This is my view tonight.
As I lay here in the pool, the word peace came to mind. I was overwhelmed by how calm I felt and how peaceful it is. After 8pm, after the 3 littles are in bed, after the teens are all organized with their evening plans. Quiet. Peaceful.
Got me thinking about Sunday’s sermon. It was all about finding peace. Isn’t it interesting how God speaks something on Sunday morning and it is exactly what you need to hear that week? Like he’s talking right to you.
This week has been full of panic attacks, stress, anxiety and tears. Not for me but for some of my kids. It’s a hard job to try and teach teenagers how to find peace. How to relax even! It’s difficult to help them see that constantly putting sights, lights and sounds into their brain is stress inducing. They are told that if they have lots of online connections they are doing well but their real life connections are suffering.
The level of anxiety that kids are facing today is enormous. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. That’s huge!
Teens worry so much but add to that a life filled with uncertainty, fear, and teen drama and you’ve got a perfect combination to induce anxiety and panic attacks. Trying to be the one voice in their world that is saying the opposite. Turn off the drama. Turn off the phone. Take in the sunset. Relax and have a bath. Rest. Breathe. Focus on the positive. Smell the roses. Are these things we only learn to appreciate when we grow up?
We’ve had to turn off the wifi at 11pm every night so that some of them don’t end up on ipods, phones or video games too late. A key ingredient for happier teens is sleep. When they get a bit older they start to understand that sleep equals feeling better and being able to get up for work easier. In the first days of summer we had to suffer through a couple of the working teens not going to bed on time and being miserable and too tired to work well. Half way through summer and they have good routines for themselves which include going to bed by 11 so they can wake for 6:30.
Taking the kids camping to places with no cell service is the best thing for them. We did a week already this summer and they panic a bit at first. Feeling cut off from the world and anxiety over what could be going on at home. Then a really cool thing happens; they start to relax and have fun. We swim, eat, play games and stop worrying and enjoy creation.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7
Isn’t it interesting that it talks so much about anxiety 2000 years ago? That’s one reason the Bible is still so relevant today as God knew exactly what we would be going through in 2019. No matter how big a problem God’s got it covered. In times of great anxiety, I remind myself of all the other times I worried and lost sleep. In all those times, no matter the outcome good or bad, God used it for good in the end. Sometimes it took a long time for me to see that. There’s no problem that is bigger than God. That knowledge can give us a great peace when we choose to accept that.