Sunday, June 8, 2008

ravens & wildflowers freedom from worry

What do you worry about? What don't you worry about?

Our pastor preached a message out of Luke 12:22-34 so apropos for today that I thought I'd give it some blog space of its own. There are people I love in my life that worry a lot and it makes me worried for them. So I'm testing out some of Pastor Boyd's practical advice by getting these thoughts out of my brain and out through my fingertips. You can listen
here and take some therapeutic notes for yourself, if you wish, but here are what I thought were the essential points.

Note: 6/8/2008 – Ravens and Wildflowers, Greg Boyd – sermon length is 44:02 minutes
As a society, we’re extremely worried. Concern about countless issues pervades our lives: our relationships, our kids, terror attacks, global warming, pandemics, the economy, living the American Dream – if we’re not careful, this worry can consume us. Jesus provides us with the Kingdom alternative to worrying, and it’s surprisingly related to birds and flowers. [Focus Scripture: Luke 12:22-34]

  • We are living in an age of anxiety. It is the #1 mental health problem in adults & children.

  • General level of anxiety is on the rise.

  • Worrying kills us.

  • We are designed with a flight or flight response.

  • One shot of this powerful chemical concoction stays in the body for 18 minutes.

  • God's design was for this to be a rare and short term thing.

  • Worrying is giving yourself a steady dose.

  • Amount of worry correlates to amount of sickness people experience.

  • Worry steals and undermines quality of life.

  • Can't be worried and happy at the same time.

  • Fight or flight chemicals are designed for you NOT to be ok.

  • Sustained worrying equals no joy.
1) Get medical/psychological help if needed-meds are ok and sometimes necessary.
2) Watch less News. Mostly highlights the worst that the world has to offer.

Used to be that a person was aware only of what happened to them, their family, their neighborhood. World catastrophies weren't heard about until months, it's just mere minutes and we hear AND experience vicariously all the "what ifs" and "why nots" while those of us living in the U.S. are safest than anywhere else in the world...we worry most and often experience "survivor's guilt" and a general feeling of helplessness and despair.

Fight or Flight designed so you can ACT!
Limit amount and what you bring into your brain.

  • When you witness horrific events say a prayer for the sufferers.

  • Respond if God says send money or go help!

  • Then forget about it! Survivor's guilt doesn't do any good.
Brain is processing worst case scenario. It wants you to remember and will keep little internal post-its. Instead...and here is the point so far....WRITE IT DOWN!

Keep a kind of "Things to Worry About Later" journal and get these worries out of your head! Anyone who does this knows it really works!

Jesus Tips:

As usual, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter. He wants to eradicate worry out of our life not just give some cosmic self-help "how to become healthy/happy/secure".

More to the point: He wants to make us Kingdom people. He says,
Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you.
Be like ravens, not like rich farmers. Trust God will feed you.

OK Jesus, but sometimes ravens starve or get eaten by other ravenous wild animals. And wildflowers are here today and gone tomorrow.

And that's his point. They live fully in the moment as long as they are alive.
You are much more valuable than the raven and wildflower.
When you die you die. God will take care of you.
But unlike ravens and wildflowers we have the capacity to make the world our treasure...things that pass away. Jesus is saying, do not worry about things that pass away. Don't have your treasure there. Carefree doesn't mean you don't care. It means you'll have His peace that surpasses understanding. You are going to die. So what. Trust God. Live carefree. He's given you the Kingdom.

We will live more passionately and more effectively if we are not clinging to no identity, have no security wrapped up in the world; rather keep your eternal perspective and be free to live like a real human being.

Then Jesus said to his disciples:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry
about your life,
what you will eat;
or about your body,
what you will wear.
Life is more than food,
and the body more than clothes.
Consider the ravens:
They do not sow or reap,
they have no storeroom or barn;
yet God feeds them.
And how much more valuable you are than birds!
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
Since you cannot do this very little thing,
why do you worry about the rest?
Consider how the wild flowers grow.
They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor
was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field,
which is here today,
and tomorrow is thrown into the fire,
how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!
And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink;
do not worry about it.
For the pagan world runs after all such things,
and your Father knows that you need them.
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Do not be afraid, little flock,
for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Sell your possessions and give to the
poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out,
a treasure in heaven that will never fail,
where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


Sarah said...

