An estimated 40 million American adults are affected by some sort of anxiety disorder (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Facts & Statistics), and approximately 8.3% of youth have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders (Youth.gov). I encourage you to watch this nearly 15 minute video clip of Simon Sinek about the millennial generation and anxiety and struggles in the workplace as adults. We live in a society that seemingly has an increasing difficulty with dealing with life. As I sit here and type, I can say that I have had my own struggles with anxiety in my lifetime. I’m not talking about temporary anxiety, like, oh my gosh, I don’t know if I am ready for this math test. I’m talking a constant anxiousness that lasts for weeks, months, or even longer. For those of you who don’t struggle with something like this, you are probably thinking something like this…”What’s the big deal? Just get over it!” If only it were that easy. Those who struggle with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) truly have trouble controlling it, and the more they try to not be anxious, the more anxious they become. It is a downward spiral that never seems to want to go away. That Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff thing is easier said than done for someone who fights this battle.
I can’t really explain how, when, or why it started for me. I can’t explain if or when it will come back again. As I sit and type now, I am on an upswing and am feeling good about things. I think that I find when I am struggling the most, it is also at a time when I have tried to put too much trust in myself and humanity, and therefore, I have lost touch with my relationship with God. I believe that it is largely because we seemingly live in an increasingly godless world, where people are just living their lives and getting away from religion.
For me, I always come to a point where I have to re-center myself through scripture, and place my trust in the hands of God. The more I try to control my own life, the more I lose control of my life. But when I place my trust in the One who actually does have control, I find peace and comfort knowing that I don’t have to do this on my own. This passage from Psalms is a great example of a scripture reading that grounds me and reminds me that God is at my (our) side always and I am safe from my enemies because of Him. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Likely, it is because I have forsaken Him first.
As our new year continues, my prayer is for all of you who suffer the same anxiety that I have battled, that you remember who is really in control, and put your trust in Him. For those of you who may enter times of anxiety in the future, I pray the same. I am reminded that God created us all for a purpose, and He made us just the way he meant for us to be! God created…and it was GOOD. We aren’t supposed to be like everyone else, or be something we are not. We are supposed to be exactly who God intended us to be, and nothing less. God bless!