Anxiety does not manifest on its own—it stems from beliefs a person has about themselves, other people, and their life. Anxiety is fear, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the future, and that fear can take over their life, preventing them from moving forward and being the person God created them to be.
The things of the world can distract from who God says we are
For the youth of America, this can be the pressure to find a purpose in life. High school students are told to get good grades and study hard in order to get into a good college. They are told to choose a career which will allow them to provide for themselves and their future families. Passion is secondary, and students considering a career in the Arts, or teaching, or nonprofit work are pressured to reconsider in favor of a job that pays more. If a student fails to achieve good grades, or doesn’t choose a career field in which financial success is likely, they are “sabotaging their future” and “need to reprioritize.” This pressure weighs heavily on students, and they can feel hopelessly trapped, with no way of escape.
Young people want to discover who they are
Young people are still learning about who they are, so they look to outside influences to find their identity. They build their lives around relationships, hobbies, athletic abilities, talents, and interests. Unfortunately, these things are temporary, and when a relationship dissolves, or an athlete becomes injured, or a hobby or interest is discarded in favor of something new, that person’s identity is lost.
In addition to this, a young person could also form their identity and subsequent behavior based on the reactions and behavior of others.When things go wrong, when someone you love doesn’t accept you, there’s the temptation to blame yourself, to find something wrong with yourself which caused that person to react that way. That then becomes who you are, and your pattern of behavior reflects what you believe about yourself. However, remember it’s their choice whether they accept or reject you, not yours—you can’t control what other people think and do, only your response to their behavior.
How anxiety develops
When young people internalize fear of not achieving academically or of being hurt or rejected by people they care about, it festers and manifests as anxiety. It leaves them desperate and hopeless, looking for a way to escape their suffering. They are tempted to abandon preparing for their future entirely, and throw away valuable relationships because the pressure to perform well is too great. However, these solutions do not provide the relief they seek, and hurt far more than they help.
Getting caught up in these things prevents you from being the person God created you to be. God created you to be brave, victorious, and blessed, and the enemy’s goal is to deceive you and rob you of the freedom of walking in that identity.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
When you walk in confidence in the knowledge of who God created you to be, the cares and problems of this world have no power to stop you.
What is your identity based in?
Writer and Student
Hannah Fletcher is a senior at Oral Roberts University majoring in writing. She is managing editor of the university yearbook, Vice President of the English Club and loves all the puppies of the world.