Stressed at Work?

depressed
For many years I have faced anxiety and stress in the workplace, and over those years have sought counsel several times from trusted Christian brothers. One of them, a mentor, once told me God is “building my character” and preparing me for something. This was a couple of years ago, and after all this time I sometimes ask God “how much more” are you building Lord?!

Have you ever felt anxiety at work?

Frustration, anger, bitterness, jealousy… these are not qualities I strive for in my Christian walk, yet these are emotions I find myself lost in when I’m at work. Now this is not every day at work, but most days I feel a few of those emotions… and some days all of them in spades! This reality has been very troubling for me as I try to find a spiritual balance in my life, between home, work and church.

So last night, my boss calls me around 7:30 PM and tells me some big shots from Washington are flying into town, and visiting our office in the morning. So she instructed me to get to work and start getting the place cleaned up and presentable. She also gave me a long list of expectations for our crew… most of which seemed a little far-fetched, given the time constraints.

Immediately after this call, the enemy started throwing fiery darts my way, and I was just a sucker for the thoughts. I started to dread what was going to happen in the morning, started thinking of calling in sick, which I cannot do in my position. The anxiety of the next day began to overwhelm me like it frequently does. So I started talking to myself (I do that sometimes) and asked why don’t you just find another job? Then responded with you’re too old… besides the new job will probably suck just as much! I really know how to pump myself up don’t I?

After all this, I had to go to my men’s Bible study… where another mentor Rajesh listened to my woes. He’s a good listener. He prayed for me that night, but more importantly helped me formulate a battle plan for work the next day.

SURRENDER!!!!!

That’s right, surrender. You see the key to winning any spiritual battle or otherwise in the Christian life is to surrender (Matthew 16:24-27). Not to the enemy, but to Jesus Christ. So when I got home I prayed before bed, I asked God to take control of my day tomorrow so that I could give him all the glory. If I went to work the next day and tried to “handle things” on my own it would have been a disastrous day. It usually is, because I suck at handling things.

But you know what happened? I went to work today, praying the same prayer on the way there… and ended up having an amazing day… ALL GLORY TO GOD! Thank you Jesus. Was there a spiritual battle waiting for me at work, you might be asking. You bet. Fiery darts started as soon as I walked in the building and never stopped the entire day. But I can truly say I was wearing the Armor of God today, I was prepared… and just as the Lord always does, he was faithful (Psalm 33:4) to carry me through to victory.

This was a very important victory in my Christian walk, because it showed me what God is capable of doing, if I am willing to let go. Like Dr. Phil would say, I’ve been doing things my way for 46 years… how’s that working out for me? The honest truth… my way leads to pain, fear, anxiety, hidden sin, destruction, failure, misery, anger and more. God’s way is the polar opposite and produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

So my Battle Plan going forward is to stay Armored up (Ephesians 6), stay connected to my fellow brothers in Christ or Battle Buddies and to stay serving the Kingdom of God
(1 Corinthians 15:58). We have a common enemy that roams about like a roaring lion and wants to tear our lives apart… to steal, kill and destroy. It is my prayer that you understand how real our enemy is, and that you take the time to put on your Armor each and every day. It’s a battlefield out there.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

bottom-post-banner

 

 

Advertisements

What does it mean to Surrender?

beach-surrender

As a Christian one of the hardest concepts for me to put into action, is the idea of total surrender. On the surface it seems so simple, just let go and let God you may have heard… or take your hands off the wheel is another common phrase. But for me knowing what it means to surrender and not living it out every day can become incredibly frustrating.

Usually when I think of surrendering to Christ my first thoughts are about the hurts, habits and hangups we experience in life as Celebrate Recovery would describe them. Areas that clearly go against the very nature of God and areas we know we have to move past, whether it be pornography, drug addiction, alcoholism, cursing, stealing, lying, cheating, gambling or a myriad of other problems.

For me, lust of the flesh, pornography and lying are the areas I have been embattled the most. In those areas I have taken great steps and measures to help me stay the course, using accountability software and a small network of accountability partners as examples. These are areas that are “cut and dry” and I know they have no place in a Christ-centered life.

But what about the “other” areas of life? You know… the good ones… like perhaps your career or family. What does it mean to surrender to Christ in those areas? What sorts of decisions would I make each day, if I wasn’t the one making the decisions? You certainly remember the old question What Would Jesus Do? As often as I heard this growing up you would think it would have clicked in my brain a long time ago… this question of total surrender.

You see I have been a Christian now for 11 years. The first few years after my salvation were the darkest (most sinful) years of my life. Why? Because I wasn’t ready to accept the life changing experience the Holy Spirit was bringing… so I suppressed His urging and chased after my sinful desires in the world. It was only recently, the last few years, that I began the process of surrendering to Christ and even now today can honestly say there is so much more to give.

Matthew 16:24 (ESV)
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

In Matthew 16 Jesus tells His disciples that if you want to follow Him, you have to DENY yourself and take up your cross. This denying is referring to the lustful desires of the flesh and not just lust in relation to sexual matters. Lust of the flesh can be ANY desire that becomes more important than God in your life. We have to DENY what our flesh wants and live according to the Spirit, which always seeks after righteous things.

Romans 8:28 is one of the most popular and memorized verses in all of scripture. In this verse Paul writes that “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (emphasis mine). This sounds amazing, and this verse is used frequently to lift people up and encourage them when life seems to be one disappointment, let down or even tragedy after another. When I read this verse, I ask myself… do I love God? As a Christian it’s nearly impossible to say otherwise… I mean how can we be Christians and not love God? But beyond the words from my lips, does my life reflect a love for God? Does my daily thought life and the actions I take reflect a love for God? If I love God so much, why do I do so many things that He hates? Why do I hurt Him so often?

These are tough questions, but If I am ever going to reach a point of total surrender in my life, I have to be honest with myself when I examine my life. Today I want to encourage you to do the same. Get some alone time, away from the myriad of distractions in your daily life and examine yourself closely. If someone watched you go about your day, and was able to see into your mind and examine your thoughts… what would they find? Would they find someone who truly loves God and shows it every day? Or would they find someone who reports to love God with their lips, while secretly living a much different life.

If I am making you feel uncomfortable, my apologies. This article was written more to myself than anyone else. You see I struggle every day to grow more Christ-like and I know the reason that my struggle is so fierce is because I am trying to carry this burden under my own power.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus tells us to come to Him, all who labor and are heavy laden and He will give us rest. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. You see Jesus knows exactly what it is like to live on Earth and the heavy burdens we will experience at different times. In fact, His life and ultimately His sacrifice on the cross was the greatest example of one man carrying all the burdens of the world on His shoulders.

His love for us is so vast, so extensive, so perfect that He never wants us to carry that weight on our own shoulders. When we fully surrender our lives to Christ, He takes that burden from us and we are finally free to live a life that more clearly reflects the love for God that lies deep within us.

So as I finish writing this article and go about my day, It is my hope and prayer that I can walk a life I just described to you. It is something I have wanted for a very long time, but have continually let my pride and selfishness stand in the way. When I make decisions, good or bad, large or small… one of the first things I want to ask myself?

What would Jesus do?

 

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

bottom-post-banner