strength

“…I have overcome the world.”

 I’m a pretty high-strung person.  On the outside, I’m introverted, quiet, and usually spend some time thinking before I speak, but on the inside I’ve always struggled with stress and anxiety.  I probably do a worse job of hiding it than I realize.  My mind is often running a million miles an hour and I frequently have to stop and breath slowly to calm myself down. 

 I think most of my anxiety stems from the fact that I simply can’t control the outcome of certain situations.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  We feel a sense of safety from knowing how something is going to turn out, but we live in a world that is utterly and completely unpredictable.  Even when we’re in familiar situations, there’s no guarantee of anything.  I spend lots of time trying to fix myself and other people, and protect myself from being hurt.  I tend to appreciate systems more than people, but honestly, it’s more than simply a personality trait, it’s a crutch.  Mine is a life run by fear, not victory over my circumstances.  It’s exhausting…but it does make me a great trouble-shooter!

 The spiritual implications of this dilemma complicate things even more.  As Christians, we feel a lot of responsibility “to do what is right” and “to love mercy” (Micah 6:8).  This is so important.  After all, Jesus said that without love, it’s impossible to know Him or be part of His kingdom.  (Check out Jesus’ words in John 5:31-47).  I can’t tell you how often I see the lines blurred between genuine service, and actions designed to help others see that we’re worth respect and admiration.  For me, I can sometimes serve hoping that it will bring me respect.  If I’m respected maybe I’ll be loved, and if I’m loved maybe I won’t have to worry so much. I’m realizing that this train of thought makes serving others more about me than about them.  

 I know I’m not the only one who feels this way and I’m definitely not saying this is true of me in every situation.  We’re all complicated people.  That’s part of why I’m writing this.  I hope that some of what I’ve learned can help others.

 

Jesus said…

 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

                                                                                                            (John 16:33 NLT)

 He was referring to the suffering and persecution His followers would have to endure on His account.  However, Jesus was also pointing out that this world is broken. It’s been messed up, big time, by sin. It’s tearing itself apart and will attack stability, truth and decency at any opportunity.  Even the good in the world is tainted by selfishness. Basically, it’s beyond our control. I’m getting kind of stressed out just writing this paragraph.

 Jesus wanted His followers to understand that as much as they might worry about what would happen to them, it really didn’t matter. Jesus was going to die for the sin of humanity and rise again to conquer death once and for all.  His disciples were going to receive a new identity that would silence their insecurities.  They’d receive the safety of unconditional love beyond anything they could imagine.  Their souls would find rest knowing that regardless of what was going to happen, they had a forever home with their Savior.  His Spirit would guide them and comfort them in difficult times, and make His presence palpable.  In short, His victory would replace their fear.

 I start to relax a bit when I think of life in those terms.  I’m realizing the world doesn’t need more of our futile attempts to fix it.  Instead, it just needs more Jesus.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be free from anxiety.  Most of my fear stems from emotional wounds and those kinds of things take time to heal.  I know this for sure though: The truth Jesus speaks over us is way more powerful than the lies we’ve allowed ourselves to believe.  I see courage welling up inside of me more and more every day.  It’s starting to bubble up and overflow, and I can’t tell you how good that feels.  I’m learning to ditch fear for victory because in Christ, “I have overcome the world.”

 

Andrew Muncherian

Kids Ministries

You Say

You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don't belong, oh You say that I am Yours

 

 Lauren Daigle had a chart stopping hit called, You Say.  It was a powerful song about how, as humans, it is easy to believe the bad and not what is true.  Our world is constantly bombarding us with images and sayings that make us feel like we are not enough or do not have enough.  We live in a society where it is normal to constantly compare yourself with others. It is easier to believe the bad than it is to trust in the good.  It reminds me of when I first started here at the church.

 Last year was a rough year for my family and me.  I had a great job at a software startup in Post Falls.  Then in the middle of summer they laid me and 8 other people off.  I was devastated. I was also scared and humiliated because I had never been let go of a job. I was already struggling with depression and this pushed me further down.  I was able to get a temporary job that helped us pay our bills but my depression was getting worse. I did not want to get up in the morning, did not want to get out of bed, just wanted to watch Netflix all day.  When I started disconnecting from my family then I knew I needed help. I reached out to Eric and he agreed to meet me for lunch. 

 At lunch I told Eric that I felt like God was done with me.  I felt like I was a total failure as a father, husband, friend, and basically every aspect of my life.  Even though I felt hopeless I wanted to change. One piece of advice he gave me, that made a huge impact, was to do things I did not want to do.  For instance, I did not want to get up early and read my Bible or did not want to watch a kids show with my youngest girl. When I started doing things even though I didn’t feel like it, things began to change.  Instead of checking out from my family, I became more invested. Then two weeks later I responded to an interview to be the Office Administrator at Cedar Hills.

 One of my biggest fears that I had to get over was to trust in who God said I was.  Imagine the fear that I had, two weeks out of debilitating depression, to then working alongside such awesome men and women of God.  I was not sure if this was God’s plan because I thought you could only work at a church if you were super spiritual. At first it was rough for me to not compare myself to everyone but what got me through it was knowing that I am a man of God. Everyone has things they are working on and I am not unique in that.

 

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  

1 Timothy 6:11


What I love about that is God says Timothy is a man of God.  Even if he did not feel like he was a man of God, he was. That’s what I love about God.  Even if I do not feel like I am a father or husband it doesn’t change the fact that I am both.  The world will try to break you down and tell you lies but we need to hold onto the truth and know that God has called us sons and daughters.  And knowing that, we can hold our heads high.