Thursday, July 31, 2008

the 21 day challenge: finding peace in a worried world

It’s taken me much longer than I had planned to get something posted about Week 2 of the 21 Day Challenge.
But, I am not going to worry about that.

Some thoughts from the July 27 message, Finding Peace in a Worried World.
  • In remembering our theme verse, Philippians, 4:6: Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to God, supplication means giving our worries over to the will of God and with thanksgiving we have a spirit of gratitude.
  • Worry is a habitual mistrust in God that keeps us from reaching the potential God has placed in us.
  • We live in a nation of abundant resources. Some may think we have very little to worry about. But it seems the more we have the more we wait for the other shoe to drop, the more we stand to lose.
  • Peace is a gift and blessing.
  • Not everything in life is good, but God is always at work for our good.
  • God is standing guard.
  • Overcome worry with the peace of God.
  • Overcome worry with the God of peace.

Some scripture tools:

Honestly, I don’t know how well I am doing with this breaking the habit of worry thing. I’ve committed Philippians 4: 6 to memory. I’ve looked it up in different translations and I really like the New Living Translation.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

The wristband is a good reminder. And I’m not a big wristband person. But breaking the habit of worry is something that resonates with me. I have dealt with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. I can remember struggling to get to sleep because of anxiety as a child – as young as elementary school. My anxiety and depression intensified during my sophomore year of college. It continued throughout my twenties. I saw counselors/psychologists. I read books. I worked through issues. I prayed and had others pray for me. Then a few key things happened and I was encouraged to look into medication.

In 2000 I began to see a Christian psychologist. After a few months he encouraged me to try an anti-depressant. I resisted. Now, honestly, I don’t even remember my reasons for resisting. Then September 11, 2001 came. By my birthday, in October, I had spoken to my doctor and had started an anti-depressant. It changed my life. I earnestly mean that. It changed my life.

We’ve come a long way in the matters of mental health – but stigmas still remain about anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. Especially, and most unfortunately, in The Church. Yes, these medications are sometimes over prescribed. But I think about what my life would be like had I not tried medication. I am now better able to cope with the way my brain misfires and the imbalance in my chemical make-up. I think I am better able to be the person God wants me to be. These medications don’t make everything perfect, just like our relationships with God, but they make things better. Way better. I recently compared it like this: I have allergies. I take an antihistamine daily. My allergies don’t go away. But my symptoms are lessened. Medication may not be right for everyone. But it has been the right thing for me.

So…how am I trying to practice breaking this habit of worry? When I catch myself worrying in an unhealthy way I’ve been reciting Philippians 4:6. I stop to talk to God about it. There are times when my brain is muddled and I can’t get my thoughts together. As Anne Lamott says in her book Traveling Mercies two of her favorite and most used prayers are, “Thank You, thank You, thank You” and “Jesus, help me, help me, help me.” Sometimes that’s all I manage. But when I am able to get my thoughts concise and talk it over with God I feel a difference, I feel lighter by the time I’m done.

I’ve been known to say two things quiet a lot as of late.
1. If it happens, it happens.
2. At the end of the day, Jesus is still Lord.

We still have plenty of wristbands. Please let me know if you'd like one and I'll see that it gets to you.
To hear this sermon series please visit

1 comment:

Shirley said...

Good read. I'm new to BUMC and enjoyed the 21-day challenge. We've had quite the year ourselves.