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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Letting Go Of Unnecessary Stress

Steven Furtick - Letting Go Of Unnecessary Stress

Steven Furtick - Letting Go Of Unnecessary Stress
TOPICS: Stress

This is an excerpt from “There’s A Hole In Your Story

Some of you are holding on to stories that are not even true about you that were given to you secondhand about who you are. Gideon: "I am the least in my tribe". This is an Old Testament story that illustrates it. "I am the smallest. My tribe is the smallest. I'm the smallest in the tribe". I want to ask you what God asked Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. "Who told you that"? Who told you that story? Sometimes it's even well-meaning people. I mean, these were not pagans; these were observant Jewish Christians who just wanted to get it right. What happened in their day happens in ours. When God originally blessed his people, he wanted them to take it beyond just these borders, but over time, tradition gets in the way of truth. So then you start thinking your tradition is the truth.

If you've ever had a family member say something to you like, "Oh, well, you're getting kind of big for your britches…" You know, you make a move forward. "Oh, well, you're getting too big for your britches". It's a way of trying to keep you stuck in a tradition of what our family has accomplished and what we do. It's so subconscious for most of us. It's a story that runs in the background, and we never even know it, but it is a story someone else told themselves, and then they passed it on to us and we took it as our own. We stay stuck in a story for 80 years of our lives that we could have broken out of if we would have believed the voice of God. What stories are you holding on to that are old, that are keeping you from what's new and what's now and what's true and what's real? Secondhand stories. It's a dangerous thing.

If you ever played the game where you pass a thing down the row… I could start and say, "Milk is on sale", and by the time it passes all the way down this row, you know it would turn into "Donald Trump is the pastor of Elevation Church". It has never been worse than it is right now in our world. We don't read the whole story, just the headlines. So then it becomes, "Oh, well, you're not this" and "You're only that" and "You can't this" and "All white people…" and "All black people…" and "All men…" and "All women…" and "This community" and "That community". It is a generic way of keeping us from peeling back the labels, because labels always limit, and when you label yourself, you limit yourself. All that to say, there might be a few holes in your story, some things you have told yourself that aren't necessarily… He said, "It was very entertaining, but it wasn't very accurate".

Sometimes you tell yourself a story to survive, just to make it. What's sad to me about it is somebody might have rejected you at one point in your life because of how they felt about themselves, and then you took it as an indication of your value. "Oh, well, they walked out of my life. There must have been something wrong with me". That's their story, not yours. You don't have to own it. I love Peter, because he is so reckless. The reckless reverend comes in, but he has himself under control. He just told them the whole story. Don't you want God to show you the whole story of your life? When he starts the story, he starts with everybody's favorite main character in the story.

Look at verse 5. Are you ready for this? This is how every story starts: "I…" Secondly, beware of self-centered stories. Oh man, when you put yourself at the center of every story, you're going to be stressed out. There's not enough Pepto-Bismol in the world for you to keep your stomach calm if you put yourself at the center of every story. This is for all of us who are easily offended. All right? "Did you see how they looked at me? They don't like me". They like you fine. They're sleepy. They don't like their husband. It's not you. Look at somebody and set them free. Say, "It's not you". It's not you! They weren't mad at Peter; they were stuck in a structure and a system and a way of thought.

When I make myself the center of the story, I take on unnecessary stress. Sometimes when I'm preaching I think I'm not doing good if everybody is not saying, "Amen" or something like that, but what if you were up till 3:30 in the morning and you didn't get your sleep? I'm going to take that as a reflection of my preaching? I don't think so. The Devil is a liar. This is good preaching no matter whether you nod at it or not. You know what? I need to get better about that in my life, because I really struggle thinking that every story starts with me, how they treated me. I say that God has a reason for everything, and what I mean by that is… This is my dirty little secret. What I mean is God has a reason for this that I am going to like, agree with, and understand. That's just not the way it is.

How many know that's just not the way it is? A self-centered story… In parenting, when I make it about myself… Remember, these are circumcised believers. That is an external sign of a covenant. It's something you can see. You wouldn't necessarily always see it, but you could see it. (I'm going to leave that right there in case your kid didn't go to the kid's ministry today. You can do that Bible study at home.) You couldn't necessarily see it, but you could see it. Here's the temptation: when we try to go off of what we can see and tell ourselves a story, and then we start filling in the space… Remember, Peter is 70 miles away from Jerusalem, and they start telling the story. Space creates stories. Physical space creates stories.

Sometimes you don't need to text certain things; you need to pick up the phone and call. Sometimes text doesn't get the tone across, and you're going to spend six months fixing a relational mess because you used your thumbs rather than your feet to walk over and have a real conversation. When you have space you create a story. Even the space of time creates stories. A lot of time goes by, and you start remembering things differently. It's hard for me right now raising kids to remember what it's like to be a kid. If one of my kids acts up, my immediate thing is to make it about me. "They are disrespecting me. I am the man of God".

One day the Lord really… Have you ever had one of those God bombs go off inside of you, where you just knew that what you were thinking was wrong? I was thinking about one of my kids. "They are so selfish". They were making certain decisions. I thought, "This is so selfish". The Lord said, "They're not selfish; they're scared". Think about what it's like when you start getting flooded with all of those hormones. Think about what it's like when the rules change on you all of a sudden. Y'all don't have big kids yet, but you will remember certain times in your life where you were acting selfish, but the reason you were acting selfish is because you were scared. When you get scared, you start acting selfish because you are in protection mode. So what am I doing? I'm going from "They're so selfish", and God is showing me the whole story.

See, there's a hole in your story. There's a whole story, and then there's a hole in your story. Sometimes we tell ourselves stories about others without realizing they are going through things too. Y'all don't want to say "Amen" to this because it means we have to have compassion on people, kind of like God has compassion on us. Kind of like we want God to forgive us, kind of like we want God to excuse our gaps, we're going to have to sometimes say, "God, help me to stop making it about me. God, forgive me for making this about me". It's bigger than you. How could Peter have known that what he was being criticized for in this moment would lead to the gospel penetrating the Roman Empire? You have no idea what God is doing through this conflict, this season in your life. There is a bigger story being told, and there is a hole in your story.
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