Episode 1
8 November 2021

Above Anxiety | Control

When your head starts spinning, your heart starts racing, and your hands start sweating, what do you do? Let’s examine how we can manage the anxiety in our lives before it controls us.

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good morning
awesome hey so glad to be with you if i
haven't had the chance to meet you my
name is tony i'm one of the pastors
around here and just so thrilled to be
with you today uh before we before we
jump in i want to share a little bit
about what happened uh yesterday that
they don't let me teach um students and
young kids around here so they just let
me show up for the baptisms
so at the end of fall weekend last night
um i came back and got to got to witness
and watch
10 baptisms take place uh right in the
alternative absolutely celebrate that
so over the course of our two uh fall
weekends there's some pictures from
there such a powerful powerful moment
last night
25 kids between middle school and high
school were baptized over a fall weekend
nearly 400 kids participated and we
continued to see more baptisms on
weekends as a result of what took place
on fall weekend i talk about all this
because number one the story is awesome
number two i just want to say thank you
uh it's your generosity that that makes
this happen um to be able to walk into a
space and see these lives change and
transform it's your generosity it's your
prayer it's your commitment that has
allowed us to create an environment
where these lives can be changed and
transformed and i i just don't want us
to forget
um that what we do even in our
generosity is changing and impacting
so i got to witness that last night we
want to share that with you because it's
easy to kind of forget about what our
generosity does but it is literally
changing lives and i just want to thank
you for what you do and how you impact
um those lives today we we start this
new series that uh it's kind of funny
i'm a little anxious about because um
it's on anxiety and we're not experts by
any stretch of the imagination so we
none of the teachers believe that we're
going to stand up here and give you the
the remedy to alleviate all anxiety in
your life that's not our objective uh in
this series called above anxiety
but we do want to equip you and we want
to help you um overcome the power that
sometimes anxiety has over our life so i
want to let you know some resources
if you have our 242 app on your phone if
you don't have it please download it and
if you go to the bottom where it says
next steps you click on that
there will be about three fourths of the
way down on your screen will be a thing
that says counseling if you click on
that you can find
local recommended christian counselors
in any of our communities that we have
campuses that we recommend that would be
great benefits to you because we believe
that sometimes counseling is that
necessary piece for us to wrestle with
anxiety so please use that resource also
there's this book called managing
leadership anxiety by steve cuss
you can find this on amazon where any
books are sold
we're really excited because steve cuss
is going to be with us at the conclusion
of this series to bring us the final
message of this series he is excellent
in the area of anxiety this would be a
great resource
for you
again if this is something that you deal
with you have people in your life that
deal with anxiety an awesome resource
for you and again steve's going to be
with us
here at the last week
of the series
anxiety is one of those those
interesting things that i think by and
large many of us we kind of
have a tendency to believe that we don't
necessarily have all that much but the
reality is
no matter who we are no matter how
strong we think we are
resilient we think we are
calm cool and collected we think we are
we all have anxiety in our lives now if
we had total control over all aspects of
our lives we wouldn't be anxious right i
mean but show of hands how many of you
have control over everything in your
that's what i thought so we all have
anxiety right we all wrestle with this
in some way shape or form so we start
this series called above anxiety not to
alleviate all anxiety in your lives
but to be able to handle anxiety in a
jesus glorifying biblical way so as we
get started this morning we're going to
have a kind of what we call the
introduction to this series on anxiety
is we're going to simply ask ourselves
how do we identify the anxiety in our
lives what is that what's that first
the first step to to begin to gain
control of this emotion that seeks to
control us would you pray with me this
almighty god we uh we walk into this
humbled and honored
to be loved by you to be welcomed by you
to be called your children
and god we we all walk in with our own
unique sets of worries and concerns and
anxieties and god we we offer those up
to you
and maybe today holy spirit you want to
do an amazing work with some of those
anxieties so god we
we just open up our lives for you
to do that work because today we want
to be the day that we encountered you
the today is is the day that we we walk
out of this space or we log off and
we're watching online and we're forever
changed because today we encounter the
living god
and lord we are expecting nothing less
than that it's in christ's name we pray
so let's talk about a little bit about
some definitions of what anxiety is um i
think it's good for us to understand how
anxiety shows up in our lives so i just
