How are you feeling these days: discouraged and overwhelmed, pessimistic and depressed, anxious and confused, or joyful and expectant?
It is the morning after the 2010 elections and the results are now history. Regardless of how we may feel about the results, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that we will no longer be subjected to those political attack ads!
Typical of most midterm elections, the party that was out of power has made substantial gains, but the strength of the reversal is unusual. There hasn’t been such a large reversal of Congressional seats since the mid 1930’s when we were in the Great Depression. Two years ago the country voted for change, and in a landslide, rejected the policies of the party now being welcomed back in a tidal wave of incumbent turnovers. Can the political climate change this radically in just two years?
It can and will during times of great anxiety and uncertainty, when people are searching for solutions that will re-establish a sense of security and control. Historical analysts tell us that radical shifts in political sentiment are indicative of an unstable society being tossed from political pillar to post, anxiously grabbing at straws, and looking for a quick fix to establish a comfortable status quo.
I travel the world, and everywhere I go these days I meet worried, anxious people who are experiencing the disruption of everything they were depending on. Their lives are in a state of perpetual flux and their problems have grown to what feel like insurmountable levels. Sound familiar?
For some, that dream house of a few years ago has become a nightmare as they are now trapped in an upside down mortgage with large monthly payments. They agonize over whether to stay and throw their money down a pit knowing they may never retrieve it, or walk away and destroy their good credit rating. Others have watched their retirement plans fizzle as investment next eggs eroded in value with the precipitous stock market fall. Now retirement is on permanent hold, and they just anxiously hope they can continue to stay employed.
I meet students who are disillusioned, their education plans fading as tuition costs skyrocket. They wonder just how much debt they should realistically take on in pursuit of their degree. Higher education used to be the ticket to a better job and a secure future, but now students worry about what job market will exist when they graduate. For many young adults the present uncertainties mean delaying decisions like getting a place of their own, getting married or starting a family.
As people focus on their problems, they become more hopeless and confused. The writer of James expressed it this way: “For the one who wavers is like the billowing surge out at sea, that is blown hither and thither, tossed by the wind. For being a person unable to decide, he hesitates, is unstable and uncertain about everything he thinks and feels.” (James 1:6,8)
God knows that what we attend to grows in our awareness and defines our world and possibilities. If we focus on problems, we magnify them and give them power over us. We become trapped in an endless cycle of worry, wondering: “Now what do I do?” God never intended for us to tackle problems alone. He wants us to focus on solutions rather than our problems. How do we become solution focused? We worship God.
Surprised? Worship is not a set of religious acts we perform together in a church on Sunday morning. Worship is an invitation from God to become involved in a relationship of intimacy with Him, as we focus on His attributes and character. As He grows in our awareness, our problems and pending decisions shrink, and we become acquainted with His capability and desire to assist us. Our hope is restored and life becomes doable and joyful again!
Come and join us this Sunday at 10:30 am as we begin a new series for November, called “Wired for Worship.” The sermon this week is “Worship and the Kingdom.” We hope to see you there!