Feeling Anxious? Remind Yourself of These 3 Things
Imagine this: You’re in a car without a driver’s license and you’ve been tasked to parallel park in front of a packed coffee shop with a line of cars waiting behind you.
Sounds familiar? Well, that’s probably how many teenagers feel today - being thrown into this thing called “life” to prove themselves and their worth to an onlooking world.
But what we sometimes fail to realise is that the adolescent life stage is a time when these teenagers are still working out their identities through exploring and making mistakes.
On top of having to deal with the social pressures of familial or peer relationships, they also find themselves having to cope with the expectations and rigours of school.
A 2020 research study reported that students’ stress levels pose a threat to the wellbeing and mental health of students.1 Even more so amidst the ongoing pandemic where avenues for stress regulation such as social activities, sports and creative pursuits have been put on hold.
Christian youths are no exception. In fact, they might experience the added pressure of needing to “have more faith” or “pray it away”, which could trigger feelings of spiritual-guilt especially if their struggles or anxieties still remain.
In these moments of lonely suffering, I hope that you’ll be reminded of and comforted by these words from God.
REMINDER #1: KNOW THAT IT IS NOT ALWAYS YOUR FAULT
When struggles with anxiety creep in, it’s common to hear a voice which tells you that “Something is wrong with you.”
We see this in the Bible when Jesus and His disciples saw a blind man from birth and they asked Jesus who sinned: Was it the blind man or his parents?
But Jesus was quick to respond, and He said, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:1-3)
I do not wish to negate the fact that the situations that we are in could, at times, be caused by our own sin. But often, people do get thrown into situations not of their own doing. And in such moments, I urge you not to think that it’s your fault.
The Bible tells us that we live in a broken world, but that is not the end of the story. God desires to perform a restoring work in you. Your anxiety does not have the final say.
REMINDER #2: KNOW THAT GOD UNDERSTANDS
It may not always be easy for people to really understand how you feel — sometimes, you might even find it difficult to express how you feel. Don’t worry, I’ve been there.
But know this: God understands you, even when people don’t.
He has given us a Spirit that helps us in our weakness. Even when we do not know what to pray for, the Spirit “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).
REMINDER #3: KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Struggling with anxiety-related issues can feel like a very lonely task at times. Perhaps you feel lonely because you think that no one understands you and therefore you isolate yourself away from others, making yourself even lonelier.
If you’ve ever felt this way, I hope that Psalm 34:18 lifts you up. It says, “God is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Even in a hopeless situation where you feel utterly helpless, you are not alone. God is near you, and He desires to rescue you.
My hope is for the church to become a community that provides a healing space for people who struggle with anxiety-related issues - a place which reflects the character and heart of God to those who are struggling.
So, let us be slow to find fault, quick to listen and empathise, as well as steadfast in coming alongside one another as we bring hope to those who need it most.
If you know someone who may need help, share this with them:
1 Alice Smith, Singapore Students Stress & Mental Health Statistics, 23 Jun 2020, https://assignmenthelp.com.sg/blog/students-mental-health-statistics/