With school just a couple of weeks away, I am beginning to feel the stress as I look at all the things that still need to be done. Now, I recognize that this is not my stress to carry alone because there is a team that surrounds E3 Christian Academy of whom I am very thankful for. Also, I recognize that stress is not of the Lord and I just need to lay that down and trust that all things will work out just fine. Isn’t it true that much of what we worry about never comes to pass! Yet, I find myself forgetting the truth of God’s Word that says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
I find anxiety can be a distraction that keeps me from doing the very things God has called me to do. But what if I really took that verse to heart? What if I really put all my anxiety at the foot of the cross and allow the Holy Spirit to bring peace while guarding my heart and mind? What freedom that would bring! God promises us in John 8:36: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (ESV)
If this is a struggle for me at the age of 63, how much more is it a struggle for our students! They don’t have years of experience or the years of evidence of God’s faithfulness that I have had the privilege to experience. Some of them perhaps do not even know the God who takes away worry and anxiety. And if they do, they may not fully understand the power that they have by virtue of being a new creation in Christ.
How can we help them? How can we model to them that anxiety is not part of God’s plan and that they really do not have to fall into that trap. How do we teach them at a young age to truly cast all their cares upon the Lord? I don’t have any grandiose answers to offer but I think it starts with the adults checking their own hearts and how they handle worry and anxiety. Now, I know there are people that have a real problem with anxiety that they may be seeing a therapist for or even on medication to help them. I am not referring to that type of anxiety. I am talking about just human anxiety that often comes because we take our eyes off the author and finisher of our faith and put them on our circumstances instead. I for one have been guilty of that!
Perhaps we need to actually begin doing what Scripture commands us to do and pray with thanksgiving rather than worry. Who knows what kind of testimony will come out of that simple exercise that can be shared with students who need to know that we as adults struggle too. Another thought is to create a home and classroom atmosphere that is conducive to students being vulnerable with one another and then leading them in how to pray for each other. What if the school, homes and even churches becomes a safe place where everyone can take their masks off and just be real? Life can be so hard for these kiddos and they need to taste and see that God is good and true to His word. They need to taste and see that freedom is real and tangible. They need to know that anxiety can be replaced by peace.
Don’t we all need to be reminded of that? So let’s start applying the truth of God’s Word in our own lives. Let’s be honest about where we are not trusting and ask the Lord of mercy and grace to help us in our unbelief. Let’s be an example to our students that says, life can be hard but God is greater than our greatest challenge. Let’s live out the verses of truth and not just talk about them.