxiety, it does give you the option of getting rid of it. And, by getting rid of it I don’t mean suppressing it, or reducing it, or covering it up, I mean letting go of it completely. That’s what Peter was talking about when he said, “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you.” And, Peter knew how to cast!
When you feel stuck, or stressed, take some time to honestly answer these two questions:
(1) What can I control? (2) What can I do nothing about?
After answering those questions – relating to whatever it is that’s producing the worry, stress and anxious feelings – bundle up everything that you are powerless to control, and throw it as hard as you can away from you and into God’s lap.
Take some advice from Bobby McFerrin, and the Apostle Peter. Don’t worry, be happy, cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7