Steven Furtick — Be Anxious for Nothing
I want to suggest something to you today about the storms of anxiety in your life, and the waves and the winds that are blowing in your life. Every heart has an atmosphere. I found out that atmospheric pressure gets less as elevation increases.
You can't make what's hanging over you less heavy, but you can get up higher in your perspective if you will elevate and worship God. Take command of the atmosphere of your heart. You've got to get up and wake up your faith. Five ways we create our own storm sometimes.
See, some waves are God ordained in our lives, but some waves are waves we make, and sometimes we create our own anxiety, and then we ask God for peace. But, how can He give you peace in a situation that you're currently creating? And so, I've got five things for you, just real quick. I won't take long on them.
But, number one, often we create anxiety and waves in our lives with the words that we speak. Just write that down, words... words. Have you made unnecessary waves with your words? Words that you speak out of anger that you then have to go back and fix, it takes a week, two weeks, three weeks?
Words of doubt, words of... some of you frame your day with the wrong words, and then you're disappointed with the world that you've built, but your world is created by your words. And sometimes we make waves. You know, we create choppy conditions in the morning just by the way we get up talking. If it ain't one thing, it's another.
My grandmother used to say this phrase all the time. She'd say, "Y'all about to worry me to death." And she'd say it about anything, you know, the TV is too loud. "Turn that TV down, y'all about to worry me to death!" About to worry me to death. And she was a wonderful lady, but you know what? As a result of her saying all the time, "You're about to worry me to death," she was worried a lot, because she said she wanted to be worried.
We were at a teaching one time in a book and it said after anything you say in your life, don't say it if you can't follow it with this phrase... and that's just the way I want it. And that's just the way I want it. So, try it out on the things you say. Y'all about to worry me to death, and that's just the way I want it.
Now, I'm just running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I'm so stressed out... and that's just the way I want it. You've got your own phrases, but the words we speak create waves of anxiety. Check your words.
Number two, your approach. Sometimes it's not what we're going through, it's the way we're going through what we're going through. Some of us live with no margin, and so we're always nervous. It's our approach. Anxious about money because we spend too much and don't make enough. No margin. It's your approach.
You start your morning frustrated with people in traffic. You know there's going to be traffic. You've never adjusted the time that you get up and leave your house. Now you're wondering why your job is so stressful. Your job is not stressful. The way you got to your job was stressful, because of your approach. I'm a helpless student. Your class is not stressful.
The fact that you knew about the assignment for three weeks before you thought to look it up... it's the approach that made it stressful. "She's just so mean." She's not mean. You're just a procrastinator. You're making your own waves! Can I get a parent back me up in the house?
That's the second one. The wrong voices. The wrong voices can create unnecessary and needless waves and anxiety in our lives, can't they? If you check the news or your Twitter feed on your phone, before even getting up to use the bathroom in the morning, and you wonder why the outlook on life that you have is so dark, I'm going to just tell you, and I'm going to preach more about this week three.
We don't have time to talk about it today. I think 24/7 news stations and news is one of the worst things that ever happened to our peace of mind as people. No offense to the media. No offense to a journalist. But, I mean, I was reading though just some headlines the other day.
Do you really need to understand the dynamics of every disease? Like, every disease? Do you really need to understand the dynamics of every conflict in all of these countries that you can't pronounce? You need to meditate?
No wonder you're marinat-ed! You're marinating in the wrong reports, the wrong voices! They'll come in and tell me from time to time about a problem in the church. And when they get to a certain point, I'll say, "Thanks, that's all I need to know." What am I doing?
I need good information to make a good decision, but I don't need so much information that it clouds my outlook, so I can't let the wrong voices just keep on playing, keep on going. And then they said this, and then they did that, and they might do that, and it could be that.
You know, at some point you've just got to say, I'm creating waves by all of the voices I'm listening to. I listen to depression. I watch depression. The people I hang around are depressing. I'm making my own waves. Hello. Hello. Hello. Our expectations can create waves. Look at this.
Sometimes you go out in your life, and the anxiety that you feel is the result of the expectations of others that you created by not being willing to manage your own energy. Sometimes the anxiety we feel is because we get up in the morning and we don't expect any battles that day, and so we feel like it's a surprise attack when something hits us.
