We have been talking about violence in the world today in my last 2 posts and I must admit, it can be very overwhelming and hard to remain positive or hopeful with new reports of violence daily. We know more about what is happening in our local communities, our nation, and around the world, but unfortunately, most of that news entails some type of disorder or bloodshed. Most of us wonder if violence is on the rise, or if technology merely allows us to see more of what happens around the world. Personally, I don’t know, but I do believe that the more we know, the heavier our hearts may feel the weight of such pain and injustice.
photo: eye-for-ebony – Unsplash
Solomon encountered this dilemma in his quest for understanding wisdom, madness and folly, and eventually concluded it was futile: “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow: the more knowledge, the more grief.” Eccl 1:18
He looked at everything that was happening in the world at that time, tried desperately to understand it, but could not. In fact, the more he knew, the greater his frustration. “What is twisted cannot be straightened, what is lacking cannot be counted.” Eccl 1:15
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Keeping up with current events can be frightening. There are new reports of violence, murder, abuse, and devastation each and every day. Sensational stories receive the most attention and to an alert and watching child, they may cause fear and anxiety in their young, impressionable mind.
I recognized this when my oldest had to prepare a current events project two years ago which she chose to do on ISIS. As we read a few articles together and discussed the information, she asked me, “Mom, are they coming here?” Will they come for us? ISIS, was after all, in the headlines for their latest string of beheadings of Christians, westerners, and non-converts.
And today, we hear new stories of mass shootings nearly every week… Lord give us strength…
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Recently, another heartbreaking event occurred. A church massacre left 26 dead and 20 more wounded. And now there has been another school shooting. And unfortunately, we can probably expect more.
We take to social media with comments like, “What do we tell our children? How do we keep them from thinking this is “normal” with new reports of violence, hatred, rioting, etc with each new week?”
Before we address this with our children, we must address this with ourselves. How are we interpreting what is happening all around us? As a Christian, I turn to the Bible to help adjust my view, my perspective on things happening in the world. If I only look from the ground level, I can be filled with fear and hopelessness. I look around and see senseless violence, hatred, and discord, and tremble in fear for my self and my family. But when I pull back to the bigger picture, with a different perspective I find understanding, power, and hope.
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Both women had experienced inexplicable pain in life. Margaret was angry and bitter over yet another divorce and had accepted that her only recourse was to toughen up and protect herself. She became demanding, paranoid, and quite lonely, not to mention, an extraordinarily difficult co-worker. Most could guess that her caustic personality was the result of many hurts and betrayals she had suffered in relationships both professional and personal.
Grace was sexually abused by her father for over a decade despite her reporting this abuse to the one person she could trust, but who had ultimately failed to protect her— her own mother.
Anxiety Disorders affect roughly 40 million Americans according to the National Institute of Mental Health and women are 60% more likely to experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime than men. This means that anxiety disorders (Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Phobias, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) affect roughly one out of every five adults!
Statistics indicate that you or someone you know will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in life.
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In my last post, I wrote that anxiety is often rooted in the false belief that we can/should be able to do everything on our own- but the realization that we cannot possibly control every circumstance, nor can we have complete confidence in our own strength, abilities, efforts, or relationships— creates tension. This tension may motivate us toward greater effort and discipline, but also may produce fear and anxiety we cannot manage properly.