It is very common for a small church youth pastor, who is trying to orchestrate a healthy youth ministry, to feel some sense of anxiety. Anxiety is not only a valid emotion, but rooted in fear, uncertainty and insecurities.
Youth pastors experience many of these unsettling emotions because we have to live in a reality of always feeling inadequate. We simply have to get use to feeling inadequate even though we are doing A LOT of ministerial duties. It is a tough reality to accept, but it is true. Our youth ministries will never be all things to all students.
The reality is that youth pastors have many roles to play. Some of these roles we are really good at and we will feel confident, collected and cool. Some of the other roles we are not good at and we will be very inexperienced in, which will produce some very anxious feelings
It is OK to feel a bit uneasy sometimes when ministering to the youth. Although it is NOT OK to let our anxiety make us become hesitant and for it to cause us to doubt our youth ministry calling. When we let anxiety get the best of us, we are letting anxiety control us.
In my experience, I believe the best cure for anxiety is action. The goal is to overcome the anxiety before it overcomes you.
How to Fight Anxiety:
First, read these Scriptures:
NAU Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
NAU Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.
NAU Luke 21:34 “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; 35 for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.
NAU 1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
We ask for help from the Holy Spirit and rely on some basic cognitive skills (thinking patterns), which can be used to confront the anxiety beast.
1. Our anxiety is sending us a message. It is imperative we identify and clarify what the anxiety is all about, simply appreciate it and find a way to change it. We have to realize, we can control our emotions. We give our emotions attention and a definition.
2. Get curious and ask God why you are experiencing anxiety. What situation/person/circumstance/deadline is causing you to feel the way you are feeling? Is your anxiety valid? Are you choosing to feel this way? In the past, did you have any experience with success? Identify the situation that is causing you to feel anxious. What is your current mood? What are some automatic thoughts (images) you are experiencing? What evidence supports your anxiety? What evidence does not support your anxiety? Is your anxiety a rational thought? How have you been in the past after a stressful situation? Have you gotten through this before? The goal is to discover evidence which does not support your anxious thought. What are some balanced thoughts that counteract your thought of anxiety? You need to write out a healthy and hopeful perspective in light of your anxious mood.
3. Get confident that God can meet you in your worried state. In the past have you been OK? Has God ever let you down before? Attempt to focus on the bigger picture rather than the immediate picture.
4. Get certain. There is nothing new under the sun. You will get through it. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. Don’t waste your time thinking about how that person disrespected you. When our life seems to be so out of control, we need to lean on the ONE who is in control. Be thankful because it really could have been worse.
A person who knows how to control his/her anxiety really does have the edge. The question is: Are we (Holy Spirit and you) letting nervousness dictate our life? Or are we (Holy Spirit and you) dictating our valid feeling of anxiety?
This article originally appeared here.