2. A Fear of Expression and Confession
Hand-in-hand with perfectionism, the second leading reason for anxiety in teens stems from a fear of expression and confession.
Expression is the ability to express oneself in a free and open manner without fear of rejection. Confession is the process of telling someone that you did something wrong, and for the Christian, that means asking God with a repentant heart for the forgiveness of your sins.
Although my parents and I had a very close relationship growing up, I was often fearful of sharing how I felt because I knew that my siblings were already causing enough drama for the entire family. While I do not say that to throw them under the bus, I realize that my fear of perfectionism and not measuring up inherently led to an inability to be honest and open with my family. Not only did I place the pressure on myself, but I believed the lies Satan fed me about myself and how they would react to my struggles.
If Satan can get you to believe that your struggles need to be hidden, fear of expression or confession will follow suit. Remember, John 10:10 reminds us that the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus has come to bring life to the fullest.
The Passion Translation writes it this way: "A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow" (John 10:10, TPT).
The Greek word thuo is not the usual word for "kill" in modern translations like the NIV. It means "sacrifice" or "slaughter." That is what happens to our teenagers when they feel as if they can't share or be open about their struggles; they live a slaughtered life of shame, torment, anxiety, and fear.
Children who do feel comfortable being themselves and sharing their sufferings with caregivers are much less likely to suffer from anxiety and feeling alone. Parents who share their burdens, sorrows, and sins with children in a non-condemning but accepting, loving, patient, and understanding way will bring peace and comfort to their child's soul.
James 5:16 of the New International Version writes, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (James 5:16, NIV).
As important as it is that kids feel safe, loved, and respected in their homes, they often long to feel accepted even amid their struggles and sins. There is an old Scottish Proverb that says confession is good for the soul and brings healing. But even better is the soul that finds rest in knowing their Heavenly Father accepts them, and their earthly guardians will do the same.
How Perfectionism Affects Your Mental Health
The Many Faces of Perfectionism
Anxiety and Depression in Children
When You Want More of Jesus. Is Confession Good for the Soul?.
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