In the fall of my senior year at Denver Lutheran High, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. My family and I were shocked, scared, and confused. Suddenly the certain future we all took for granted was full of questions, and they no longer concerned what dress I would wear to Homecoming. Instead, it was: what treatment will she need? Will it be painful? How much will it cost? What will it do to her body? How will it affect our family and her work? And scariest of all, will she make it through?
I’m going to ask a question. Instead of responding immediately, be still for a few moments and reflect on the feelings it stirs up.
Have you ever felt inadequate?
What do you feel?
What memories have been dredged up?
What kind of conversation are you having with yourself or God in this moment?
As you settle into this semester at Lutheran High, whether you’re a new freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, there are so many opportunities laid out before you like an all-you-can-eat buffet: classes, friends, clubs and activities, sports, jobs, college applications…the list goes on and on.
Now I know a lot of you are scared with starting the new school year. For some of you, it’s your freshman year and you’re gonna be here for the next four years. You know, I remember my first day in this town...
The title of this article is not, “How to Avoid Anxiety” because that’s impossible this side of heaven. Anxiety disorders affect one in four youth over their lifetime, and it’s the most common disorder for youth to face in childhood and adolescence. While some of us will never have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, we all face anxious, fearful, worrying feelings at different points.
My kids and I recently watched a powerful story about baby animals in a Disney Nature film called “Growing Up Wild.” One of the babies, a monkey, lived within a troop of fifty monkeys that, by nature, heavily depend on a social class system. If a monkey is born into a good family, it gets the best food and the best chance at survival. If a monkey is in the lowest of classes, it sadly doesn’t fare well.
It seemed like it would never get here during all the May snow, but summer is finally arrive! After a long year of studying, training, teaching and working, you’ve earned a new swimming suit and some relaxation in the sun.
If you’re a human being, you’ve faced fear. Maybe it was on the basketball court or before performing a solo on stage. Maybe it was during a difficult conversation with a friend, applying for college or standing up to peer pressure.
I saw Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris for the first time while on a Denver Lutheran High tour of Europe. It was nineteen years ago that our group adventured through London, Paris, Rome, Versailles and the Amalfi Coast, and it was a trip I’ll never forget.
“It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak...like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” --C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory