Anxious AmericaSeries: Emotions. James Dewhurst August 30, 2020
According to a recent study, as of July 2019, Anxiety disorders in America made up roughly 8% of the population. Fast forward just one year later, and as of July of 2020, that number has now jumped to 36% and rising. That’s a 28% increase just in 12 months!
*Over 1/3rd of our nation is now manifesting the signs of Anxiety Disorders!*
What’s causing it?
A Global Pandemic, + Economic fears, + racial tensions, + an election year, + a biased media, + people posting endless conspiracy theories on social media, equals Anxiety!
Anxiety is an emotion that is characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns, along with physical symptoms like sweating, trembling, dizziness, shortness of breath, and a rapid heartbeat. People often call this an anxiety attack!!!
At times, I have trouble with anxiety! Yes, I know Jesus, Yes, I love Jesus, and Yes, I trust Jesus to provide and protect, but I still have moments when the pressure of life and managing everything, just gets the best of me. God, how do I keep all of your people together and unified? God, how do I navigate the endless opinions and criticism from every side of this? God, how do I help your people overcome their fears and re-engage in church? God, how will our finances remain strong? God, when will this ever end?
Our greatest battles in life, are between what we know and what we feel!
*Anxiety doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace!*
A wise person – “Our anxiety doesn’t come from thinking about tomorrow, it comes from trying to control it!”
Before you jump on your soap box and tell me and everyone else who struggles with anxiety how unspiritual we are, let me remind you that Jesus struggled with anxiety!
Although our theology teaches us that Jesus was 100% God, he was also 100% man! This means Jesus, the sinless son of God, felt everything that we feel, including anxiety.
Anxiety is not a sin, it is an overwhelming emotion we must learn how to manage!
As Jesus was preparing mentally and emotionally for the brutal events of his crucifixion, after he finished the Last Supper, the Bible tells us he chose to spend his last free hours with his 3 closest friends in:
32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (ESV)
32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” (ESV)
*The Bible tells us that Jesus, the sinless son of God, had bouts with anxiety!*
I want to share 3 things today Jesus did in his sinkhole, to overcome his anxiety:
(1) He talked to His Friends!
(Isolation is often the incubator for anxiety and torment!)
Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment that is reserved for the most egregious and disruptive of all prisoners. During Solitary Confinement, a prisoner is completely cut off from all other human interactions and forced to live alone in a single cell. It is torture!
– “Anger never solves anything, but it can destroy everything.”
18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (ESV)
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! (ESV)
1 Thessalonians 5:1
1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. (ESV)
33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” (ESV)
Jesus could have isolated himself, but he didn’t, he ran to his 3 closest friends instead!
14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. (ESV)
One of the biggest reasons people are tormented with anxiety is a lack of community!
It’s one thing to pray FOR your friends, but it’s completely different to pray WITH them!
20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (ESV)
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (ESV)
The most impacting truth about God found in Scripture, is that He is God With Us!
*It is the “WITH” of God, and the “WITH” of community, that brings us peace!*
When Jesus felt anxious, he talked with his friends!
(2) He talked to His Father!
(Jesus took his rawest emotions to his Heavenly Father!)
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. (ESV)
Anxiety is the check engine light in our lives, telling us it is time to go talk to our maker!
***If it’s big enough to worry about, then it’s big enough to pray about!***
When something is on your heart, you have to take it to God!
-If you’re worried about your children, pray about it!
-If you’re worried about your marriage, pray about it!
-If you’re worried about the election, pray about it!
-If you’re worried about a big decision, pray about it!
-If your worried about your health or someone else’s, pray about it!
Craig Groeschel – “If it’s on your mind, then it’s on God’s heart!”
Too many people turn their back on God and walk away, instead of turning toward him!
1 Peter 5:7
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV)
Jesus talked to his friends, but he also talked to his father!
(3) He talked to His Feelings!
(Sometimes you have to have a conversation with you!)
Since you are not your feelings, you have to tell them they don’t get to lead you!
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (ESV)
Mark’s gospel tells us Jesus was getting crushed in Gethsemane by anxiety. It got so bad that Jesus’ sorrow made him feel like dying. But after dropping to his knees and praying, Jesus talked to himself in:
36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (ESV)
Jesus talked to his friends, He talked to his father, and He talked to his feelings!
Guess what? It worked! He went to the cross, He died, and We are now forgiven!
Some precious people are allowing their feelings to dominate them right now!
Sometimes you have to speak truth to your feelings, and tell them to get in line!
Sometimes you have to tell yourself:
> “My God shall supply, not some, but all of my needs, according to his riches in glory!”
> “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of darkness, you are with me!”
> “For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and sound mind!”
> “I know God has it all planned out; plans to protect me and give me a hope and future.”
> “The Lord will make me the head, not the tail; I will be at the top and not on the bottom.”
> “I am no longer a slave to my sins; I am a child of God and an heir with Jesus Christ.
Today I declare, “I can and will do all things through Christ who gives me strength!”