24/7/365 GROW

Stress, Fear, Worry, Anxiety

                   Had a powerful night with the youth last night.  Spent time in Mathew 6 looking at the red letters.  Jesus talking about NOT WORRYING.  Starting in verse 25, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  IF that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will ne not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  There is always something powerful to me about the red letters.  Everytime I hang out in God’s Word I allow myself to paint a mental picture of what is happening.  When the red letters come into my life, Jesus talking to his disciples, to me, I envision him in a leather recliner in a living room talking to me.  Its relaxed and calm.  His words are strong, yet loving.  He helps me understand my weaknesses and calls me to a place of greater trust. 

                    Our topic of stress, fear, worry, and anxiety struck a chord with many of the kids last night.  It was a serious time.  I told them about my life and my struggles.  There aren’t a lot of people who know of my recent battles with anxiety.  I decided this week that the kids needed to know about it.  The kids needed to know that they weren’t alone in their struggles.  Over the last 5 years I have been battling stress and anxiety.  Over the last year it blew up in my face with panic attacks.  It was hard to admit to myself that something wasn’t right and that the physical symptoms were stress related.  It has been even harder to talk about with other people.  I had wanted to keep it a secret.  I didn’t want people to know about this weakness and this struggle.  I felt I had to be a STRONG person in ministry who had things in his life together.  Talking about it though brings healing.  Reading about what God has to say about Stress brings healing.  Knowing that you are not alone and that you have a Savior to lift you up brings healing.  The encouragement of your brothers and sisters in Christ brings healing.  As Christians it is ok that we deal with stress.  What is not ok is NOT DEALING with it.  What is not ok is NOT LOOKING at what God’s Word tells us about it.  14 months ago I stood before our youth at Resurrection 2009 and said to them, “the battle that is, ‘Walking With Christ,’ is real.  And Satan can’t have you!”   In the last year I’ve had to put those words into practice in my own life in saying that, “Satan can’t have me!” 

                       I had youth and parents talking to me after UMYF last night.  Some felt as though I was talking SPECIFICALLY to them.  Some kids thought I had been talking to their parents (I hadn’t).  It was a real and powerful subject.  Statistics show that our generation of young people today are more stressed out than any generation before them.  Yet somehow we allow much of the discussion on these things to stay behind closed doors or to not be happening at all.  That has to change…because Satan can’t have our young people.  How do you feel about this topic?  Are you stressed out?  Are you dealing with it?  Are you open to talking about it?  Leave a comment so that people know that they are not alone.  As brothers and sisters in Christ we stand together!  Have a blessed Monday!

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