When I was in the twenties many years ago, I came across a person I’ll call “Jimmy” who had a 9-to-5 type of job. Jimmy told me once that when he got home from work, he had so much energy balled up inside of him that he had to either hit the gym or hit the bar for a bunch of beers. Both would help to diffuse his energy.
After reflecting on what he called energy, I realized he may have been dealing with anxiety. His anxiety over his job stresses, coworkers, bills, and more may have led to his need to quell his “energy” by switching his focus to another activity (i.e., working out or drinking). Obviously, exercise is a healthy outlet for releasing one’s anxiety, while drinking is not.
We all deal with anxieties to an extent and the coping mechanisms we use can be life-altering. At the heart of bad habits or addictions is often anxiety, whether at the surface-level in one’s daily interactions and stresses, or at the existential-level, when we ponder our purpose and meaning. Why are we here? Is there more to life than this?
Anxiety is defined in the Google dictionary as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., which impact 18.1 percent of the population or 40 million adults annually. These disorders develop from a variety of complex risk factors, such as one’s personality, brain chemistry, life events, and genetic dispositions.
I have worked since 2002 as a university educator in two colleges of business in the United States. I’ve taught a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, which include human resource management, leadership, corporate social responsibility, interpersonal skills and business communication, cross-cultural relations, international business, and management essentials. I would group all of these under the title of “human capital leadership.” Since 2016, I have been the director of a coaching program in my university’s Center for Leadership where we pair MBA students with professional coaches and trained community leaders.
Based on these experiences, I have been privy to the academic and extracurricular experiences of numerous students from varying walks of life who’ve faced highs and lows. The most resilient have thrived, while others have succumbed to sometimes overwhelming challenges. These challenges are often balled up within people as inner anxieties, which some don’t even realize they have. Observations of people’s lifestyles may betray these inner anxieties, which may manifest in the form of self-destructive behaviors.
I’ve learned the most resilient are purpose-driven, thankful, and serene people of high integrity and a strong desire to serve others. Many are servant leaders in our communities. They’ve often overcome great challenges in their lives, which have only made them stronger. They walk in the way of the greatest leader to ever walk the earth, Jesus Christ, who guides their days and directs their paths.
Becoming a Christian necessitates learning more about Jesus Christ in a deep, complex, highly educational and enriching process. Souls are built and shaped to appreciate self-sacrifice and bearing our own crosses. Like grapes, we’re nourished in the truth so we flourish on God’s vine. The love of the Holy Spirit fills the voids in our lives and becomes ever more present within our hearts and minds as we learn and grow.
Once one is born again into Christianity and his eyes are opened to the truths in this world, the world becomes a very different place. We come to realize that everything we do and everyone we encounter are part of God’s plan for us and for the world. He calls on us to be “all in,” letting those fair-weather fans or those who reject Him go their own ways. Christianity is for those who have the courage to let God work through them to make the world a better place.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Once we give ourselves to Christ, our anxieties start to lessen. The day-to-day hassles of life seem trivial to the big picture of our eternal well-being. Perhaps for these reasons, we witnessed Peter and Jesus’ early disciples rejoicing after being beaten and singing in the prisons. They knew this life is but a speck of sand on the beach of heaven.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Knowledge of Jesus Christ helps to quell those inner anxieties, fears, doubts, and worries that shape so many of our lives. Jesus’ love helps to renew and revive our spirits to fulfill our God-given potential.
Thank you for your time.
This writing is from a new book I’m currently drafting, which is entitled “The Power of One.” Keep posted for updates.
 Philippians 4:6
 Matthew 11:28-30