Anxiety and fear have a stigma surrounding them. Some say, “You have anxiety? Why don’t you trust in God?” However, these statements often cause more shame and pain to those who are struggling. Many people struggle with anxiety and it can be debilitating and frustrating.
Join Pastor Jeremy Jernigan this weekend as he shares from Scripture how Jesus is with you in your anxiety and fear.
[00:00:00] As a child, I grew up really anxious. I was the nervous, shy child who, um, always went into every situation nervous before she was calm, but it was nothing like what I experienced, um, right before I had my second child. After she was born, I noticed that it wasn't going away and it was getting stronger to the point where I couldn't control it anymore and ended up that I had postpartum anxiety and I thought it would go away and that life would get easier.
[00:00:34] But I quickly found that my anxiety was stronger than I knew. There was a time where I actually went to the hospital because it was so severe. I thought I was physically, we ill, it was a really, really dark time for me because I'm on staff at a church. Um, I sing on the worship team. I surround myself with people from, you know, a walk of faith and I felt like, did I do something wrong?
[00:00:58] Did I not do something? The Bible is full of verses that, talk about being just for nothing. You know, don't worry about tomorrow because you know, it doesn't God even provide for the flowers and the birds. And all I ever did was worry. I think the big thing that I've realized is trusting God is the fight.
[00:01:17] So. In a battle with anxiety. It's not that I've failed to trust him. It's that I'm choosing to trust him in spite of that. And I know the anxiety is not from God and that's what I have to accept every day. I take, you know, great counsel. I go to therapy, take medication. Uh, I'm working on all of the trauma.
[00:01:41] I have the church, I have my support. Um, but I still have anxiety. My name is Leanne, and this is my story. Thank you to Leanne for sharing that. And I want to welcome you today, wherever you're at. We're so glad that you're a part of this. My name is Jeremy, and we're going to continue this series that we've been in called through the.
[00:02:04] Today, we're going to look at anxiety and fear much of what Leanne set the stage for. And so if you've got your Bibles, I would encourage you to get those out. We're going to be in John chapter six, which is in the new Testament. So if you've got a physical Bible, encourage you to get that out, and you've got a Bible app on a phone or a device, a love for you to get that out as well.
[00:02:21] And we're going to be in John six and just a few moments now, as I was preparing the message this week, I received an email from someone with a song that was just so. For this topic and for this message. And so I reached out, let's try to get you that joke. And some of you already broke, so no, there's no special music.
[00:02:41] I thought I would keep it going to see how I could convince you guys and just to give the band anxiety back there, you know, it's to help them really feel the topic, but it's been so cool all the weeks that have led up to this have just done such a great job. And so today we're going to talk about anxiety.
[00:02:57] And, and here's the deal. You are somewhere in this where you either occasionally have anxiety and you have moments of anxiety, or this could be like your thing and ego. This is like my story. And then anywhere in between is where anxiety and fear kind of reaches each of us. And I would say I'm not necessarily an anxious person, but I have certainly found myself in.
[00:03:22] Positions about a month ago, we were given tickets to a standup comic one that Michelle and I, my wife, we have been to before we actually love this guy. Sebastian Maniscalco. And so we were given really good seats, like seats that I don't get to sit in these kinds of seats before. And, and normally, you know, I would never want to sit in the front for a stand-up comic because you become.
[00:03:47] Fair game too, for the jokes when you're that close. But, but we were given these and I'm like, I can't, I can't pass this up. It's about 5,000 people in the room and we had this incredible front row, not front row, but front section seats. And so we get there early and we're going to enjoy the show, having an incredible date night.
[00:04:04] And I'm so excited. And before it even begins, they have to like, get everybody kind of warmed up. We have been like a sporting event where they do the kiss cam, you know, where they like go around and they find a couple and they're trying to make it awkward. They're trying to give everyone something to laugh about.
[00:04:20] Well, they do something similar at his show. It's not a kiss cam. It's called a Sebastian camp. And so what they do is they literally pick someone they zoom in on that person's face. And then you have to make your best impression of Sebastian. Now, this may not make sense if you're not familiar with him as a comedian, but he does this look a lot.
[00:04:40] And so here's a photo of him in case you're like, who are we talking about? This is what the guy looks like. And that's the kind of the face that he does. And he does this in a lot of his jokes. And so the Sebastian cam literally like would pan around the room, find someone they'd wait for you to do your best Sebastian face and everyone would applaud.