want to kind of real quick run through
some different types of anxiety that
show up so generalized anxiety uh
disorder this these are real concerns in
our lives many times uncontrollably
exaggerated uh feelings and sometimes
debilitating so this is the kind of
anxiety a lot of times that the
medication is necessary for to really
begin to get a grip on on anxiety this
is where counselors come in handy and
doctors and professionals
are really beneficial
the next type of anxiety is what we call
acute anxiety now acute anxiety if you
asked me about a year and a half ago i
would have said this is the only type of
anxiety i have in my life it's
short-term it's an actual threat but
you're able to calm yourself afterwards
how many of you show of hands are
a few of you yes i i'm not okay i'm
claustrophobic i was going to like hedge
i'm just claustrophobic but i also love
roller coasters
but i hate being locked in
like and not be able to have control of
my exit if you're claustrophobic you can
kind of understand this the problem is
my kids love roller coasters so so we go
to cedar point and if you go to cedar
point you know the ride the iron dragon
yeah like i grew up that was my favorite
ride ever but now that i'm in my 40s
i get in this car and i realize they're
a lot smaller than i remember
and you you get in there and the harness
comes down over you you're not getting
out like the only way you're getting out
is they have to unlock that thing and
one of my biggest fears about roller
coasters is not just being locked in
it's about not being able to get out
when it's over that's like one of my
biggest fears so this past summer we're
taking these rides and i don't remember
which child i was with at the time
because i think i might have blacked out
a little bit um i think it might have
been my son whatever
and we ride the ride and we get back
into the station and they unlock the the
harnesses and everybody's goes up except
for mine
and i and i'm sitting there i'm like
oh no and as a father you want to be
and calm and collected for your kid but
your kid knows you're claustrophobic
and he looks at me and goes
what do i do
i don't know
so so i've been like tugging on it and
in that moment like my hands get sweaty
my my heart starts to race and i just
want to throat punch someone whatever it
takes to get out of there because i just
want out it probably lasted 10 seconds
before they unlocked it it felt like an
but that's what acute anxiety is it
usually rushes in suddenly but over a
short amount of time we can get control
we can calm ourselves and we can be a
little more composed that's that's acute
anxiety and that's the type of anxiety
that pops up for a lot of us
but there's other kinds of anxiety like
grief is profound sorrow disappointment
it's often tied to deep emotions of love
and care for other people and other
things and i think often we don't we
don't think of grief as a form of
anxiety but it really is the same type
of thing that happens in our body
now again a year and a half ago i would
have told you the only kind of anxiety i
suffer from is what we call acute
until about three months ago
when i received a call from 242 offering
me the position of a lead pastor here i
was it was excited it was an awesome
opportunity great church i wanted to be
a part of
and during a season of my life that you
would have thought i would have been
just over the moon excited
i actually started feeling these
emotions i didn't understand
and it was a really hard transition for
me for about two months
and i remember the day that that my
previous church life house and fort
wayne phenomenal church
um i was going to stand in front of the
congregation and tell them that my time
as their lead pastor was coming to a
and i was getting ready that morning i
was getting ready to leave i went up to
tell my wife goodbye she was getting
ready and
and i walked in the room and as soon as
i saw her i just began to weep
and i had no idea why
and for about two months i wrestled with
feelings of depression
deep anxiety and grief in my life and i
really didn't understand what was
happening because i would just cry at
nothing and had no idea what was going
on in my life and it wasn't until i
began to meet with a counselor and
really talk about these things that i
began to discover that i was dealing
with grief for the first time in my life
and the reality is i still do
i love my job
i love being at 242 but there are still
moments that
well i still feel grief
over the loss that i had in that
because it doesn't just go away
like we continue to carry that anxiety
with this
for years at times and if you've
experienced deep grief in your life you
know what it's like to be years into the
future and still have those those
of anxiety inside of us
final type of things that we want to
talk about is chronic anxiety it's
long-term it's usually a perceived
threat and we always carry it with us
this is the type of anxiety is wake up
anxious in the morning
during that time of transition for me i
would just wake up super anxious i'd
wake up about three four o'clock in the
morning super anxious and couldn't go
back to sleep i had no idea why it was
just anxiety was grabbing a hold of me
now i think it's it's easy for us to to
talk about these types of anxieties and
as a jesus follower say well i'm not
supposed to be anxious why because the
bible tells me not to be anxious
so we've convinced ourselves that
anxiety should not be a part of our
lives if we're a jesus follower
i want to read you what jesus says in
