Steven Furtick - Five Ways to Fight Anxiety
1. Reverse Your Worry (November 11 2018)
Worry is like this. It's around and around and around. Notice one thing about all my spinning…other than the fact that some of y'all are getting dizzy just watching me do this. Imagine how it feels to actually do it. Well, this is what it feels like when you're spinning. A lot of motion, but I keep ending up right where I started. I'm right back here, only now I can't see straight. That's what it's like to toss and turn over stuff you can't control. After you've spent all night spinning, all day spinning in your head… It starts with the most innocent thought.
The Devil has been at this a long time, sweetie. He's not going to give you a bad thought. He's going to try to give you an innocent thought and get you to take it in the wrong direction; a scenario that on the surface doesn't seem that bad, but it's the way you spin it. It's like Fox News and CNN. It's one story they're telling, but it's spinning different ways. It's how you spin it that determines how you see it. When you get in that spin cycle it's just around and around and around and around, and it doesn't make any difference. I'm not getting anywhere. I'm not working on it. I'm not making progress anywhere.
The Devil gets me so dizzy that now, by the time I'm facing my real-life challenges, I don't have the equilibrium to apply the effort in the direction that would create a result. Because I'm so dizzy I can't find my balance, and now I don't know who to trust. I don't know what to do. Whoa! Hang on. I need a minute. I've been spinning. By the way, that's why it takes you a few minutes when you get to church to get your heart in the right place, for the caffeine to kick in, and for you to stop spinning. Jesus said, "Look up at the birds, and then look at the flowers". "The flowers?
So, do you want me to look up or do you want me to look down"? "I want you to look both." Notice something the flowers don't do that your mind has been doing lately. He said, "When you look at the flowers, notice how they do not labor or spin. Yet your Father…" They don't spin. They don't sew. The birds don't store away, the flowers don't spin, yet look at how God does that on that level. If he made you in his image, what makes you think you have to spin out in these cycles, these tormenting cycles, these confusing cycles, So you've been going around and around and around in circles, but God said today is your day to stop spinning. If your mind has been doing this, I came to preach to you, and the presence of the Lord is in this place, and your Father knows what you need, so stop spinning. Stop worrying about what God is already working on and just worship him.
2. Brave The Waves (Anxious for Nothing) - October 12, 2014
Part of this being brave is about learning to discern in your life between a genuine concern and a needless anxiety. I would say to you that sometimes you can interpret the same event in both of those ways. You can turn a genuine concern into a needless anxiety by the way you approach it, because it's the same word. Sometimes you go through a situation, and you deal with it, and you handle it with strength. You're brave about it. That's a genuine concern.
Sometimes you go through a situation, and you're tied all up in knots about stuff you can't do much about anyway. That's a needless anxiety. Wisdom will show you the difference…the difference between needless anxiety and genuine concern. Here's how you can do it. Be anxious for no thing. I was talking to a friend one time. (This was many years ago.) He spilled orange juice on his computer while he was on the phone with me one morning, but he was so calm about it. He said, "Oh, hang on a second". He was gone a long time on the phone. I said, "What happened"? He said, "I just spilled a whole glass of orange juice on my computer. It's not working anymore". I said, "And you're not using profanity"? He said, "No, it's nothing but a thing." This guy isn't a billionaire. He said, "It's nothing but a thing. If they can fix it, they fix it. If they can't, they can't. It's nothing but a thing". I thought, "I want that".
Do you remember that phrase? We used to say it a lot when I was coming up. We used to say, "Ain't nothing but a thing". I think Paul is trying to get us to see here in Philippians 4, "Be anxious for no thing". Be concerned about the state of your soul. Be concerned about the state of your children's souls. Be concerned about God's work in the world. That's a genuine concern. But when it comes to the things, you have to learn to look at some things in your life and just say, "That ain't nothing but a thing. It's nothing but a thing".
Let me show you this in Romans. Paul is talking in Romans about some pretty heavy stuff. He says in verse 31 of Romans, chapter 8, "What, then, shall we say in response to these…"? Say it out loud. Every location, say it out loud. "…in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" That's what gives me courage sometimes when I feel opposed. Well, if God is on my side, I'm good. If he is not, I'm in trouble. It really doesn't matter what they're saying about me. It just matters what God sees in me, because if he is for me, who can be against me? Take a number. Line up. It won't matter, because I'll still be standing. You can have that confidence as God's child. It's not cocky; it's just confident.
That's what Paul is saying. He said, "It's just a thing". Look at the next verse. "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things"? It's nothing but a thing. Skip to verse 37. He starts listing some things. He says, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." "What kind of things are you talking about, Paul? Spilling orange juice on the computer? Big deal". No. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons…" This is heavy stuff! "…neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor…"
Paul says, "Let me just put a blank here so you can fill it in". "…nor anything else in all creation…" Bankruptcy. Joblessness. Homelessness. Addiction. Whatever. "…will be able to separate us…" Oh I love it! "…nor anything else…" Do you see it? "…nor anything else…" Nor anything else! Reach everybody you can reach and tell them, "It ain't nothing but a thing. It's just a thing". Be anxious for no thing. I want you to do that this week now when you're faced with something. If it doesn't fit in Paul's list, that's what the blank is for. That's what the "anything" is for. It's nothing but a thing. Shift over from needless anxiety to genuine concern, controlling what you can and trusting God where you can't.