[00:04:57] And then he'd move on. I had this moment as I'm sitting there and I'm like, oh, this is going to be funny. And then I realized, oh no, I'm in the front section. Like we, the odds of us getting picked because you know, lighting's good, like is way more likely in this section. Then when I normally set, you know, way in the back.
[00:05:17] And so I start having this real anxiety. I'm an introvert. This is like not my thing to be suddenly thrust upon this room on camera. And so I start figuring out how am I going to make sure that I don't get myself in this situation. I had to two different solutions. One was there. The gentlemen. From the east coast before the show even started was already like three beers deep.
[00:05:41] Okay. This guy was allowed, he was there for a good time. So I'm thinking he wants to be on this camera. Like he will bring the house down with whatever he does. If he gets on camera. I just got to make sure that if they pan our row, they see this guy because if they see this guy, it's going to be great. No problem.
[00:06:00] Then that's like part of my solution. Then my other solution is my wife is sitting on my right. And I'm thinking if I just look at her the whole time and I don't look at the site screens, right. Then they would never show me. Cause they're not going to show the side of my face. You know, they're going to look for people who are engaged, who are looking.
[00:06:17] The screens and it's all like, I'm not going to give them the opportunity to even do that. So I am like dead set, looking at Michelle. Michelle, of course doesn't have the same anxiety as me. She's looking at the screen having a great time, but I'm thinking, okay, I'm going to look at her. They could pan us that you choose her, or they choose this guy.
[00:06:34] And either way, it's going to be fine. And so this goes on for like, it felt like forever, but probably just minutes. Right. And so, you know, I'm hearing around the room, someone would do something funny on camera. Everybody would laugh, they applaud, you know, and you get like here, like where the camera's going to you.
[00:06:51] Right. Because you can hear different pockets, like, oh, it's you laughing? You know, I'm just sitting locked in. I'm like, come on, just, you just gotta make it, we gotta get through this. And then my wife said one of the worst things she has ever said to me in our marriage, You're on camera. Sure enough. I glance over my mug up on screen for 5,000 people.
[00:07:15] I'm on Sebastian cam. So what do you do? You have to make the Sebastian face. I got to play along, right. So I do it. I'm dying on the inside mortified, like back to like junior high level embarrassment, you know what I mean? And then it was. For so long, like they kept it on me. I think they knew, they just knew they had something.
[00:07:36] They kept it on me for so long. I just started laughing like, ha, I've already done the face. Like get off me. You know what I mean? That Michelle has time to pull her phone out and take a photo of me laughing at myself awkwardly. So here is me on Sebastian cam. I may look happy there, but I'm not all right.
[00:07:55] I'm like, Slowly on the inside. And then I had to like reassure myself, like, you know what, it's fine. These are 5,000 strangers. Nobody saw this. Nobody knows we're fine. And then I found out a number of you were there that night began to start hearing from you guys. Hey, was that Jeremy on the camera? We saw him and I'm like, oh, this is horrible.
[00:08:15] Right. But this is how anxiety works for most of us, we have moments. Of anxiety. We have situations of anxiety. And so if that's you, and you can think of a few moments, we're going to speak to that today, but I also want to make room for bigger levels for deeper levels of anxiety. For those of you who go, yeah, that's not just like a momentary thing for me.
[00:08:37] That's like something I regularly struggling with I'm regularly dealing with. And so wherever we're out today on all of our campuses, now we're going to just make space for this conversation. And so if you're with me in John chapter, I want to begin reading in verse 16, and we're going to look at a story of, of what was it like to follow Jesus?
[00:08:57] What was it like to be on the front row to see him, to, to, to see exactly what he was doing to be one of his disciples? What did that feel like? And the answer might surprise us. It didn't feel all the time. Like, like we may envision it. And so John six beginning in verse 16 says this, that evening, Jesus, his disciples went down to the.
[00:09:19] To wait for him, but his darkness fell and Jesus still hadn't come back. They got into the boat and they headed across the lake toward Capernaum soon, a Gale swept down upon them and the sea grew very rough. Now, as we get in the setup of this, sorry, I just want to stop here and ask, have you ever felt like it got dark and Jesus didn't come back.
[00:09:46] That is the essence of this story. It got dark and Jesus didn't come back. And I just want to ask, do you know that feeling and maybe you could think, yeah, I remember this season of my life, this moment in my life, this thing that I needed, I was waiting and it got dark and Jesus never showed up. He said, this is what his disciples are.
