We talked about worry and anxiety and how Jesus simply said not to do it. At the same time we were honest in dealing with the fact that worry and anxiety attack us all, and sometimes the attack can be overwhelming. “Shrug it off” is not always possible to pull off… sometimes the situation seems so hopeless we can’t see a way out.
But there is most definitely a way out.
Jesus is the simple, easy answer. Many people would even get mad at me for saying, “Jesus is ALWAYS the answer”, but the truth is… I believe HE is THE answer.
Do you trust Jesus for your salvation? Do you trust that Jesus died on a cross for your sins and rose again 3 days later and will be there to welcome you into eternity whenever “your time” comes? If so, why is THAT not an “easy” answer? Seems “Jesus is the answer” is good enough for your eternal well being, but not for your stress?
Now if you come to the end of that statement and say, “yes, that’s how it seems. I trust Jesus died for me and eternity is settled, but it’s hard for me to give the same easy answer to my stress” I have good news for you… You are not alone!
One of the things I failed at this Sunday was to spend adequate time on what we do when we are stressed out. What we do when anxiety is turning into depression, and that depression is killing you.
If your stressed, worried, anxious, depressed… the chances are you are way too focused on the wrong things.
Shift your focus!
We read in Luke 12 how Jesus said not to worry and to put our attention on “The Kingdom of God and His righteousness” and all the things we are worrying about will be added to us… essentially Jesus said they will be taken care of eventually. So how do you shift our focus in times of stress and anxiety.
Some people choose to cover it up, ignore it away, drink it away, drug it away, etc. My question, if that is you… how is that going for you?
I spent my time years ago trying to drink away my problems, ignoring that my life was falling apart in every direction. I even ran to Alabama to get a “fresh start” and found that all of my problems and worries followed me there. It wasn’t until Jesus came into my life, showed me a better way, and helped me focus on things worth my attention that I began to see a difference in my life as it related to worry and anxiety.
Read Phil 4:6-9
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Essentially some people will tell you to pray about everything and that will make it better. While this is full of truth and I believe prayer is one of the best ways to shift your focus and think on the right things as this verse says, I believe verse 9 is the key for long-term relief from stress and anxiety… we must PUT INTO PRACTICE what we are learning from our time in prayer and with Jesus to realize the God of peace is walking with us even in the middle of stressful situations.
See, we can pray about the things that have us worried, but all to often those things don’t go away. They might get better, stop getting worse, etc… but the entire situation is not likely to turn around in a 180 the second you pray. It could… but if it doesn’t then you and I have to find ways to be at peace in the midst of the storm. When all is not right with the world, can we stand strong even though stress and worry are calling our name?
So we pray about everything, practice what we know to be true, and shift our perspective!
Change your perspective. Change your focus. We all have things to stress about, and we all have things to rejoice about. Which will you focus on? That my friends is up to you and me! Do we focus on what crushes us, or will we focus on the things that lift us up? Focus on all thats wrong with today, or find the things that are right with today and feed that thought to our souls?
What do you read? What are you listening to? What are you watching? Philippians 4 is asking us what are we thinking of?
What has earned the right to rent space in your head? If it’s not something you want there… its time to send and eviction notice and kick that punk out of your head! You get to decide what lives and dies in your head! So what’s it going to be?
It’s your move!
Make it count!