This past week I had the wonderful gift and opportunity to spend time with young people at Camp Mantowagan. What a blessing it was to gather with others again at camp especially after a season of cancellations, uncertainty, and confusion. Every year we get to know students in a deeper way during this time. We also get insight into what is going on in the lives of our younger generations. What we found this year is that one of the biggest struggles ravaging young people today is anxiety. I know that this struggle isn’t limited to just them either. The past season we have gone through has impacted everyone. It has shaken a lot of foundations, caused a lot of questions, and revealed great weakness within. Many campers this past week even wrestled with being able to remain at camp because of such great anxiousness raging within. One of the most important things we can do when we are anxious is talk to ourselves. We all do. It is necessary though, that when we do this, we lead ourselves in/towards truth. We can do this by asking and examining ourselves with three simple questions.
In the midst of fear and anxiety our feelings will lie to us. In a culture that tells us otherwise, it is important to remember that our feelings do not dictate or determine what is true. God does. We find Truth in His Word which is where our eyes and minds should go. The truth is that in every circumstance there is peace available to us from the God of peace (2 Thess. 3:16, Phil. 4:9). He is also ready to comfort us in that season or struggle (2 Cor. 7:5-6, 2 Cor. 1:3). The truth is also that God is sovereign. He reigns over all things and is in control and will use whatever I come to and whatever I am in for good (Rom. 8:28-29). He has told us not to worry (Matt. 6:25). Another important question to ask is, “What is missing?” Fear and anxiety can be symptoms of lacking in prayer (Phil. 4:6-7), praise (Ps. 42:5, 11), obedience (Ps. 32:3), church fellowship (Heb. 10:23-25), or a relationship with Jesus. Finally, we must also ask, “What am I focused on?” Scripture calls for us to think on whatever is good, lovely, pure, and true (Phil. 4:8). This should be our focus and we find all of these things in Christ so let us fix our eyes on Him (Heb. 12:2)!
One of my most favorite hymns is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” In it we sing, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” All that we do in the midst of fear and anxiety is twist reality to take God out of the picture. We see ourselves alone. We see everything dependent upon us. We must see Christ, asking whatever needs to be asked, and doing whatever needs to be done to remain fixed and focused on Him.
Fixing On Him, Pastor Rudy