Anxiety and stress can cause us to lose focus on God’s love and power.
Many teens today struggle with anxiety. Anxiety can range from a crippling fear of doing anything wrong in a social setting to post-traumatic stress. Sometimes anxiety needs professional help. Sometimes it simply needs the help of a friend and reminders of God’s love and promises.
I suffered from mental anxiety—finding myself inconsequential, and telling myself I didn’t matter. I had a mental fear of putting myself out of my comfort zone and doing something considered “wrong.” I also felt great stress and anxiety, especially as due dates approached.
Like many teens, I didn’t say anything to anyone. I didn’t know how my parents, teachers, or friends would react to my “problem.” I pretended to be happy and didn’t make a fuss when people put pressure on me in social situations, which was one of the worst things I could do because it only made things worse.
One day, in my junior year, I broke down and told my best friend. Instead of making fun of me for my insecurities, she comforted me, hugged me, and told me to pray about it. She quoted a passage from 1 Peter, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (5:7). I’ve been a Christian since I was really young, but I had never considered giving God control over my fears or asking him to help me work through my anxiety.
I think I’m not the only one who has fears and anxieties. These problems—although we can’t be rid of them entirely—can become minor. God is all-powerful. He knows what we think and what we fear and will help us get through any issue that arises in our lives. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). All we need to do is trust God, in his power and glory, to do whatever is best for us at that point in our lives.
God knows us all: our good points, our flaws, and our breaking points. We are his workmanship, his finest creation, and he loves us, flaws and all. We should not fear because we have been redeemed. We have a Savior who gave his life on the cross for our sins and failings so that we can stand perfect and righteous before our Holy God. There is no longer a reason to fear anything.
Anxiety is one of the devil’s most effective weapons. It causes us to doubt ourselves, our faith in God, and God’s power. It breeds within our hearts and eats away from the inside until we no longer feel human and whole, but worthless and broken.
But do not despair. We have hope in Christ and an everlasting happiness in the kingdom of heaven that is to come after this earthly world has passed away. Now we might have to feel anxiety and stress, but God assures us of his love. He promises he will always be there for us in our times of trouble and grief and will give us opportunities to let our faith and his power shine. There is no need to fear this world, for God is with us. Forever.
Grace Finstrom, a senior at Evergreen Lutheran High School, Tacoma, Washington, is a member at Holy Trinity, Des Moines, Washington.
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Author: Grace Finstrom
Volume 104, Number 6
Issue: June 2017
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