by Chris Schoolcraft, Senior Pastor, Argyle United Methodist Church
Over and over again, I meet people struggling with anxiety, worry, and emotional fatigue. Personal struggles, natural disasters, political divisions, constant interruptions and distractions from technology and social media have ushered us into chronic anxiety and a feeling of perpetual crisis.
While we often cannot put a name to this worrisome and defensive texture of our lives, we know that this is not the way that we want to live and it is not the way God wants for us.
I have asked myself what it takes to be resilient in today’s world and to live, not by fear, but by the grace God gives each and every one of us.
First, claim the truth about the state of your soul. It is difficult to deal with our emotions if we don’t acknowledge that they exist. We may be tempted to think that we spend most days acting from a grounded emotional and spiritual place, but the truth is that we are constantly reacting to interruptions and feeling defensive about work and personal relationships in our lives.
Second, be clear about what you can control and what you cannot. I find myself having way too many feelings about people I will never meet and circumstances that I cannot change or influence. I don’t have the emotional or spiritual energy to waste on things that I can’t influence, you probably don’t either.
Next, find a way back to faith as often as you can. Faith does not mean that we have all of the answers and that we trust we will get our way. As Christians, our faith brings us back to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the truth that love wins. Remind yourself constantly of the power of God’s love and choosing ways in which you can live that out in how you treat and talk about other people, through your generosity or in service during a natural disaster or emergency.
Finally, be clear about taking time to unplug from your tech. Technology was supposed to make our work easier and our lives less worrisome. It seems that the opposite has happened. With screens all over there is a steady stream of news, texts, emails and posts that keep us scrambling to keep up.
Give yourself permission to take a break for your mental, spiritual and relational health.
God did not create us to live by fear, but by the power of faith that comes from God’s grace. I hope and pray you can live from a place of faith, not fear.
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