A new year and a really new resolution
So, what about it?! What if you pushed past all the “coats” in the wardrobe and found yourself standing at the lamppost? What if all those coats represented the typical things that you and others consider quitting when a new year begins. Many of us begin making resolutions as the ball finishes it’s descent and the Two Thousand and Whatever Year sign lights up. There’s no doubt that quitting things like smoking, over-eating, procrastinating and stealing pennies out of fountains are good things (I wondered why my wishes just never seemed to come true), but what if the thing that lay beyond the back of the wardrobe was something like fear, or anxiety, or the perpetual urge to freak out. What if you pushed past the things that are so often surface symptoms of a deeper disease? In our first series of this brand new year, we’d like to challenge you with the notion that you really could quit fearing, worrying and feeling like you were on the edge of freaking out. So, what about it? Will you watch and read and consider this with us?!
It’s a Control Thing
Over the next three weeks, we’re going to consider some root conditions that all of us battle and most of us succumb to. This week, in our challenge to you to quit fearing, I’d suggest that it really boils down to a single thing … control. Some of us are more aware of the battle than others, but we all struggle to a degree with control, and control is at the root of fear. We’ve all felt it, right? You’re driving down the road feeling pretty good. The sun’s shining, the roads are clear, there’s a few other cars ahead of and behind you. Then you begin noticing the traffic is picking up and you begin to feel a bit uncomfortable. Then weather develops and you begin noticing what was just a wet surface has changed over to ice. Your stress level rises and you become anxious and before long your hands begin to ache because you’ve held the steering wheel with a death grip for too long. Fear and anxiety develop almost naturally out of the reality of losing control.
So here’s some truth the Bible speaks into this “natural” occurrence.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
You’ve got to watch this week’s video. About nine minutes and thirty seconds into the video, there’s a physical exercise that I believe you’d find beneficial in beginning to understand what this verse really calls us to do. Our fears and anxieties are so often like pieces of paper that get crumpled up and compressed and twisted and we so often just hold onto them or stick them in our pockets where they accumulate and cause increasing discomfort. What Peter is challenging us to do is to toss them to God. Let them go, air dribble them and practice your jump shot, cast them on God.
This act of casting is so much more than just getting rid of your fears, throwing them off on someone else. When casting is true and right and done properly, we engage with God in a way that requires trust. We learn more about him in the activity of casting; and not casting as one would do when fishing. God does not want us to cast our cares out into His deep and then begin reeling them back in again. He wants the air dribble and jump shot method, where you take the shot and then turn and flee the fears and leave them with God.
That’s the kind we put on posters
There’s another verse that speaks great truth into this challenge to quit fear. It’s the kind of verse we put on posters. It’s probably in the top 10 of verses posted on Facebook, but please don’t let the potential for cliché distract you from the fundamental goodness in this verse.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do not be anxious about anything … Oh, how we long for that to be true. But in our doubting, could we just for a moment allow the truth of anything being possible with God to stick its foot in the door? Present our requests to God, cast our cares on Him. These things are right and good and absolutely carry with them the promise of peace. Not the promise of the kind of peace we so often experience or settle for, but rather the very peace of God.
What an incredible possibility! When we feel anxious, when the cares of this life begin to burden us, we have a God who WANTS us to let go of all of it and give every bit of it to Him. Cast. Pray. Peace. (sounds like a good title for a sequel) As ridiculous as it might sound to you, it’s every bit as possible. He promises it. It’s now our choice to do it.
Is it even possible to live without fear? ABSOLUTELY! But here’s the thing , and it’s the “thing” at the root of fear. We cannot have this peace and victory over fear without giving up control. I’d like to challenge you this week to have this phrase on your mind and repeat it as often as it comes to mind:
My name is _______________ and I live with a misguided sense of control.
I’ll leave you with a vivid picture of biblical truth concerning the proper mindset for giving up control. If you desire to live free and free of fear, allow the words of these next two passages to soak into your soul and be your guide…
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
Evil?! All such boasting is evil?! That is a very strong word. Why does Peter speak in such strong language when it comes to our plans? Because every step we take in the direction of our own plans, is a step we take away from God’s. Walk increasingly close to Him, seek His heart, cast your cares and present your requests … and find and live with His peace. It’s ABSOLUTELY possible!