this is a sermon on the mount in chapter
six this is how he talks about anxiety
and worry
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 than food and the body
more than clothes
and jesus goes on to continue talking
about like we shouldn't worry about
these things because the lilies in the
fields they don't worry about what they
look like but they're beautifully
dressed and the birds don't worry about
what they're going to eat like all this
stuff and like because god loves us even
more like why wouldn't he care for us
why why would we worry about these
but the reality is when you woke up this
morning many of you worried about what
you were going to wear
and the rest of you probably should have
to be honest
in a more serious note most of us here
don't worry about where our next meal is
coming from
but we live in a world where 690 million
are undernourished
and they worry about where their next
food is coming from
and yet we read this passage from jesus
that says we're not supposed to worry
and is a jesus follower we begin to
wrestle with that not understanding like
but but for some people it's a real
but now jesus tells us not to worry
about it
then we get into this this famous
passage from uh the apostle paul
as he writes in philippians chapter 4 he
says do not be anxious about anything
but in every situation by prayer and
petition with thanksgiving present your
to god now i i don't know about you
but when i read that passage i don't
feel like my anxiety has suddenly
disappeared and been alleviated in fact
i feel a little more anxious
because i read it and i say oh just one
more way i fail as a follower of jesus
here's the secret
and maybe maybe for you where you're at
in your life this is the one thing that
you need to hear today
to be human
is to carry anxiety
is a natural
and normal thing if you are anxious
you are normal
because i think what we do is we often
look at scripture we read these passages
and we say we're not supposed to be
anxious but we miss out on a couple
things that maybe aren't blatantly said
but they're definitely there
jesus was anxious
in the garden of gethsemane before his
crucifixion he's praying and he sweats
drops of blood scripture tells us now
i've been anxious i've never been that
anxious before that's a whole new level
but it's not just jesus
it's the apostle paul too
look what he says two chapters before
his command for us not to be anxious
this is what he says in the book of
philippians he says therefore
i am all the more eager to send him so
that when you see him again you may be
glad and i may have less anxiety
like he's sending this guy not just to
help them but because he wants to be
less anxious
like paul is saying he is an anxious
person too
there's also second corinthians he says
the same thing
in sacramento says besides everything
else i face daily the pressure of my
concern for the churches
you may be saying well tony concern
anxiety are different things well
they're not
the same greek word that paul uses in
second corinthians is the greek word he
uses in philippians for anxiety i don't
know why we translated concern but we do
what paul's telling us
is that he's anxious
what we see in jesus's life is he had
moments of anxiety in his life too so we
see the most influential people in the
new testament
one being more so than the other jesus
paul had anxiety
so i think it's a reminder to us that to
be human is to be anxious to be anxious
is to be normal
but the key is we don't have to be
controlled by it
we don't have to let our anxiety
control our lives in fact we can learn
to turn the tables on anxiety i want you
to think about those those big moments
of anxiety that you had in your life
imagine if rather than allowing that
emotion to control us we found a way to
control it
not alleviate it not get rid of it but
just simply
control it
imagine how that moment in your life
would have been different imagine how
your experiences would have been
the more i become aware of my anxiety
the more i've learned to ask god to come
into it
so when i was meeting with my counselor
about this depression anxiety and
everything i was experiencing i remember
when she looked at me she said tony i
just think that it's time for you to
process your grief
and i remember looking up at her and
but i don't know how to do that
because i've never had to
i've been blessed to have a life of 40
years of
okay 42 years
of no major grief in my life
and for the first time in my life
i truly felt broken
and didn't know what to do
and what i discovered
is that i was trying to do it alone
is that i thought i was strong enough
i thought i was calm enough and
collected enough
that i could handle it all by myself
and i had invited god into it
and maybe that's where in your anxiety
you're struggling
is you're just trying to handle it
by yourself
throughout this series we're going to
give you some some practical tips we
want to be really practical in this
series and give you some some tips and
some tools for you to to really deal
with and get a grip on your anxiety in
your life so i want to share maybe some
that we can begin to ask ourselves to
identify the anxiety that we carry
because we all
carry anxiety
so maybe the first question we ask
ourselves is where does it manifest
itself in our body or in our behaviors
like for me my shoulders will get tight
and my heart will begin to race a little
maybe your reaction is a little bit
maybe you get angry with the people
around you you get short with them if i
