One, two, three, four...keep counting at a one number/second pace. Keep counting and 31 years later you will reach one billion.
Take a one dollar bill, .0043 inches thick, and stack them a billion high and you will blow your way 67 miles into the atmosphere.
One billion is a massive number, and Americans pop over 1,000,000 Paxil and Zoloft pills a year, pills which help manage anxiety and depression. I'm not making a medication judgement call, I'm simply pointing out the reality, "One billion is a lot of pills!" In other words, America has an anxiety problem.
- Forty Million People in the U.S. will experience an impairment because of an anxiety condition this year.
- Of the 40 million, only 4 million will receive some kind of treatment
- Forty-three percent of North Americans take mood altering prescriptions daily.
Jesus does not want you to "make it through," to fall in bed exhausted yet unable to sleep because of the 1001 loose ends floating through your cranium. As THE life teacher, Jesus offers words that reach deep into the roots of anxiety. In his famous Sermon on the Mount, God's son takes on anxiety (Matthew 6:25-34) and offers insight on eradicating anxiety from your life.
Jesus' preaches a simple message about anxiety: "Stop!" Luckily, he does not end his teaching there. If he did, many of you would worry because you worry. I sum Jesus' teaching about anxiety with this phrase: anxiety is regulated by your beliefs and your ambition.
Regarding BELIEFS...what you believe about God and what you believe about yourself dictates the level of your anxiety. The more you trust God's faithfulness, the less anxiety will enter the door of your life (Matthew 6:30). If God takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, then do you not trust him to provide for you? Your anxiety depends on how emphatic your "YES!" Second, what you believe about yourself also determines your level of anxiety (Matthew 6:26). If you base your worth off productivity, people's opinion, or past sins then likely you believe the lie, "God would not provide for someone like you." And, perhaps you might take it further believing God punishes by refusing to provide for your needs. But, when you learn to see yourself through God's eyes you develop a healthy sense of worth.
Regarding AMBITION...the aim of your passionate pursuits has a direct impact on the amount of anxiety consuming your life. If you pursue the things of the world: wealth, power, notoriety, beauty, comfort, you will also find yourself chasing a life of anxiety. But, if you seek first God's kingdom and his righteousness anxiety has no place. Pursuing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will not lead to anxiousness (Matthew 6:33). It breeds peace.
I'm unpacking this teaching on Sundays (September 9 - October 7) at TCOC. If you are in the Downriver area, come join us. If not, and insanity knocks at your door, you can catch these teachings by subscribing to the TCOC podcast.