The Bible and Mental Health: Anxiety

Few things affect people’s mental health as badly as anxiety. 

Though it may show in more ways than one, anxiety is essentially about losing control. Jesus knew this.

'This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn't life worth more than food? And isn't the body worth more than clothes? Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren't you worth much more than birds?' Matthew 6.25-26

Most people in his day lived precarious lives, from hand to mouth, without government furlough pay schemes. So why on earth would he expect them not to be anxious?

True to form, Jesus uses a radical image to turn the way we view the world on its head: what makes us think we were ever in control of anything? So why worry about losing something we never had in the first place?

And crucially, life, according to Jesus, is bigger than our physical existence and our anxiousness to preserve it. The essence of being human, our worth that separates us from birds, lies in the fact that we were created for a special relationship with God: the Father in heaven who cares for his children.

 

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