Tom’s Midweek Greeting
Crossroads Community Church
June 13, 2018
“Stressed out” is a term quite a few of us use to describe our lives. “I’m stressed out,” or just, “I’m stressed.”
I wonder if “anxiety” is a term that substitutes well for “stress.” When we’re stressed, we’re usually anxious about something. I was reading in Proverbs today, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down” (Proverbs 12:25). Isn’t that true? Our hearts are weighed down from anxiety, from stress.
How to get that weight off? Is it possible in these days to live with some degree of freedom from stress and anxiety?
Last summer I read a little book with a long title: I’m Not Supposed To Feel Like This: A Christian Self-Help Approach To Depression and Anxiety. We all have a feeling that “stressed out” is not how we’re supposed to be feeling! The authors of this book give some helps toward change by pointing out some false ways of thinking which contribute to our problem with anxiety and stress. Specifically, they gave the following ten false ways of thinking. See if one or more of them might be a pattern of thinking you’ve adopted in your own life, perhaps without realizing it.
1. False extremes: You evaluate your personal qualities in extreme all-or-nothing categories. Shades of gray do not exist when it comes to evaluating yourself. “I’m no good at this. I can’t do anything right. I’m so stupid.”
2. False Generalizations: When an unpleasant outcome occurs, you assume this will always be the outcome to that particular situation.
3. False Filters: You pick out the negative in every situation and think about it alone, to the exclusion of everything else. (In fact, there are almost always some positive things to pick out of any situation.)
4. False Transformation: You don’t ignore positive experiences, but you disqualify them. “That was a fluke. That only happened because ….”
5. False Mind Reading: You think you can always tell what someone else is thinking about you. Usually you assume those thoughts about you are negative ones.
6. False Fortune-Telling: You feel strongly that things will turn out badly, rather than that they will turn out well. You expect catastrophe.
7. False Lenses: You view your fears and mistakes through a magnifying glass. You magnify those and minimize the positives.
8. False Feelings-Based Reasoning: You tend to take your emotions as the truth. You let feelings determine the facts.
9. False “Shoulds”: You let your life be dominated by “shoulds” and “oughts,” heaping pressure upon yourself and leading to unattainable standards. The result: frustration and resentment.
10. False Responsibility: You assume responsibility – and blame yourself – for negative outcomes, even when there is no basis for doing so.
It surprised me how many of these little thought habits I had adopted in my life. I believe these are patterns that do contribute to a higher level of stress and anxiety in our lives.
In contrast, God invites us to be renewed in our thinking. He invites us to know things in a different way. Consider the following:
• We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6, NLT)
• Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11, NASB)
• And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
• For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)
• For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
That last verse is from Philippians which is the subject of our Wednesday night home group study this month. I hope you’ll join the Home Group tonight at 6:30 pm at Shane and Angi Dahmer’s house (directions below).
Let’s remember today that in Jesus Christ we find everything we need to enjoy life. The themes of the four letters Paul wrote from prison tell us this:
• Philemon – forgiveness
• Colossians – wisdom
• Ephesians – wealth
• Philippians – joy
I found two antidotes to anxiety this morning:
First, in the completion of Proverbs 12:11 – “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, … but a good word makes it glad.” Watch and listen for the “good words” God will send you today. And, do you have a good word to give to someone else? A helpful, encouraging word? It might be just the thing that’s needed to unburden a weighed-down heart.
Second, in Philippians, we’re told that prayer and thankfulness are antidotes to anxiety: “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” (Philippians 4:6-7).
I hope you’ll plug in to Home Group tonight. I think you’ll find an abundance of good words, prayer, and thankfulness there.
Shane and Angi’s: contact us for directions.
Worship at 10:00 at the Y.
“What is a Christian?” — Acts 25 & 26
Thank you to everyone who gave an extra helping hand last Sunday while I was gone! Thanks to Dave Wood for his good message.
• for the Bible Camp at Riverside Cowboy Church this week
• for Elena Rodriguez and her missions trip to Costa Rica
• for those serving children and young people at Crossroads
• for our Cottey students while they’re away this summer
• thanks for people who want to “be the church”
See you soon!