Why are you surprised? He said put on the full armor of God. That suggests you're going to be in a fight. He said take up the helmet. He said take up the shield. He said take the sword. He said you've got to get dressed for battle when you get up in the morning. Don't be surprised. You need to learn to expect some storms. I think the fact that it's unexpected is often the reason it's so difficult.
And then, there's the master wave maker in our souls. It's called shame. Shame. Shame. You walk around anxious because you're hiding stuff, and you wonder, when are they going to find out about my secret? Or, maybe because you're tormented by something that God already forgave.
See, there's a difference between conviction and shame. Conviction is good. It shows you what to fix, and it gives you God's power to help fix it. Shame tells you that because of what you did, who you are is now fundamentally changed, and it makes you walk around paranoid, and it makes you walk around feeling helpless, and it makes you walk around feeling like people don't love you who do love you, and people are judging you that aren't judging you, and you've got to learn where to take your shame, or it will just rock you in waves.
And they wake Jesus up, and they say, "Don't you see the waves? Don't you care if we die?" And so, Verse 39. "Jesus got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves, "Quiet, be still."
Now, if it was cool that the rain started falling when I started preaching about the storms, isn't it even cooler that by the time I got to Verse 39, we can't hear the rain anymore? Now, this is just at Blakeney. I don't know. It might be raining in another part.
The last thing is cool. He got up and He said, "Quiet, be still." Three words. "Then the wind died down, and it was completely calm, and He said to His disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Don't you know that when I tell you we're going to the other side, we're going to get to the other side? Don't you know that I command the wind and the waves?"
And see, they didn't yet. They hadn't seen enough yet. They hadn't experienced enough yet. After you've been through a few storms, it's interesting what you learn. "Do you still," look at it, "have no faith?" And then in Verse 41, it says, "They were terrified and asked each other, who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him."
If you thought they were scared of the storm, they really freaked out when they found out that with three words, He could shut it off like a showerhead. Whoa.
So, I want to suggest something to you today about the storms of anxiety in your life, and the waves and the winds that are blowing in your life because, man, the winds will blow. They will blow, absolutely. And the waves will break, and they will crash. No doubt about it. And in those times when Jesus is sleeping in the stern, and He doesn't take action, and He doesn't fix your situation, it can be easy to deduce what the disciples deduced. We're going to die and God doesn't even care. You start playing it out all the way to the end.
Man, this is how I'm going to die, right here. This is how it's going to end, right here. I'm never going to get another job. I'm never going to have anybody else love me. I'm never going to... anxious for nothing, because they eventually got to the other side. Yeah.
And see, I wondered all week, why would Jesus send them into a storm, just like we wonder in our lives, why doesn't God do more about the chaos in our world? Why doesn't He fix situations before they get that bad? We celebrate when God heals somebody of cancer, but silently, we wonder, why did they have to have cancer to begin with?
We celebrate when somebody's kid comes back to God, but we wonder then, why did God let the kid wander away to begin with? We celebrate that somebody went to heaven, but we wonder, why did God have to make it so that people die, and we feel pain and sorrow? "Don't you care?" And Jesus was upset about that.
You know, I don't think He was upset that they woke Him up. I think they were supposed to wake Him up. I think He wanted them to go wake Him up. I do! I think it's the way they woke Him up that bothered him. See, because they woke Him up thinking, you must not care. You don't care. He said, in Philippians 4:6, didn't He? "In everything, make your requests known to God."
You're supposed to ask God. You're supposed to go down to the stern and say, Lord, I need a little help right now. Lord, this doesn't feel good. God, it's pushing against me. God, it's getting cloudy and I don't know what to think, and the sky's going black. Would you help me, Lord? Would you come, Lord? But, don't assume He doesn't care! Don't assume that.
See, because I believe that Jesus put them in the storm, not to test them, but to teach them. I can explain. See, Jesus wasn't going to be with them forever. We don't have Jesus in physical form. We have the spirit of God inside of us as believers, but we don't have Jesus in our boat. What a cool picture! Just like Jesus was in the stern, the spirit is in inside of you. But, we don't have Jesus anymore in physical form in our boat.
And so, I think Jesus, when He stood up and He said, "Quiet, be still," and the wind and the waves died down, do you know what I think He was doing? I think He was using the wind and the waves like a whiteboard, to draw a lesson plan for the disciples. Follow me, follow me, follow me. Because the real waves that take you down in your life are not the ones out there. They're the ones in here. And see, you think it's the circumstance that's making you anxious. It's not.