[00:10:07] Literally. Now notice the prompts in John's story disciples are waiting for Jesus. It gets dark while they're waiting. So presumably for a while, Jesus is nowhere to be found. He has not returned to them. So they decided, well, let's just go get in a boat. Cause we don't know what he's doing. And then a crazy storm comes upon them.
[00:10:29] Now, before we go in any further in the story, I just want to acknowledge them. That I think is crucial in our discussion. Is that this, there are legitimate reasons for many of the fears and anxieties and our lives. Let's just start there. There are legitimate reasons you would not look at these disciples and go, why are you scared?
[00:10:51] What are you afraid of? They would say, well, it's dark. We waited for Jesus. He didn't show up. So we got into both. We had to do a crazy storm in the middle of the night. Like this is worth being afraid. And so let's just start there. Let's make room for that. The challenge in this conversation, as I have found is that we often don't share the same anxieties.
[00:11:13] So what may make you anxious might be very different than what make me anxious. And so you and I look at each other and we go, what's up with that? Why does that bother you? Why, why is that a. And it's, it can sometimes be hard to be empathetic, which then leads to shame. It leads to the stigma behind it.
[00:11:31] Why do I struggle with this? Why is this scary for me? Why is this hard for me? It doesn't seem to be an issue for anyone else. And so I think we need to just, just take a step back and go. There are all different ways that we show this, that we experience anxiety that we experience. Fear, for example, one of the ones that I know, if you put me in this situation, I will get anxious.
[00:11:55] Is anything in a medical environment. You put me in a hospital, you put me in a doctor's office. I will literally feel my body changing. Like I can feel that something's happening to me and I just have this irrational. Of needles. I don't know why. I don't know where it ever came from. I haven't had like this horrible experience.
[00:12:16] I just have this irrational fear. And so a lot of times I would get like blood work taken for something for a checkout and they would say, Hey, everything's good. They take my blood pressure in the office. They go, wow, that looks a little bit high. And they'd always be confused by this. Like, Hey, you look like you're okay.
[00:12:31] But his blood pressure is a little bit higher. It doesn't really make sense with your numbers until finally I said, you know what? That happens to me a lot. I hear this. And someone said, oh, you probably have a white coat syndrome. I said, what's that? And they're like, it's kind of named after the fear that some people have of doctors in white coats and it ramps up your anxiety and you get an artificially high blood pressure reading.
[00:12:54] And I literally thought you are making up something medical sounding to make me feel better. And I'm here for it. Like, I love it. I appreciate it. Thank you for not making me feel like a little kid with my anxiety. Like I felt really good. So I went home and I researched it. Oh, my goodness. This is a real thing.
[00:13:11] Like there are other people that have this and in case you're like, no, he's making this up. Uh, white coat syndrome is an anxiety induced blood pressure spike while in a medical environment when high blood pressure is not otherwise an issue for the patient. That's like my life right there. Okay. Like this is me.
[00:13:31] I don't know. Here's the thing I just have learned about my own. I can be in that situation. And I can still tell you, I wouldn't consider myself an anxious person. I'm not like that all the time, but when I'm in that environment, I can tell I'm very anxious right now. Now here's the other thing I know logically, this doesn't make sense.
[00:13:52] What I'm feeling. I can try to talk myself out of a, Hey, calm down. What's the worst that's going to happen. Hey, it's just a little needle. Hey, they're just taking blood, whatever, but I cannot physically get my body. And this is one of the parts of anxiety. Go, we'll just get over it. You are going, I'm trying.
[00:14:10] I want to, and so again, I've got a little glimpse into it in my own experience with needles, but there's all kinds of reasons why people struggle with things. It. A huge one for a lot of people is social anxiety when you're around people and in social situations, social interactions, the fear and the anxiousness that can come from that there's even online groups.
[00:14:32] We're able to gather together online, of course, right. Because they want to talk about how hard it is to be around people. There's a group on Reddit that has 300. Thousand people in a social anxiety group, where all they do is share funny memes about what it feels like to be socially anxious, to encourage one another.
[00:14:52] I want to share a few of these with you, cause it shows you what they're dealing with and how they're trying to have fun and go, Hey, let's laugh about it because we all know what this feels like. For example, when you're approaching someone in a long hallway and you're not sure when to begin. Right. Now, some of you are like, I don't even know what you're talking about.
