It seems as if everyone these days struggles with depression and anxiety, especially those of us in our teens and twenties. Almost every popular Youtuber, social media influencer, and blogger has a post or video entitled something like “My Journey with Depression and Anxiety.” While some people are actually physically diagnosed with these mental disorders, most people are not. As Christian young people, we have a choice: we can choose to be anxious and depressed, or we can choose to be joyful and peaceful.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Bible tells us that anxiety is a sin. We are commanded not to be anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6-7). As Christians, we must choose to let God’s peace reign in our hearts and minds. Likewise, depression is against the commands of the Bible. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are gifted with joy that we cannot even comprehend. In fact, one of the most repeated commands in the Bible is “rejoice!” (i.e. Phil 4:4).
The reason that the world wallows in depression and anxiety is that people are self-centered. We are discontent with our lives, distrustful of our situations, and altogether empty and hopeless. If you have ever read anyone’s story about anxiety and depression, it normally ends with something like “I learned to love myself more.” People who come out of times of struggling attribute their victory over these issues to self-love and personal success. Thus continues the downward spiral of selfishness and an altogether miserable existence which ends up exactly where it started. As Christians, we do not have to be subject to this vicious cycle. We can help it. Living by our feelings of anxiety and depression is a choice.
I could let myself be anxious and depressed. I could listen to what I feel, listen to the lies being thrown at me by Satan, listen to what the world says I am. I could choose to allow anxiety to overtake my every thought and action, and I could choose to let depression swallow me up into its deep abyss. But I don’t. I choose not to, despite the constant affirmation from the world around me that says it’s okay. Why? Because I am not subject to myself and my own feelings. I have a peace and a joy that is beyond my understanding and I am choosing to allow it to dictate my actions and feelings. I am choosing to believe the truth about myself, my life, and my future from God’s Word, which only comes from spending time reading and studying it. There has been times in my life when I have not chosen to believe these truths. There’s been times when my anxiety has affected my health, my relationships, and my overall quality of life. There’s been times that I have allowed depression to affect my choices, productivity, and even my friendships. Interestingly enough, these seasons of my life have always been devoid of time spent in prayer and in Scripture. Anytime I allow my feelings to take over is a time that I choose to turn my back on God and His truth.
I could let myself be anxious and depressed, and so could you. But you do not have to, and neither do I. God commands us to be joyful and peaceful. Choose to obey the truth of the Bible rather than the lies of the culture. Choose to be free from depression and anxiety.