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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

8 August 2018: Jon Piper, Hope Church

Don’t Worry

I am currently in a state of heightened anxiety. My eldest son is on his first day of a school trip in which he flies to the other side of the planet, spends time in some major cities, sleeps in hotels I’ve never seen, then flies home six days later.
I know that my son, his peers and the school staff who are accompanying them are pretty sensible people, but there’s still something deeply anxiety inducing about this whole situation.

Thankfully, I helped to deliver an anxiety course at the King’s Arms youth centre last week, so am well equipped with tools for understanding my own anxiety! One particularly helpful way to think about the affect of anxiety for the young people I was working with is to acknowledge the cycle of our anxiety. This involves an anxiety-inducing event, followed by unhelpful patterns of thinking, then a set of real-life affects, which can lead to further anxiety.

This cycle can be a helpful way to acknowledge that worrying events are an inevitable part of life and also to help arrest my own unhealthy thinking. It can help me to be aware when I begin to imagine every situation ending in catastrophe or when I predict terrible future events.

The go-to Christian reference to anxiety is Jesus’ call to his followers not to worry. Jesus statement can seem a little blunt at first – as if worry is something I can choose to switch off. But what Jesus is asking is a little more doable than a simple ‘get over it’ message.

Jesus doesn’t call us to forget our worries. Instead, he calls us to remember who we are. We are children of our heavenly Father God, who cares for us. If I can trust Him, why would I worry about food, clothes or my jet-setting son?

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