[00:15:12] If you have a little bit of social anxiety, like, oh yeah. Do you like how many feet out? How long? Or like similar to this? It's like, how long do you hold the door open for someone like how many feet away do they have to be before? You're like, this is ridiculous. I mean, like these are social triggers, right?
[00:15:27] That for some people create anxiety or this one, a large group of people is called a. Love it. Some of you let's be honest, some of you for you to attend the campus that you're at today is a challenge. It is work. It is something you have to overcome. And if that is you, I applaud you. And many of us, we take that for granted that that is really hard for some people to be in a setting with a lot of other people or one more people who say go big or go home, seriously underestimate my willingness to go home.
[00:16:01] I get to literally my. I love that. Like literally, right. Like I don't want to be out. It's scary. It's there's triggers there now again, you may go that's me or maybe you say that's dumb. Why? Why is that? Cause that's how anxiety works. It's not the same for each of us. Now another area I have noticed this is when it comes to children.
[00:16:23] See, a lot of times when a kid is dealing with an anxiety, we as an adult, look at the kid. Well, that's irrational. That's illogical. Just get over it. Why are you afraid by that? Why are you anxious by that? We can not necessarily understand what a child is dealing with. And let's be honest for, for all of us.
[00:16:39] The last couple of years have been traumatic. If you're a kid and all your school thing has been interrupted, it's been super traumatic for you in a very formative. As well. And I think as adults, it can sometimes be hard for us to empathize. Like how are you having this reaction to this? You should be okay.
[00:16:56] And here's what I've noticed is that it plays out, it trickles down into our view of their parents. And so if we have a friend who has an issue with their child, we look at our friend and go, Hey, what's up? Can you figure that out with your kid? Well, why is your kid struggling? And all of a sudden, now we're sharing this, this stigma, that shame is not just on the person dealing with it.
[00:17:16] Now it's like on the parent dealing with like, what's up with your kid. Why can't your kid figure out with all the, all the other kids seem to be able to figure out? And we just see how there's so many layers of this and so many areas for this to go wrong. One of the things I was reading recently is from Ross w green, about how we associate a lot of things that kids are dealing with with their parents.
[00:17:40] It's time to stop blaming parents for challenging behavior that occurs at school while it is true that some behaviors and kids go home to family situations that are not ideal. It is also true that many well-behaved students come from family situations that are. Parents have behaviorally challenging kids get much more blame than they deserve for their kids.
[00:18:04] Difficulties, just as parents of a well-behaved kids get much more credit than they deserve for their kids. Positive attributes. See, oftentimes we link it and go, oh, what's wrong with you? What's wrong with you as a parent, what's wrong with you as a dad, what's wrong with you as a mom? And all this can keep going when we don't have empathy for what people are dealing with for the fears, the anxieties of the people around us.
[00:18:30] Now here, here's the thing. I think that the church can and should be the place where we make room for the shared anxieties and fears of everyone. Where we say, you know what? Come on in, what do you, what are you dealing with? What are you working with? Hey, we're going to make room. It's safe to talk about it here.
[00:18:49] It's safe to work through here. You can lower your guard here, but because we're going to make space for that, the church can be the place. Or this happens where we learned to process this through and we have figured out, like, what should it look like? What does a healthy version of this look like?
[00:19:06] There've been different studies done. One psychologist named Dr. Barbara Fredrickson came up with what she calls a positivity ratio. And she has suggested that an ideal emotional state is three positive emotions for every negative emotion. That if you can keep that balance, that is the ideal balance for your mental wellbeing, which is interesting, at least to a few conclusions.
[00:19:30] Number one, not all negative emotions are bad for us. It's okay to feel sad. It's okay to have some of these other emotions out, even say it's okay to be anxious at times. The anxiety is a response to get us to do certain things in certain situations. It's when that anxiety begins to take over it's when we no longer have control over or when the positivity ratio gets thrown off.
[00:19:57] And now it's not three to one, it's two to two or three to one. That's when all of a sudden this feels like it is robbing us of life. Like this is an overwhelming thing, but again, we have to make room for this. How do we say to one another? Hey, what is it that you're going through? I want to meet you in that.
[00:20:16] I want to be here for you. And how would that help us process through the different emotions that we're all going through? The author? Jimmy Tarkovsky has said it like this. The world is broken our bodies break. Our minds and our hearts break as well. We lose things in this life. We lose relationships, we lose people.
