Currently MPCYouth is working through a series called “Stressed Out.” It is about the fact that everything in our lives causes us stress or has the potential to cause us stress. We have to decide to either get swept up in the stress of life or take a stand. What we are learning is that there is no way we can make a stand on our own. The only way we can make a stand is with God behind and before us giving stability, guidance, and peace.
The three main habits we are trying to cultivate is, 1) Casting your cares on Him because He cares for you. 2) Trading your stress for his Strength. 3) Choosing joy now. The first habit is based off the passage from 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” While we talked, we wrote down the things that cause us stress or anxiety and at the end of our discussion we symbolically shredded the papers in a monster paper shredder to symbolize our casting off anxiety. It felt great do give up those things to God.
The second habit of trading stress for his strength comes from Proverbs 29:25. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” The idea here is that we often fear what others think of us, or we stress out about disappointing people (I know I do, it is one of my greatest weaknesses). However, we need to break the fear that causes stress in our lives and simply trust in the Lord. Trust that He loves us despite our brokenness and that we are always welcomed unconditionally.
The last habit is one of the hardest: choosing joy now. It is not so hard to find something which makes you laugh or feel good in the moment but choosing deep and abiding joy requires we give up our anxiety, fear, and stress. Oftentimes we hold on to those things because we think they define us, we think they motive us. Fear is a powerful motivator but it has been proven to be short lived and completely inferior to the motivation of joy and love. We see in Acts 16 that Paul and Silas have been beaten and imprisoned but they, “... were praying and singing hymns to God,” despite their dire circumstances. They found their joy and identity in Christ not in their stress and anxiety. We should do the same.
The main verse through this whole series is Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Just as we have been encouraging the youth to go to Christ with our weariness, stress, and anxiety, I encourage you too. Don’t let your stress define you, let your love, peace, and joy which comes from Christ be what defines you.
Director of Youth Ministries