I met with a young woman this week who I hadn’t visited with for a few years. Previously, I led a small group she attended regularly.
She’s grown into an articulate, thoughtful and beautiful high school senior.
We talked and caught up on the past four years of girl drama and sad circumstances. This young woman has lost 3 friends to suicide in the past year! It hurts my heart to even type that. Why are we losing our promising youth at such alarming rates? I know…that’s a complicated question that draws many conclusions depending on who you ask.
When we spoke about her present day to day, she seemed to say all the right things.
Dealing With Anxiety
I asked, “How do you deal with anxiety?”
She said, exercise and yoga, service work at church, reads her Bible and stays away from her phone. CHECK! These are all great answers and suggestions I give to clients. She continued to tell me how she and her friends have chosen to abstain from drugs and alcohol and find fun and laughter in other ways.
Further, she is applying to colleges and is excited to pursue a Business Management major.
It sounded like she has it all figured out right? At 17, I was thinking “Wow, she’s making better decisions and has more clarity than a lot of people my age.”
But something still seemed to weigh heavy on her, and I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was, so I kept listening.
Worry Steals Our Joy
Then when we were finishing our time together, I asked how I could pray for her. And then she said it…WORRY.
That dreaded word that creeps in and steals the joy in our present moments.
She said she worries about her class load (schedule hasn’t graduated yet), what college she will attend (applications not due yet), social media (someone always looks better) and making the right life decisions.
Focus on the Present
After we prayed together, we talked about how yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet and all we have right now is the present. That is why it is a gift.
All the experiences we go through whether happy or sad are preparing us for the journey ahead. If we believe the words in Jeremiah 29:11 about the hopes and plans God has for our future, then we needn’t fret over our circumstances.
The world we live in today is difficult to maneuver at any age, but especially the fast pace and pressures put on our young people by society, parents and themselves.
Pause and Take Stock
I want to encourage you to pause when worry starts to creep in.
Take stock of what you can control and what you can’t, say a prayer, take deep breaths, look for the beauty around you, think happy thoughts, watch a funny video. The list can go on if you find the right perspective and can give yourself grace to know you can get through the next 5 seconds and then the next 5, and then the next… You’ve got this!
Let me know if I can help. I’d love to meet for coffee and hear more about what may be weighing heavy in your life right now.