[00:20:39] And so a lot of folks live with a lot of pain, much is mystery, but God asks us to love, not just when it's easy and not just when a certain scripture fits. And he asked this question, I love this. What does it look like to love someone who lives in a place you've never. Has a profound question around this topic.
[00:21:01] What does it look like to love someone who lives in a place lives with something you've never experienced when there are no words? Or what about allowing someone to love you when you feel completely alone? Like no one can relate. That's what it looks like to be the church say, Hey, what is it that you're going through?
[00:21:22] What is it that you're anxious about? What is it that you're afraid. And how can I meet you there? How can I carry that with you? And I think it would be incredibly healing for us to make space for that in this type of community. Now let's go back to John chapter six, we've got the prompt, the disciples are alone.
[00:21:40] They're in the middle of the night. It's dark and there's a storm raging and Jesus is nowhere to be found. And with that prompt, we then get to verse. They had rode three or four miles. So just stop there. Think of how long they've been in this storm. Okay. This is not like, oh, a storm happened and then poof, it was gone.
[00:21:59] They had been in this for three or four miles rowing against a crazy storm in the middle of the night. This would not have been easy when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat and they all began to sing praise songs. No. If you're following along text says they were terrified. I love this.
[00:22:24] What are they scared of? Jesus. They're scared of Jesus. Make no mistake. They are already scared. They're already anxious. Then Jesus shows up and they're like, now we're really scared. Now we're really anxious. Okay. But he called out to them. Don't be afraid. I am. Other than they were eager to let them in the boat.
[00:22:45] And immediately they arrived at their destination. They're in the middle of a crazy, anxious, crazy, terrifying situation. And then they see Jesus doing something that humans cannot do. Now we will go off. I saw Jesus. I would be, oh, I'll be so relieved. I'd be so happy. No, you'd be terrified. You would be with them going, what on earth?
[00:23:08] That does not happen. People do not do well. That person is over there doing, and yeah, I want you just to notice this whole situation. This is notice that these were the people who were closest to Jesus. These were the people who had left everything else to go and follow him. They spent day after day with him.
[00:23:27] And this was their reaction to this moment, which means maybe you and I can give a little bit of grace for people today who are following Jesus, who get a little angry. Who get a little fearful. Maybe we can be the ones that say, yeah. It's okay. Yes. The disciples they had that too. Yeah. Yeah. There's, there's a long tradition of people who have followed Jesus who have experienced anxiety and fear.
[00:23:51] And the challenge is, I don't think Jesus wants us to just live in that space. I don't think that's all he asked for us. And so there's other passages in scripture that talk about God's desire for us. God's heart for us. And it's beautiful. But sometimes we quote those. To someone in the middle of a storm and it can feel a little bit like, well, just do this.
[00:24:11] Just believe this they go. Yeah. I do believe that I do want that. And we have to make room for both to say, yeah, sometimes apples of Jesus are going to be terrified by Jesus by the situation. But also we know that God's heart is good because Jesus is good. And so we have passages like Philippians four and Leanne and her story referenced this.
[00:24:34] It says don't worry about anything and said, pray about everything, tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. And then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything. We can understand his peace will guard your hearts and your minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And so I think we hold that in one hand, we will.
[00:24:53] Yes, that is God's desire. And we also hold in the other hand, John six, and sometimes we're going to be. And sometimes we're going to be in a storm at night and we just hold those both together. I want to point out in John six, notice what Jesus doesn't do. He doesn't get to the boat, walking a water. And he's like, you morons, you're scared of this, this little thing, this little storm you're, you're afraid of this.
[00:25:16] Look what I can do. You're going to be afraid of that. I cannot believe you guys are so scared right now. No, he doesn't fault them for being scared. He doesn't fault them for being in a storm. He meets. And the store as a huge, huge insight into what it means for us to meet one another and our own anxieties and our own storms, you know, throughout this series, we've referenced the stigmas that come whenever we talk about mental health and mental illness and, and some of these emotional things that we deal with, we just view them differently than we do.
[00:25:52] And one of the illustrations that's been used in this series. I think it's a great illustration. Is if someone came in the room today, wherever you're at and they had a cast on and they were in crutches, we would not look at them and go what'd you do can't can't believe you did that. No, we'd go. Oh, what happened?
