The statistics prove that most teenagers in a single classroom struggle, have struggled, or will struggle with anxiety. That makes me sad. It also makes me angry. I sincerely want to support the next generation to be the change in the world that will eradicate those statistics.
Today I want to share some simple but profound truths that can help you do that.
Wherever you are in your faith journey, this message will help you.
What if I told you that you have a built-in alarm system? And a siren may be going off right now inside of you. Anxiety, worry, insomnia, racing thoughts, chronic stomach aches, and tension in your back, neck, jaws, and head are smoke alarms signaling that something needs attention. All of these symptoms I just listed are sirens, warning you that something is off.
What if I told you these sirens were gifts and not a curse? When you feel anxiety, worry, fear, depression, racing thoughts, and tension in your body, it is a blessing.
If a siren were going off as you continued to read this message, it would be a huge distraction, and you wouldn't get very far.
That is what you are like when you ignore sirens or what I like to call smoke alarms.
I have learned that there are 3Ds that will help to overcome the noisy sirens of anxiety.
Today I want to focus on distraction.
We distract ourselves from ourselves. Let me explain.
You may be dealing with the stress of finding out what college you want to attend. You're trying to manage your parents' expectations of you and what you want. That's stressful.
You may be dealing with loneliness. You don't feel like anyone understands you. That's stressful.
You may be dealing with mistreatment in a relationship, and your heart is broken, and it has rocked your confidence. That's stressful.
You might be dealing with overwhelming guilt because you play a good front that you are a good Christian, but deep down, you are not sure if you even believe in God, and your actions show it behind closed doors. That's stressful.
You need clarification about your identity. The world says, "just be you," but God's Word seems to say something else. You don't know what to believe. You have an internal struggle in your soul. That's stressful.
So here is what we do. We numb out. We turn to Tik Tok and Snapchat to get our daily fix of nothingness. Because at least there, we feel seen and have a feed that seems to affirm how we feel.
Can I be honest with you? Me too. Mine is just Instagram and Facebook. (I do have Snapchat, though, just to text my own teenagers)
Distraction destroys. When we are distracted, we are loving the world because our focus gets put on things that should not be our priority.
Where your time is there, your treasure is too. What does your screen report say? More time with God or more time with your phone? Again, I need help too. What does God's Word say?
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2: 15-17
Part of listening to the sirens going off in our soul starts with getting honest about how distracted we really are.
29 Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' 31 The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these." Mark 12: 29-31
Distraction robs us of connection with God. Are you distracted? I firmly believe that distraction instigates anxiety. When our top priority isn't God, the prince of peace we open ourselves to fear, worry and anxiety. Why? Because the world won't protect our peace, but THE WORD of God will.
When I'm distracted, I see a direct correlation to higher anxiety.
What can we do? Here are some simple things I have done. I don't do them perfectly, but I'm trying.
Check-in with the Word before I check in with the world.
Put my phone to bed before I put myself to bed.
Set some screen times.
We can't love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind when we are scrolling social media constantly and ignoring sirens that are going off within us.
I pray this message is encouraging and that you will begin implementing these tips in the upcoming weeks. I'm also excited to break down distress and detention with you in my upcoming posts here and on the Fearless Blog. Want to get these messages directly to your inbox? Subscribe to my email list here, and subscribe to the Fearless email list here. Bonus: when you subscribe to my email list at the link above you will receive 10 free art prints, go grab them today!
We can't wait to encourage you as you find freedom from fear in a world that feeds it.