FEAR & ANXIETY
The appearance from this High School Pastor is that those two things, along with stress & depression are ruling and controlling students in ways like never before. With pressures coming from all angles – like social media, AP Courses, college decisions being made earlier and earlier, select sports teams, parent pressures, comparison, competition choir, cheer and gymnastics, and the heightened image driven culture – these students are overwhelmed and feeling anxious about more and more each day.
The statistics are staggering. Psychologist are saying that the average anxiety, fear, and stress levels of a typical High School Student in todays society is the equivalent of those that were entered into Mental Health Facilities just 40-50 years ago! There was a survey given to a collection of High School Students across the US and here are some of the statistics that jumped out at me.
- Stress levels of a HS Student on scale of 1 to 10 – average 7.2
- 25.8% of High Schoolers have self-harmed
- 52.4 % have sought out counsel for anxiety issues
- Highest demographic for Suicide Attempts in US is among 13-17 year olds
- 1 in 12 Teenagers have attempted suicide
- 5 in 12 Teenagers have contemplated suicide
- 1 in 5 Teenagers are Clinically Depressed
So why do we struggle with fear and anxiety? Because, Satan uses it as a tool to try to gain victory over us. Fear has been used as a tool of the Devil for a long time – because Jesus Reminds us that
“The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy”
He did it to those in the Bible and he continues to do it today. He is the father of lies and deception and wants you to think the worst of yourself and the worst of every situation you’re in. He wants you to drown in your fears. He wants you to be rendered paralyzed in your attempt to work for the Kingdom or to add value to this world. This is one of the ways Satan attempts to gain victory over us.
Just think – MOSES was inundated with fear at the sight of YAHWEH in the burning bush and made all kinds of excuses of why not to go to Pharaoh, because he was anxious about his shortcomings. JONAH was stricken by fear for the city of Ninevah and how they might respond to God’s prophetic word for them to repent and return – so he ran. ELIJAH after defeating/humiliating/and killing the prophets of baal and witnessed God move in an extraordinary way – then ran in terror because of a threat from Ahab and Jezebel wanting to kill him. The RICH YOUNG RULER was too scared to lose his possessions to Follow Jesus, because he was a man of great wealth and many possessions. PETER denied Christ 3 times, saying he didn’t know him, for FEAR of persecution. The THESSALONIAN CHURCH was so terrified by the end times and thinking they had missed the second coming of Christ that Paul had to address them not once, but twice. The list goes on and on of Biblical People that dealt with fear and anxiety.
Which is why God, in all His wisdom, gives us SCRIPTURE and TRUTH to battle the Fears and the Lies.
There are 366 FEAR NOT verses in the Bible
Coincidence? I think not.
There is this battle for our souls going on – between God & the enemy. One wants to unleash us for intimacy, relationship, and KINGDOM WORK – the other wants us to be self-loathing, self-serving, confused, scared, lazy, and ineffective. You see – Jesus told us again that
“The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy”
“I have come to give you LIFE ABUNDANTLY”
When you are afraid – you are doing nothing out of the abundance – you are only living in encumbrance.
“Fear tricks us into living a boring life.”
“Fear is a self imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.”
So, who will win in your mind, soul, and body? Will you be shackled by fear? or Freed by faith? “For God did not give us a spirit of FEAR, but of power, love and self-control” – 2 Timothy 1:7 & “You will know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH will set you FREE” – John 8:32
Does the FEAR we have reveal the
VIEW OF GOD that we have?
I understand that it’s hard to have faith in God. I mean, sometimes I think about my life as a pastor and how I have committed my entire life and well being to my faith in God. And Faith is in the unseen. We have to TRUST God is who He says He is without seeing Him. Not just trust Him, but devote our lives to Him, follow Him, do what He says, and tell others to have the same faith… blindly. It’s difficult to say the least.
So, when circumstances, broken relationships, tough times, death, sickness, hurt, wars, pain, bombings, suicides, social injustices, and terrorist come in the picture and are VERY MUCH SEEN and right in our faces – it becomes very difficult to have FAITH and not FEAR.
“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God,
you fear EVERYTHING else.”
If we do not have the proper faith, trust, and VIEW of God and know just how big He really is, and just how much in control He really is in, and just how much He loves us and will protect us and ultimately do what’s best for us – we will always have something to fear. God will protect us. God will be our shield, comforter, help, and will uphold us. God already has the victory won!
DO YOU TRUST HIM?
DO YOU BELIEVE HE’S BIG ENOUGH?
The best way I can describe this is through my own relationship with my Two Year old son named Zion. I do some crazy stuff with Zion. He loves it when I launch him into the air and catch him. He yells out “HIGHER DADDY” when I throw him up and laughs louder and louder. He allows me to hold him up like he’s an airplane or better yet, superman, as we fly around the house or through Wal-Mart. And, he doesn’t realize this – but the entire time I am doing these things – I am putting him in life-threatening situations. He doesn’t FEAR that – because in his 2 year old mind – all he knows is that I have never dropped him or failed to catch him – so he can trust me. So in FREEDOM, he allows me to toss him around and willingly jumps off of high elevations knowing that his daddy will catch him.
Do we have the same trust in our Father God? Do we trust that He will catch us? Do we trust Him to lead us through life? Do we trust Him enough to JUMP when He says jump and GO when He says go?
God has never dropped us. God has the biggest, strongest, and most sure hands of anyone in the universe. So why do we fear?
“For I have chosen you
and will not throw you away.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”