Responsibility vs. need to control: How to find balance

These days, I find anxiety in this country to quite an alarming epidemic. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1% of American adults suffer from an anxiety disorder. This ranks anxiety disorder as the most common mental illness. There are some solid theories and research out there to help explain why that is so.

I would like to provide some insight of my own from past research and personal experience. In America especially, we place great emphasis on individuality and personal freedom of expression, personal responsibility, etc. While not necessarily harmful within of itself, this worldview the potential to cause issues.

The issues arise because we, as is a human problem across cultures, tend to become imbalanced in our worldviews. If you believe that you are ultimately the controlling force for everything in your life, you may feel empowered. However, that is a major burden of responsibility to carry as well. If you are laid off, you might say “I should have worked harder”. If a loved one dies you might say “If only I had been there I would’ve done something”.

The problem is, maybe it was not your performance or your lack of presence that cause those respective adverse situations. The company maybe had a decline in profit and had to make cuts, or your loved one had an incurable illness. In either situation, you had no control and could not have gained such control (unless you are God which is who we think we are at times). Please, do not take this as a means to slack off. Your performance does matter at work, and caring for loved ones is important. To blame external forces for every misfortune is becoming imbalanced in the other direction (something also that is becoming prevalent in the US).

The goal should be wise discernment between what I can do and can control and what I can not do or control. Life circumstances are caused by both. Hurricanes can come, stocks markets crash and loved ones just get sick for no reason. On the flip side, people can choose to be apathetic, cruel or excuse themselves from exercising sound judgment. Both sets of phenomena affect the life happening around them. I implore you today to seek the wise counsel of God and his trusted servants. Ask him to reveal to you what actions or lack thereof you should take in situations going on right now and to be with you in the midst of it. He was with Daniel in the lions’ den, the Israelites in the wilderness and even the obstinate Jonah in the belly of the great fish. He is with you today.

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad~ Proverbs 12:25

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