[00:26:06] Oh man, that's a bummer, but we know that's going to get better by cows. Come off. Those crutches will be done. This is temporary. That's awesome. So let's take that same model of fishing, which is a great illustration. Let's take it further. What if that person showed up in a cast? Two months later, three months later, a year later, two years later, at what point do you start looking at them differently?
[00:26:29] Now, if we're honest, I think we would say yeah, at some point you'd go. Why hasn't that healed? Why hasn't that got better? That CAS isn't supposed to be there forever. Do we have this expectation? Yeah. Yeah. We'll give you time. You should get over it because at some point it should get better, but what would it look like to remove that and say, w w we're just going to.
[00:26:50] We're just gonna be present with you here. As long as it takes, we're not going to put a time limit on, Hey, at some point we, we shouldn't be having this conversation anymore. One of the things that was said at the beginning of this series that I just love is that the presence of struggle does not imply the absence of God.
[00:27:10] Let that be true in this conversation as well. The presence of struggle. You still didn't what's that does not imply the absence of God. Well, if you just pray. If you read your Bible more, if you attended church more, now, the presence of struggled does not imply the absence of God to what I've learned in my own journey.
[00:27:29] I think anxiety may be one of those things that you never get over. Maybe one of those things that never just heals for some people. And you go, why would you say that? Well, we have five kids and one of our children has anxiety and has had it their whole life. And I've watched this anxiety in my child.
[00:27:48] Uh, manifests differently in different phases of their life. But I just know, like this is something they've had their entire life and for all I know they might continue dealing with it into the future and they're gonna have to keep navigating this. And so for us, the conversation hasn't been well. Yeah.
[00:28:04] Let's just get over that and then we'll be done with that. Why are we talking about it again? It's like, oh no. Okay. This is, this is a new thing. A new situation. Let's figure out how to be present, how to carry that with them in the middle. And so for us and our family know, I'll just speak for us. We've had to figure out how do you carry something?
[00:28:22] How do you navigate something that may not just heal that may not just go away? It looks a little bit different. One of the things that we've done, and again, this might not be for you, but we've just said, Hey, this has been huge for us, is that we believe in. That Hey, if your body is off, if something's going on, we believe in medication.
[00:28:42] Again, there've been different moments in different seasons with our children that we have sought help for that. And we have watched the difference it has made. And yet there's a huge stigma around this. Oh, you don't, you don't talk about it or you don't do it. Or man, you're not a real Christian. If you have to do this, I can only speak for us and say, I believe.
[00:28:59] Yeah. And I've noticed the huge benefit. Let me give you a. When I was a kid, I had asthma really bad, like to the level of I'd have asthma attacks. That would send me to the ER, numerous times. If you would say to me, Hey, I know you're having an asthma attack right now and you can't breathe, but if you had real faith, you wouldn't use it.
[00:29:20] That that would be ludicrous. And if you could look at someone having an asthma attack and say, why do you need an inhaler that's medication? You should just pray about it. You should know. We would say, yeah, you need an inhaler because that's going to open up your lungs. It's going to allow you to breathe.
[00:29:33] Right. There are certain situations. We have no weirdness on medication, but when someone is dealing with something ongoing and it's emotional and it's something that's a little bit harder to pinpoint and go, well, where is that? Suddenly we go, whoa, why, why medication? Well, what's going on with that. And so I just have seen like, Hey, we're, we're going to keep that open for us.
[00:29:52] We're going to, we're going to consult that. We're going to pray about that. We're going to process through that. And for us, it's been a huge part of our journey, walking that road with our kids. Another thing that we have found huge value in, because this is. Is in therapy. And so we have a couple of our kids that are in weekly counseling sessions, and I, it's not uncommon to sit through a couple of these in a day and we can sit through them and we'll walk through, or, Hey, what are you anxious about?
[00:30:18] What are you fearful? And, and working through that. And my wife and I have taken counseling and have taken therapy and are huge believers in it. And again, people get weird about law. You shouldn't need that, man, if you, if you're doing things right, you wouldn't have to go to that. Let me ask you this. If you had something going on with your teeth and you had.
[00:30:36] Uh, would you feel weird going to a dentist? Why can't your doctor do that? Well, your doctor could help, but like you'd probably go to a specialist that they do teeth. That's what they do. And you wouldn't feel weird about it. I'm going to go with my teeth, look down. Not, you may not go to the dentist every week or every month, but certainly somewhat regularly enough to feel like your teeth were going to be healthy.