were to ask my wife
how does my anxiety show up she says you
get a little short with people sometimes
if maybe you're sitting there like like
i would have a year and a half ago and
say i don't have anxiety it's not a big
deal for me i'm pretty cool
and my kids would disagree with a cool
comment but
maybe you're like i got it all together
anxiety is not a thing for me
i encourage you go home
ask a loved one
they will tell you
and they will probably love to tell you
i'm a chomping of the bit to tell you
how your anxiety manifests itself
because oftentimes we're just blind to
it we just don't see how it plays out in
our own lives and how we show our
because again to be human is to be
anxious it is normal it is natural and
it happens to all of us even to our
so i want to take a moment speak
directly to parents
but if you have young kids is a really
important thing to have conversations
and help them work through their anxiety
so in a moment we're going to put on the
screen some questions that you can ask
your kids
and how you can engage with them and
help them understand how anxiety shows
up in their life so if you have kids
around five years of age or so these are
some questions we're gonna leave this up
for a moment i encourage you to grab
your phone take a picture of it if
you're a teacher uh if you have kids if
you're a grandparent like take a picture
of this have these questions on hand so
they're on five to eight years old these
are good questions that steve cuss the
author of the book one will be with us
at the end of the series suggests that
we ask
show me where this afraid feeling is in
your body like where is it where is it
manifesting itself
can you tell me how big or how small it
and how small would you like it to be
now we'll leave that up for a moment for
you to take a picture of it um if you'd
so these are questions that begin to
help them at that age group kind of
identify what's happening in my body
like what what's taking place within me
that indicates that something's going
something's going on inside my life
now if they're about 10 years old or so
you have a different set of questions
is worry a voice in your head
or a feeling in your body
does it hang out there all the time or
just sometimes
and can you explain or draw what it
looks like and these are good questions
for that age group to begin to to
process their emotions as a parent i
have found conversations like this to be
super helpful as we help our kids
process what's happening within them
because as they grow they don't always
understand the emotions that are
happening but here's the amazing secret
those questions
really the same questions that
counselors ask adults
so you can ask these questions of
to get a grip on and begin to understand
what's happening within us so we can
understand our anxiety
here's where the real power of all this
comes in and i think scripture talks to
this numerous times and it's this act of
it's it's giving voice to speaking truth
to the reality of our anxieties
because if we're honest with ourselves
the things that make us nervous and
we probably haven't shared it with
one because maybe we just assume because
of what we read in scripture we're not
supposed to be anxious or two maybe we
don't have the community around us to be
able to share those things
friends this is where the power of the
church is on full display
the power of the body of christ is on
full display when we're able to share
our lives with other people this is why
small groups are so important in our
some of you are part of a small group
and you know exactly what i'm talking
about you've got a group of jesus
followers around you that that pour into
you that invest in you that pray for you
that encourage you to cry with you that
celebrate with you
you know exactly what it's like to share
your anxieties with them and have people
rally around you others of you have
never experienced that before
because you've never built that
community of jesus followers around you
to help you in that journey i want to
encourage you to lean into a small group
find a group of people in your life that
you can trust that you can lean into
that can help you walk through your
because nowhere in scripture
nowhere in here there's a talk about
doing faith alone
we are meant to do faith in community
and that means we're meant to wrestle
through our anxiety in community as well
there's a man by the name of kurt
thompson said we name things
to tame things
i have a couple friends who have taught
me the one thing they learned i think it
was from a book they read that's been
really helpful for them is they named
the voice of their inner critic you know
that voice that tells you the lies about
yourself we'll talk more about this next
those lie we name it so i named mine
vladimir because vladimir sounds like a
guy that i wouldn't listen to anyway
so so it's just like you when you name
it you're like well vladimir that's just
vladimir talking
so it kind of removes that voice from
your own personality your own personhood
and in a way that works because we're
giving voice we're giving character
we're giving a reality to this this
voice that is harmful in our lives so so
kind of doing the same with our anxiety
is beneficial to speak that not only to
but to speak it to god
to hand it over to him
because have anxiety is to be normal
and jesus knew this
one of my favorite parts about this
matthew passage is how jesus concludes
it he spends all this time talking about
anxiety and this is the last verse 34.
