4 in the morning. With two young kids, I’ve become well acquainted with the wee hours of the night. Maybe it’s a kick in the side from a kid that jumped in bed or a scream from a nightmare, but no matter the source, I always have trouble falling back to sleep. It’s as if every troubling reality in my world comes flooding into my head, and my brain kicks into overdrive. You know what I’m talking about?
Maybe it’s a tough conversation I had the day before. Maybe it’s a problem we are having with the kids. Maybe it’s a decision we have to make about the church or our family that is quickly approaching. On the surface, I’m a fairly easy going guy, but honestly, I can be prone to moments of anxiety. And in those moments, there’s no spiritual magic words to magically snap me out of it. When it comes on, it’s a battle – not a quick fix.
I don’t want to pretend, however, that what I experience is as bad as it gets. I am aware that my issues with anxiety and fear are mild compared to others, who deal with it on a daily, more severe basis. Statistically, 40 million American adults struggle with anxiety disorders. Current estimates, however, are that a 3rd of Americans struggle with some form of anxiety.
So on any given Sunday night, a 3rd of the people sitting in the pews have been struggling with anxiety that week – some likely in crippling ways. And unfortunately, church is a great place to hide. We sit, we take it all in, but on the inside, we are being ravaged by the reality of our lives.
That is exactly why we are doing this series “#TheStruggleIsReal.” Church should never be a place we hide – it should be a place where it’s ok not to be ok. We want to get these common struggles out into the open – so that when we bring them to Jesus, we can see true and lasting change. The goal isn’t always for God remove the struggle, but to transform us even in the midst of it.
God doesn’t just want our struggle, he wants us. And sometimes it’s the very struggles we face that drive us to him. I am comforted in my anxiety by 1 Peter 5:6-7, which says: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.
In humility, I can put my struggles on the shoulders of Jesus, because he alone can carry them. Whenever I’m having a moment of anxiety or fear, I try to remember this verse – that Jesus wants to carry this for me.
This weekend at Restoration, we’re talking about the struggle of fear. And let me tell you, what we will find in Jesus together is such good news. So come if your ok, but come if your not ok. Come if you’re broken. The struggle is real, and we are going to face it head on together.
See you Sunday night!