[00:30:54] And certainly if you needed something. Or if you had something on your skin, you're like, this is weird. I don't know what this is is bothering me. You probably wouldn't feel weird about going to a dermatologist. I'm going to go figure this out and you go, oh, what's wrong with your doctor? Nothing's wrong with her, but a good dermatologist.
[00:31:09] This is what they do. Why is our mental health any different? Hey, I'm going to go to a specialist. This is what they're trained for. They're going to help work this through for us. We just have tried to make space to go. Let's remove the stigma. Let's remove the shame and make room to. With our kids and let's carry this with the people around us, knowing that anxiety may be one of those things that doesn't just go away, even though we want it to.
[00:31:36] And Leanne did such a great job sharing her story that we saw. Now, I just want to point out if you look around and if you do any research, you realize this is not the way that most of the time we approach this conversation, we approach it like, Hey, let's get over. Anxiety. Don't have anxiety anymore. As a case in point, I found this book while I was researching, it's called the end of anxiety recently, published, captures what we.
[00:32:01] Like, let's just be done with this. Let's not deal with it anymore. One of the endorsements says, read this, apply it and find freedom from fear forever. Be done with it. I would say yes. I love that. I love that desire. I want that to be true. I just don't know that it is. I don't know that it is. And I think that when we put that as an expectation on someone who's dealing with anxiety, it gets.
[00:32:28] And it makes empathy really hard to say, Hey, I'm still going to meet you in this as long as you need it as many years. And so we would never look at our child who deals with anxiety and say, Hey, at some point you got to get this figured out. We're going to be done. Now we'll meet them there. The rest of their lives.
[00:32:44] We will forever walk this journey with them if that's what it's needed. And we're going to see Jesus in the midst of this. And so my takeaway for each of us, wherever you're at in your own journey with anxiety are those who are. It's simply this idea, and you can write this down. If you're interested.
[00:32:59] Jesus, he's the God who walks on water to meet us in a storm at night. Jesus is the God who walks on water to meet us in a storm at night. It may not be the God that just is going to take away. May not be the God who who's just going to remove the darkness from your life, remove all the obstacles, remove all the anxiety that may not be what you find, but what you will find I believe is that Jesus will bend the laws of nature to meet you in your displace.
[00:33:39] Jesus will do whatever he needs to do so that, you know, you will not. You will not be by yourself. You will not be in the dark without hope easy. If the disciples were with anyone else, they would have stood from the shore and went, wow, that looks really bad, too bad. I don't have a boat that can get to them that could help them that I don't know what I'm going to do.
[00:34:02] No, they, they they're with Jesus. I will supernaturally walk across this lake. And Jesus, I believe is going to be the exact same thing for you and I today, wherever storms are in your life, whatever darkness is in your life, Jesus will supernaturally, bend, whatever laws of nature, nice to meet you there so that, you know, you are not alone.
[00:34:25] And it may mean you're in that storm for the rest of your life, but you will not be alone. You will not be without hope. And that is the greatest encouragement I can offer us today. And when Jesus. In the darkness in the storm, he brings us new life. He brings us things that we never thought possible. He does things that we didn't even think could be possible.
[00:34:51] That's why I close with the words of Barbara Brown. Taylor. New life starts in the dark, whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb or Jesus in the tomb, it starts. Let's pray together. Jesus, as you meet us in the dark, may you breathe new life into us and you breathe your hope here, encouragement your life into us.
[00:35:24] Some of us have been praying for that storm to be removed that darkness to be removed. And maybe we got the answer to that prayer we want. And maybe we haven't. May we be encouraged today that you will be. You will meet us there. And so for those of us that maybe we only occasionally deal with anxiety and fear.
[00:35:44] May you give us the empathy to walk the road of those around us who are dealing with this to care about anxieties and fears that are different than what triggers us? May we be the ones that can make space for those conversations and for anyone here today who is just overwhelmed? Who, this is their story.
[00:36:05] This is the weight they carry. May you be there and you'd be so loud. So present in their life, may the baby you're reminded of what great lengths you will go to so that they will not be alone. They will not be hopeless. Jesus, we thank you that you'd walk across the waters middle of the night in the middle of a storm to meet us where we are.
[00:36:29] We pray all this in Jesus name and all God's people said, amen.