Epidemic of Anxiety

Everywhere we look we are told there is an epidemic of anxiety. It makes people anxious reading about anxiety. Youth are seeing therapists because of anxieties induced from either expectations from parents for success or from hearing parents arguing usually from stressing over money issues.

Religious people do not help when they today, like the Pharisees of 2,000 years ago, tell us how to live in every detail of our lives. One almost thinks it is a sin to breathe, since seemingly everything we do and think is a sin.

Jesus often reprimanded those Pharisees for piling burdens on people. I have to believe that even the Pharisees were anxious underneath their veneer of superiority lest they be discovered in a sin.

Here is one thing Jesus taught as reported by Matthew in the “Sermon on the Mount”:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6

Step back from your cycle of thoughts (I’d suggest daily) and seek the greater perspective. Look first at the big picture of God’s kingdom and what he does for you. You can with this perspective tackle the things you can control and live with those you cannot. Not that this is easy. The suggestion is easy, the practice is hard. And if you need a therapist, by all means seek out one.

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