Apr 24, 2023
Anxiety. Not only do we all deal with it, but it can take on
many different forms. For example there's the new anxiety that
comes from the Fear Of Missing
Out (FOMO). The term refers to the sometimes
energizing, sometimes terrifying anxiety that you are missing out
on something absolutely amazing. It could be a party, a new movie,
a special relationship, or a delicious romantic dinner; something
awesome is happening and you are not a part of it.
FOMO is an age-old problem that has exploded culturally thanks to real-time updates on social media. In the New York Times, Jenna Wortham wrote about a friend who works in advertising who told her that she was feeling fine about her life--until she opened her social media account. The friend said, "Then I'm thinking, I am 28, with three roommates, and oh, it looks like they have a precious baby and a mortgage. And then I wanted to die." Wortham claims that social media updates can make our simple everyday pleasures pale in comparison with the fun things we could or should be doing. Anxiety can pop up in the strangest of ways!
Another area where anxiety is increasing rapidly is with Generation Z (people born since the late 1990's). Researcher Joseph E. Davis claims that we can trace some of the anxiety to what he calls "absurdly ambitious" goals for academics, sports, or their future career. Davis points to a 2019 survey that asked 3,000 American adolescents, most age 14-17, about their aspirations for adulthood. How important, for instance, was it to them to become, "powerful and influential" as an adult? 21% indicated "absolutely essential," and another 27% as "very important." (Source: Joseph E. Davis, "The Deeper Roots of Youth Anxiety" Institute for Family Studies)
What these current examples of anxiety reveal is that much of
our anxiety isn't from outside sources, it's literally self
perceived or self generated. We don't think we measure up to the
identity we've created for ourselves, and most importantly, we are
aware of the flaws or brokenness we struggle with everyday. No one
knows our flaws more then we do, we literally see them everyday in
the mirror. Sometimes we literally hate ourselves because of all
our perceived or real shortcomings.
This kind of anxiety is very real, at it happens even to Christians. So what are we to do when this happens in our lives? One word: Remember. Remember what God says about you. Remember where your identity comes from. Most importantly, remember where your strength comes from. Here is how the apostle Paul states it:
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~2 Corinthians 12:9-10
To learn more about how God provides us with the resources to deal with our anxiety make sure and to part two of Anxious for Nothing.