Monday, January 23, 2012

place {emphasis} where it belongs

I'm terribly sick today. This is day 8. And along with that, my baby is sick. And before that my husband was sick. And we have a lot going on in life right now in the way of stress. How will I get everything done by it's deadline? What will so & so think if I say I'm unavailable (the dreaded reply of 'no' for a people pleaser) Needless to is tempting to give in to fear and anxiety these days. But I want to briefly share how God is encouraging me in this time.

For the third time I listened to Mark Driscoll's message titled "Jesus & Anxiety". Yeah, it was like I maybe had heard it some time loooong past {1 month ago, really}. This topic doesn't get old. Because it's message feels new to me every single time. The life-giving, hope has come, kind of new.

He bases the message on the passage in Luke12:22-34
Do Not Be Anxious
 22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,[b] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his[c] kingdom, and these things will be added to you.    32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Pastor Mark makes so many great points about this amazing passage. He shares how everyone fears. Everyone fears something, some fear many things. It begins in the mind and can easily be an irrational fear. But as long as the person perceives it to be real, it's real to them. And then he shared something that stood out to me most. Something that led me to part of the solution to my fear issue. He talked about the importance of placing emphasis on the right thing in a passage. As an example he shared a story of a guy he ran into that's on a performance treadmill trying to earn God's love.

This man confided in Mark that he struggles with anxiety constantly. Mark proceeded to tell him that the most common command in the Bible is "fear not". And his response was "I know, and every time I read it I just hear FEAR NOT FEAR NOT FEAR NOT and it makes me more afraid." So Mark put his hand on this man's shoulder, looked him in the eye and said, "God wants me to tell you that He loves you" and he's whispering it like this "fear not, I'm your dad, i love ya, you're not alone, fear not, it's gonna be alright." And this grown man started to cry. And I realized I was already crying. Cause I felt like I was the person whose shoulder he had touched.

I have been the woman who reads that passage and hears FEAR NOT and it sends me inside myself where I determine that I can't stop fearing (on my own strength, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, yes) But God is telling me to. And if I can't stop fearing I won't ever be free. And I despair that I struggle with fear so much to begin with. And I fear that I'll never stop being ruled by fear.

But because God is a loving Father, His children start with his affection.. They don't have to earn it, they start with it. "Whoever you are, whatever you do, i love you." That's the place these words come from. {Emphasis}You can read the words "fear not" and take it as a command. FEAR NOT, little flock. Or you can read it as an invitation. Fear not, l LOVE YOU. Fear not, I'm FOR you.

Wow, placing the emphasis in the right place can make all the difference.

If you relate to this in any way, or if you too struggle with fear & anxiety, I encourage you to consider downloading the free podcast on iTunes using the search "mars hill church, mark driscoll, jesus & anxiety".

And since I know you are likely a busy bee, try doing what I did and put in on your iPod so you can listen with headphones while doing the dishes and laundry. It's worth your time to fill your mind with truth. :)

photo from

Grace Laced Mondays