he says therefore do not worry about
tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about
each day has enough trouble
of its own
do you know that passage tells me
you will be anxious like there are
things to be anxious about today we'll
have enough trouble just don't add
unnecessarily so
like don't don't add stuff from tomorrow
to today just worry about the things of
today even jesus acknowledges there will
be things to worry about and it's okay
and maybe for you that's what you need
to hear
it's okay to have anxiety
it's okay to be worried it's okay to be
what's not okay is to do what i tried to
do and do it alone
what's not okay is to try to handle it
without jesus
because of the power of jesus in our
lives to give us the ability
to gain control
over our anxiety
first peter 5 7 tells us cast all your
anxiety on him because he cares
for you if you look up the the term cast
the definition is to
throw with force
i love that picture
we're not just tossing it we're not just
handing it over we are throwing with
force our anxieties upon jesus as if we
do not want them to be a part of our
lives because for some of us
what we need to do is stop submitting
ourselves to the power of our anxiety
and start submitting our anxiety to the
power of jesus
and that's the step
that you need to take
is to stop doing anxiety by yourself
and start relying on the power of jesus
in your anxiety and when you do that you
can begin to join in the psalmist in
psalm 94 in this psalm
when anxiety was great within me
your consolation brought me joy
see the psalmist doesn't say when you
took away my
he says when anxiety was great within me
your consolation brought me joy
friends that's my prayer for you
throughout this entire series is you
begin to discover this power of jesus in
your life that even in the midst of
anxiety you can have joy because it
doesn't control you anymore because
you've submitted your anxiety to the
power of jesus and the power of jesus
can overcome all things
and you can live with that joy
if you submit it to him
now again throughout this series we're
going to dig more into this and how
we're we're able to do this but i don't
know what your anxiety is today
maybe for you you've got this this big
meeting coming up
or maybe for you there's
there's tension in your marriage or in
your household or in some other
or maybe you just carry anxiety in
general in your life and you just
you've never surrendered it to jesus
because you've never taken the step of
just being honest with yourself
that you're anxious
so maybe today your step is that
maybe today the big step for you is a
simple step
and it's simply acknowledging your
to the god
who has the power to overcome it all
because to be human
is to be anxious
it's normal
but it doesn't have to control you
we can submit our anxiety to the power
of jesus
and we can live differently because of
would you pray with me
lord we are thankful
that anxiety
is not our story
you are
we are thankful that we do not have to
be controlled by anxiety
our anxiety can be controlled by you
holy spirit i just i just feel
that in this space there are some of us
who have never given voice
to our anxiousness
god i think
i think that's what you want us to do
so these next few moments in worship
today lord just
would you whisper into our ear
to remind us to bring to our attention
the anxiety that we need to cast
upon you
because lord we don't want to live there
we want to be above anxiety
we want your power
to overcome
all of our worry
and all of our anxiousness
so that we can live with anxiety in a
way that glorifies god
it's in christ's name we pray

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