I started to suffer from severe generalized anxiety when I was 12 or 13 and I wasn’t even formally diagnosed until I was 30. So with that being said, it was a really long and hard road for me during those years. When I say I struggled with anxiety, I don’t mean that I worried about things. I mean it was so bad it drove me right into alcoholism. I obsessed about everything, I exercised myself to death, and caused me to develop some unhealthy patterns in my life. After a year like we’ve had, reports now that say 1 in 6 adults report to be struggling right now with their mental health. However, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 24, that number grows to 1 in 4.
So I actually wanted to take some time today to talk about what God has to say about anxiety because it may not be what you think. Of course, a lot of people in my circle will say things like, “well if you’re worrying about things then you’re sinning” but that’s just simply not true.
“When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” – Psalm 94:18-19
When you read this verse, you can’t help but realize that it’s talking about fear! When it mentions that their foot is slipping, it says that the Lord supported them. God doesn’t condemn those who are struggling mentally, he consoles them. When we hear verses like “don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything”, (Phil 4:6) why do we read an angry tone into that? Paul was not speaking the book of Philippians with an angry tone. When Jesus looked out at the crowds and saw that the people were helpless and lost like a sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36), he didn’t get mad at them. He felt great compassion toward them!
I want you to understand that when you struggle, God is not coming at you like an angry judge. He’s a loving Father that we can celebrate. He is our solution and with him, we can trade our worry in exchange for his peace and joy.