by Joanie Butman
Based on what I’ve been reading and hearing, anxiety has become an epidemic in our country. Considering the vitriol we’ve been exposed to for the past 18 months, I’m not surprised. As bad as it was, Clinton and Trump are not the moving force behind the escalating anxiety that plagues our country.
So why is the upcoming generation plagued with anxiety disorders? I’m sure there are a plethora of reasons, but their inability to disconnect from social media has got to be a leading contributor. Anne Lamott has a great quote we should all paste to our electronic device of choice. It reads, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
A young friend and I were enjoying a nice relaxing day recently, yet she felt she was wasting the day because she wasn’t ‘doing’ anything. Was simply spending time together not valuable because it wasn’t photo worthy for Facebook or Snapchat? And it isn’t confined to the upcoming generation; another friend recently admitted how guilty she felt whenever she just sat down, put her feet up and read in the middle of the day. Shocked, I asked, “Why for goodness sake?” She replied, “Because I’m not being productive.” To that I could only respond, “But doesn’t rest ultimately increase productivity?”
Busyness has become the new status symbol. Rick Warren comments, “One of Satan’s strategies is to get you so busy doing unimportant things that you don’t have time for the important things in life, and you don’t spend any time preparing for eternity. Satan doesn’t have to get you to sin. If he can’t get you to be bad, he’ll just get you to be busy.” He whispers lies that suggest the busier you are, the greater your worth. No wonder anxiety disorders have reached epidemic proportions. We’ve lost the ability or desire to be still.
In my own experience the busier I get, the faster I feel my peace and contentment slipping away. Stillness is essential for our well-being, whether we are able to accomplish it in quiet solitude or amidst a chaotic schedule. It’s not necessarily a place but a state of mind which, with practice, can be achieved anywhere. It might be sitting on a train, in traffic, in an office, or in a waiting room at Sloane Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Nowhere is this more important than in my spiritual life. The peace and contentment I derive from my cawfee talks with God each morning follow me into my day, making it easier to deal with whatever arises – including election results. Some days it’s minor inconveniences. On others it could be a bad report from the doctor. Whatever it is, His inner stillness calms whatever fearful event life throws at me, and there is an endless array of them as we all can attest – especially this week. To those still suffering from election anxiety, remember Billy Graham’s advice, “Do not fear the future. God is already there.”
Having said all that, there is no denying there are situations when medication is needed to deal with acute anxiety disorders, and thank God that He’s given us the miracle of modern medicine. Still, I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from the added power of Christ in facing this battle. As the apostle Peter teaches us, "Cast your anxiety onto Him because He cares for you."
Christ is my anxiety antidote of choice. What’s yours?
P.S. Speaking of being unplugged, I will be traveling the next couple of weeks so will not be posting. This trip couldn’t have come at a better time. We left Wednesday!
I will leave you with two things to ponder in response to the shock of Tuesday´s results and the fear and anger I´ve heard from so many. "Worry is not believing God will get it right, and bitterness is believing God got it wrong."