If you feel your church hasn’t equipped you to face life head-on, full of confident faith, you’re not alone. Missiologist Paul Hiebert wrote that many failures of the Church could be traced to its inability to help people deal with the issues of the “middle level:” the space between science (bottom level), which explains the natural world, and religion (top level), which explains more transcendent issues.
There’s no shortage of things going on in the world to make you worried, anxious, or fearful. So how can you learn to relinquish the challenges you’re facing and seek God’s help to overcome them? The steps are simple.
Many people have this kind of experience. You go to church. You’re super inspired by the sermon. You go home, and nothing changes over the course of your week.
Stop being anxious. Don’t worry so much. It’s not a big deal. Well-meaning words like these, and others, from friends or family, don’t really help, do they?
“You know, Bob, you’re awfully critical of other people.” Ouch. That was hard to hear, but my wife’s words rang true. As I faced the truth of that sentence, I realized that I spent a lot of time judging my co-workers, friends, and family members who didn’t come up to my standards.
“So you’re saying there’s nothing wrong with getting angry with God?” This is what I asked a friend, who happened to be a seminary dean, during a discussion about the Uvalde shootings and the anger and loss that many were feeling.
Imagine this scenario (or maybe this has actually happened to you)… You share your heart and struggles with a trusted friend, and this person eventually says to you, “You know, you just need to seek God’s help.” Easier said than done, right?
If you’ve felt alone in your discipleship journey – or lack thereof – you’re not alone. In his book, Growing True Disciples, George Barna says, “My study of discipleship in America has been eye-opening. Almost every church in our country has some type of discipleship program or set of activities, but stunningly few churches have a church of disciples.”
Anxiety, worry, and fear have become so prevalent that we may begin to believe that they are normal, or unavoidable. Sleepless nights, elevated heart rates, racing thoughts, and being in a state of constant fear that something terrible will happen prevents so many adults from living in peace, freedom and happiness. It doesn’t have to be this way!
Forgiving others (or yourself!) is sometimes easier said than done. Many of us carry the weight of unforgiveness and experience heartache from our relationships rather than joy and freedom. We may truly want to forgive and heal, but not know how to actually do it or where to start. And sometimes, we may need a little inspiration to get going.