3. Why Am I Anxious? (August 27, 2017)
When the Enemy comes after your destiny, his first step is to set up a stronghold in your imagination. The Enemy wants to make it where you can't stand to be alone, and every time you go to think you worry so much about what might happen that you can't worship God. So now you can't worship because you're so worried, but God said today we're going to get this thing turned around and recapture your imagination to where you feel free again, to where you can dream about something again, to where you can think crazy thoughts and just write stuff down and just walk around singing stuff off tune, making up words. You used to do that. You used to walk around with just anything, but now you're so…
I told the Devil the other day, "Get your hands off God's property. My imagination is God's house. My imagination was purchased with the blood of Christ. You can't set up camp here. I've got dreams to dream. I've got visions to see. I've got a future to imagine". The good news is if you're really good at worrying you're going to be great at worship, because all it is is the same imagination serving the opposite purpose. God said we need to reverse the cycle of the way you're thinking about things. We need to reverse the cycle so when you wake up in the morning, stop checking the "fearcast".
Stop waking up in the morning and thinking about how every possible meeting could go wrong and you don't have anything clean and you wore that on Tuesday. I promise you nobody has been keeping a spreadsheet of your shoes. Put on those same shoes you wore Tuesday and walk into your Thursday and expect to see the goodness of the Lord. Where are you, faith people? Do I have any "faithcasters" in the house? David said, "If I take the wings of morning or dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there your hand will lead me and your right hand will hold me fast," because God is watching over me and he's looking into me. I didn't check the fearcast this week. I checked the faithcast. It's corny, but I bet you it'll drive back depression if you check the faithcast, because God has been too good for me to stay anxious.
4. Lions & Lizards & Lies (August 12, 2018)
The interesting thing is I'm holding the mic, but there's a guy you don't see, among many others at our different locations, who happens to be in the back of the room sitting behind a console. It's interesting. I'm up here talking, and I'm holding the mic, but at any moment he can decide… At any moment he can decide… You know, maybe I fuss at him or something like that and he doesn't like it. At any… Here's the principle: I'm holding it, but I'm not controlling it. That's what I know about my life. That's what I know about my time. That's what I'm learning about my money. That's what I'm learning about my children, my responsibility.
I'm holding it, but somebody I can't see is controlling it. He's in control. He speaks and winds obey. He speaks and waves die down. He speaks and seas split, because what I can see is controlled by that hand I can't see. Now I want to humble myself under that mighty hand. I'm coming to the place in my life where I say, "God, I don't even know what I need anymore, so I trust you and your timing, and I trust you and your heart, and I trust you and your wisdom," and I humble myself. As I humble myself, my anxiety goes out the door with my pride and my arrogance and my plan.
5. When Anxiety Attacks (October 16, 2016)
"Humble yourself, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may exalt you in due time, casting all your anxiety on him because he cares for you". I've been trying to cast my anxieties and keep my pride. The thing about it is you need to know the pride and the anxiety come in the same package. If you insist on doing it your way, then expect to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, because it is. You can't just do verse 7 because you decide to. "God, take it off me. God, take it off me. I'm so worried, God. Make me not worried anymore". "Don't you care if we perish"?
That's what Peter said one time in the boat. "Don't you care that we're drowning"? "God, you said cast all my anxieties on you. I'm casting them. I'm casting them. This isn't working". Look at the word anxiety. I'm telling the Lord in my prayers, "I don't know if I can do it. I just need you to give me a sign that I can take the church forward the next 10 years. Take this anxiety. I'm casting it on you, Lord. I am casting it on you, all of my anxiety".
After I prayed this way for a little while, the Lord spoke to me in my heart. This is not an out-loud conversation. I don't want you to think I'm really, really crazy, but this is the impression I got. The Lord said, "Are you done now? Shut up, Peter. Are you done now"? Look at the word anxiety. Look at how it's spelled in English. Look at what is in the center of the word. Do you see it? At the center of your anxiety, if you really trace it… I'm not talking about a medical condition. I'm not a pharmacist. I don't know about all that. I am not a neurologist. I'm saying, spiritually speaking, the Lord told me at the center of your anxiety is your pride.
The reason you're so anxious is because you have you at the center, and you can't sustain it because it's not your throne. "Even listen to your language," the Lord said. "I don't know if I have what it takes. I don't know if I can do it. I don't know if I can make it. If I, if I, if I, I, I, I…" You can't spell anxiety without I. It's right in the middle. Do you know what other word I is in the middle of? Pride. Maybe the reason you've been carrying anxiety that you can't get rid of is because you've been bearing weight you weren't meant to bear. You'd better humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, because if you stay weighed down with pride, you're going to be weighed down with anxiety, and God can't lift you up.