Today Pastor Ed began a sermon series called "How to Deal with How You Feel," and the beginning sermon covered Stress and Anxiety.
In talking about feelings, there are two dangers to avoid.
1) Ascribing omnipotence to our emotions, giving them final say.
This causes us to make bad decisions and draw faulty conclusions.
2) Denying our emotions.
On the one hand, emotions seem to be unavoidable, on the other hand, we try to avoid them at all costs.
When we deny our emotions, we exhaust ourselves, and we ultimately fail. Emotions can't really be denied.
A beautiful Scriptural text for dealing with this is Philippians 4:4-13.
If you suffer from anxiety, you're in good company, but you're not in a good place.
The opposite of anxiety is peace.
The Nature of Peace:
1) The sense of being protected. "...guard your hearts and your minds..."
"I have learned to be content." This is not bridled to circumstances. Peace doesn't mean everything's going to go well.
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." I can make it through any circumstance.
How do we get it?
1) Present your requests to God.
Confess it -- embrace it. God, help!
This is the Old Testament language of sacrifice. Give the burden to God. Make it his.
I no longer own this. You do.
2) Be thankful to God.
"Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction."
God does bring good out of everything. There's always a reason to thank him.
3) Change your thinking.
"...think about such things."
When joy is based on youth and possibilities, it's fragile indeed.
4) Be vigilant in this!
Matthew 26:41 -- This is the opposite of denial. Notice your emotions. We need to identify our triggers and get to know the early warning signs. Don't surrender to your own funk cycle.
5) Pursue community.
Saying a support group is healthy is like saying a car runs on gasoline. We are built for community.
At our groups, we may need to talk about our anxiety every time we meet. That's okay.
Hebrews 3:13 -- We are to encourage one another daily, as long as it's called today. Anxiety hardens us.
And finally, The Secret: All of this happens "in Christ."
Do you have comments about the message? Insights? Reactions? Please respond in the comments!