In the service this week, we announced the upcoming “Growing Older Well Retreat” coming up in September, and encouraged every FCCer over the age of 50 to sign up and take part. In fact, I encourage anyone reading this to consider joining us for a refreshing time of personal reflection and healthy interaction about staying evergreen, even as life’s seasons carry on. And if you can’t join us for the Retreat itself, then please be in prayer for those who attend and for Gweneth Schwab as she prepares the material.
We also conducted an experiment and held our quarterly Congregational Meeting immediately following the service (well, immediately following the after-service snack time) instead of on a Thursday evening, as we have usually scheduled it. We had hoped that this would afford our younger families and older FCCers the opportunity to stick around and join us, when it can be hard for them to get out in the evenings, and we were blessed by nearly triple the attendance that we normally have. It was particularly helpful to have the increased input in discussion.
This week, Nikki Andrews shared the message, based on material that she’s been studying about anxiety in life. As Nikki shared, sin, Satan, and our own brokenness can often steal our peace by causing fear and anxiety--which can make us question our sense of self and our identity as beloved children of a Creator who knew what He was doing when He created us. We forget that we are God’s beloved, bought with a price, and we fall victim to believing that we aren’t good enough or aren’t accomplished enough or aren’t personally attractive enough to be loved... even by God...
That’s a dark place to find yourself in your life.
But even then--even when we struggle with that peace because we’ve lost sight of God’s truth about ourselves--it’s not a lost cause by any means. We can reclaim God’s peace by exposing those lies for what they are. Nikki talked about writing them out and then consciously countering each one with a specific and unassailable truth from God’s Word--i.e.; if you believe that you’re too unlovable to be forgiven, try doing a Bible study on all those broken people in Scripture whom God graciously forgave over and over again. But then, some lies are either too big to see clearly that way, or they involve other people in unhealthy ways, so it can also be helpful to verbally articulate them--either to share the lies we believe about ourselves with those whom we love and trust to speak truth to us, or to consciously approach those whom the lies we’ve believed affect or involve, so that they can respond, explain, or correct our misunderstandings.
Long story short, don’t suffer in silence, believing the darkest thoughts that haunt our minds and spirits. Stop and remind yourself of what you know to be true--to be unchangeably true from Scripture--and follow Paul’s injunction in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Don’t let lies become strongholds, and strongholds to become toxic in your life. Exchange the lie for the Truth and trust in the God who knew what He was doing when He created and saved you.