3 minute read
Often times as a Christian and college student I find myself caught in contention with emotions that don’t reflect Christ or his gospel. I find myself reacting to my feelings of anxiety*, depression*, anger, and jealousy. These frustrations are all relatively prevalent in our modern culture and most would actually write the significance of them off as entirely trivial. However as an authentic, believing follower of Christ, it’s important to address these frustrations and understand the idea that when we walk in these things, we are walking in sin.
It is in our inherent nature as human beings to surrender to the tendencies of our fleshly desires. That being said, it is okay to experience these frustrations. On this side of Heaven, it’s impossible not to. I am not talking about experiencing these frustrations in one singular moment, I mean to consider the act of consistently dwelling on them. Let’s unearth the truth of that which has so easily entangled us.
This is a lot of content to squeeze into what I am attempting to make short and reader-friendly. So in many areas where I could go in-depth, I won’t. Let’s just avoid the useless rambling and jump straight into the root causes of our frustrations.
The root of anger stems from guilt, past hurts, impatience, and unachieved goals.
We become angry when we are reminded of the things in our pasts that we are ashamed of. Sometimes this comes in the form of a joke from a friend or an intentional provocation from a sibling. Either way, it is hurtful and arouses the anger from within us. Another root of anger is found in previous hurts that we have endured. Non-physical wounds from others can be more painful than any wound we could receive physically. We have been lied to, cheated against, used, left, betrayed, you name it… And often when we come into contact with the individual who has hurt us, we can easily be overcome by anger. Lastly, our impatience leads us to anger. We are an impatient people who are easily annoyed. This means that often times we are impatient with a particular person or group of people and how they are or how they act. This in turn leads to annoyance which subsequently produces anger.
The root of jealousy is entitlement, selfishness, and pride.
What is jealousy but a result of overwhelming selfish desire? Often times we think we deserve something and become wrongfully entitled. When someone receives something that we think we deserve, we are overcome by jealousy. Additionally, we are arrogant in how we perceive ourselves. Many times think we are good enough to do certain tasks or do them on our own. When we fail at said task, or perhaps someone finishes before we do, we become jealous of their success.
The root of anxiety is distrust and disbelief.
We fear for our future. We are anxious over what will happen after/when _____ fill in the blank. This is simply not trusting in the Lord’s plan for our lives. We don’t trust that His plan is good, and we don’t believe that it is in His perfect timing.
The root of depression stems from a lack of contentment.
Too often we compare ourselves to others and thus hold ourselves to unrealistic standards. We convince ourselves that we should look this way, we should act like that. We need to make this grade or get this job or this role. Not meeting the impossible standards we have given ourselves can cause a spiral towards depression and unhappiness.
We should never write these off as normal behaviors. In the eyes of the Creator, when we walk in these things we are walking in sin. As Christians we are called to live radically authentic lives. This standard that Christ has set for us is so much higher than the standards our society has set. Galatians 5:19-21 says:
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
My challenge to you, believing follower of Christ, is this: Spend some time examining your own life and heart. What are the frustrations you are struggling with? Maybe it isn’t one of the few I have mentioned, maybe it’s one that the above scripture mentions, or maybe it’s totally different. Whatever it is, I encourage you to find what frustrations you struggle with, and prayerfully consider what the roots are of your own frustrations.
*I should be sensitive and careful when referring to anxiety and depression as they are very real psychological disorders and I do not mean to degrade or make light of them in any way. However, the ways I am referring to them is not the diagnosed disorder, simply synonymous adjectives of “desolation” and “apprehension”.