Cast all your anxiety on him

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

Facelift

Facelift

What if I told you that you need a facelift? What? You say, I’m much too young for a facelift! But I’m not talking about a physical facelift, I’m talking about a spiritual facelift. I’m talking about your countenance. Countenance is the expression of the face which reveals the inner condition of the heart.

It really comes down to this simple question; do you smile a lot? For the Christian, the next question becomes; if not, why not? No one has more reasons to smile than we do.

I often ask myself the same question David did in Psalm 43:5. “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” In other words, why am I feeling so down and discouraged? If the God who created the universe has forgiven me and loves me, why am I not smiling today?

Smiling is the ultimate facelift. Scientist reveal that smiling can boost your mood and even your immune system. Your body is more relaxed when you smile, which contributes to good health and a stronger immune system. Your body immediately releases endorphins when you smile, helping you to feel better and release stress.

Here’s an interesting fact about smiling. Babies are born with the ability to smile. Babies learn a lot of behaviors and sounds from watching the people around them, but scientists believe that all babies are born with the ability, since even blind babies smile. Babies start smiling in their sleep as soon as they’re born. That makes sense to me. Why shouldn’t babies smile? They don’t have a worry in the world, someone is always there to meet their every need, to constantly love and care for them.

It’s no different for us as children of God. That’s why the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites.’ Say to them: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.’”

Need a facelift? Look into the face of God and be blessed. Do you want to share Christ with your friends? Change your countenance. In so doing, someone will ask, “Why are you always smiling?” That’s when you share the Gospel.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5