I'm struck by something I once heard. Apparently, chronic worrying can be, at least in part, an addiction to adrenaline and those other chemicals that flood your body when the 'fight or flight' button gets pushed. They're identical or similar to chemicals released or taken in when people do drugs, and we know how addictive those are!

At the time, that really opened my eyes. While I know there are at least several emotional, psychological and spiritual reasons that I worry, I've wondered if the times when I feel anxious and can't tie it to anything are my mind generating the chemical response its craving.

Thanks for sharing all these've totally got me thinking!

Anonymous said...

Nathan's net is down, or he would say that you wrote this blog for me. It is a joke that we have between us. He calls me Eeyore, because i am always worrying about something and experiencing the worst case scenario on a daily basis.

I am so glad you said this, yes i have never thought of worry as an addiction, but knowing myself, i totally believe that. I will say this.....if i wake up and i am not miserable about some chatrophic event, that i have concluded in my mind, then i am more miserable and have to find something to make SURE that i get my daily dose of misery.

pERiWinKle said...

I don't know if I should call it naive... or just too trusting (can one be that?)... but I tend to not worry... because I know that God already know and whatever happen is what God has in His plans for me...

this has guided me so many times, and has made my life so much easier... I must admit my husband is a worrier... he got it from his mom... and this just drives me mad! When I sense him starting to 'worry' about something we don't have control over, i feel like going bananas.

'when we die we die. He will take care of us'.

I love this 2 sentences. It's beautiful. for me this sum up my way of living. I try to be the best, whole human being, filled and expressing LOVE... living with this in mind I know that God will take care of the rest.

This was beautifully written Di, thank you xx

Marcell said...

I was thrilled by the verses we got to this weekend - my favorite in the whole NT (plus the one about Him going to prepare a place for us). My coaching practice was called 'Found Treasure Coaching' because of that verse. My approach to worry (which, I admit, I do at times)is a little like Scarlett O'Hara, "I'll think about that tommorow!" - one of Greg's tips, although he didn't quote my dear Scarlett. and I try to stay present in the garden - prime time for a visit, too. I'll have the margs ready.

di said...

sarah, opened mine (eyes) too, and it was portrayed pretty memorably in What The Bleep Do We Know? p.s. loved your comment here too.

poet, hello to you and nathan...miss him around here! you know marcell has a can of stop it we can send you for that eeyore nonsense...remember what Randy said about that? tigger loves you too.

linni, i'm with you sister in the not worrying. even when i don't do loving perfectly or when i'm on the receiving end of another's missing the mark, God can bring good out of it and that is the most peaceful easy feeling I know. as for you, what I see is that you do express well your way of living...a whole human being, filled and expressing LOVE...I can tell that is how you live and it is beautiful. love and joy exudes from you. you bless me so. God bless you.

marcell, i have learned so much from you. what a treasure. oh and the visit, yes it is time! p.s. i love that verse too, somewhere i have a little love note that says "I've gone to my father's house to prepare a place for us, i will be back for you. love, Jesus." I think it will be near yours by the River next to the garden.

Anonymous said...

Hi Di
That is so funny i am laughing, a can of stop it, who came up with that one? Marcell or you? If i had to guess i would say that sorta sounds like something Marcell would say. I suppose that Eyeore might not be the best mentor to try to imitate. What can i say? Guess that's my not so inspiring idol.

di said...

No bother poet, I am especially fond of Eeyore...I have my very own canine version in little Gracie, too. And you guessed right indeed our southern belle is the one who tucks away her can of stop it and threatens it ever so politely when necessary.

kirsten said...

such a good message!! i loved reading your notes & your feedback, as they are always so thorough & there is such attention to detail here.

i used to be a big worrier. now i'm not quite as big a worrier. :o) i think i am trusting jesus a little bit more {i hope}.

i heard a speaker in college once who said: "I can sleep at night because God doesn't."

that has always stuck with me.

Terri said...

so, soooo good to lay things down. thanks di...

Marcia Erickson said...

Hi Di,

This sermon has given me so much peace. I've been sitting on my porch every morning blessed by watching the birds fly about; what a great way to start my day...CAREFREE!


di said...

amen amen and amen sisters!

have a blessed, carefree, lay it all down again day!