Sunday, March 31, 2019

Anxious and depressed?

I was sitting in Church this morning at Venue Church this morning and a song came on that I really love, "No longer Slaves" The title is more provocative than the lyrics. The essence of the song says I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God. As I was singing it It always reminds me of the old hymn "I am  Child of God". I don't know why it resonated with me more today than it has in the past, maybe having my children grow up Child means something different depending on what stage of development you find yourself in.

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In the same way, we often relate God the Father to our Earthly father. We tend to relate "Child of God" to a child but the level of maturity of the child much like the level of maturity of our fathers affects, in a great way, the way we view that term. The Bible gives us only earthly words to describe the indescribable, so our understanding of God at times is limited to our understanding of language, story, and nuance. 

Sometimes when a child is small the parent is an absolute necessity. They would not function or eat, and struggle to exist without the parent. There are times when a child needs a place of refuge, the world has become too much in the moment. The dragons have become too large and their breath too hot. They flee to the arms of the parent that is larger and able to protect or even slay the dragon for them. 

If I could look back and redo physical childhood, there are a few things I would change. Obviously, I would appreciate the lack of responsibility that came with it. Swinging on a swingset without worry or the stress of what you are doing with your life. Just being. The other part the part more integral to what I am discussing is the learning of skills that would make us more adept at adulthood. 

"We are raising adults." "We are raising adults." Many of us as parents using the phrase raising kids, and that is what many of us have done. We have raised a generation of children rather than adults ready to take on the world. This is the goal of every parent or at least it should be to raise adults capable of taking on the world in front of them and conquering the dragons that they will inevitably encounter. 

This is part of what it means to be a child of God. That we are in a relationship where we are being formed and matured to look like the Father. We are children in the sense that God is our father, but we miss at times that father is not just the protector from the big bad wolf He is also the one that pushes us into places that are difficult as well as one who lets his children make mistakes and encounter the consequences of those actions. 

What does he want to teach us?

The passage that was delivered while I was contemplating this was from the sermon on the mount. Matthew 6: 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

It is a passage centered around worry and anxiety. Something I have become more attuned to in the last year. It ties in very well with this idea of no longer being a slave to fear. Jordan Peterson says it this way. "It is no surprises that some of us have bouts with depression and anxiety, its no surprise. The real surprise is why aren't we all depressed and anxious. 

The Crux of the matter then is these two things. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.

How do we seek His Kingdom?

Well, how on earth do we do that? What is his Kingdom and what does it look like? We can't really know what Heaven looks like but we know That Jesus prayed for it to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Heaven is the ultimate ideal for the community. We ought to live in such a way that we bring some sort of justice to the world. What can you change about your community and what are you willing to change? 

Then to seek first His Righteousness is similar. If heaven is the ideal for community, then Jesus is the idea for the individual. SO we ask ourselves or pray. What in me is not measuring up? What could I change and what would I be willing to change? 

If we seek after these two ideals, the rest of the things that cause us to worry, won't go away but maybe when we are pursuing something meaningful and doing good things in the world and in our own being, then maybe at least the suffering and the anxiety will be worth something. Or at the least, it won't be the main focus.  

He is raising adults, not children. What is something you should change about you and are willing to change?