Hope is a critical attribute in life. Without hope, we’re done. It’s hope that gives us the energy to push through when things are difficult. It’s hope that helps us persevere when everything in us wants to give up. But the problem is most of what we call “hope” is not really hope at all. We live in a world that is best at “hope so” which is essentially, “this might be ok”. There is little assurance in that kind of hope. It’s all up in the air and circumstantial. It doesn’t change us it just takes our odds from 0% to 25 or 50% — but come on, how “hopeful” is that? The problem is that that is the best the world can offer us. Sure we can do things to up our odds of success, but it’s so temperamental and unstable.
There is a lot that causes us stress that can be avoided. What I’ve learned by studying and preaching a series on the topic of stress is that so much of stress falls into the category of perspective. For example I’ve seen issues that could stress one person to a point of being unbearable, barely phase another person. I wondered, how could it be that the issue was identical but in one person it buried them in stress where the other person was barely impacted by it? I also discovered that perspective is more than just optomism. Perspective is developed by a number of different factors, the most fundamental being the “premise” we live our lives by.
So this is the final part of our 3 part blog posts on worry and anxiety. So far we’ve examined the two most common causes for worry and anxiety, we looked at the key path we need to walk towards freedom and today we will examine some practical steps for walking forward on the path towards freedom.
So what is the path? Well the path is one of trust. It’s learning to lean on God and rest in His provision, protection and guidance. One of the interesting things is that it’s more about realizing what is NOT our responsibility than what is because we tend to worry about things that are outside of us. But as I mentioned in the previous post the path of trust is not one we step onto once and forget about it, it requires ongoing movement. So what does that movement look like?
In my previous posts we looked at two very common reasons that we worry or get anxious. In this post, I’d like to share a path that I’ve begun to walk towards freedom from worry and anxiety. Before I reveal what that path is I want to warn you that walking it requires high levels of humility, introspection, confession and spiritual practices. In fact in my next post I’ll share a few regular practices that you can engage in that will ensure continued forward movement. Ok, what is this path of freedom?
I have dealt with various degrees of anxiety and do believe that there are medical reasons/ brain chemistry stuff that can play into it for sure. However, in my journey, research and self reflection I’ve discovered two non-medical but very spiritual reasons that will trigger, increase or make worry and anxiety close to unbearable. I’ve also discovered a path towards freedom that seems quite simple to say but very challenging to live. The good news is that once you get on this path and start taking one step after another you’ll begin to see varying degrees of freedom and peace and comfort (at least that is true in my story!). OK so let’s start with the “why”…
Stress is a reality of living on planet earth. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what stage of life you’re in, stress is present. Jesus Himself said, “in the world you will have stress…” (John 16:33). The presence of stress is not the surprise, the surprise is how some seem to weather it and some are completely immobilized by it. What makes the difference? Over the next few weeks, both at the weekend services and a special series of posts here on the blog, we will discuss some of the key factors that make the biggest difference when it comes to stress.