Sabbatical Reflections, Part Two

One of the things I prayed about during my sabbatical was the stressful nature of our lives. My job is stressful – I’m guessing yours is too. At the same time, I live with some anxiety and worry.  Perhaps we all do, but at times mine is far too much… too much to be healthy, too much to be helpful for the life of faith.


After a great deal of consideration, I came to the conclusion that I was assuming the cause of my anxiety and worry was the stress of my job. Of course, job and life stressors are contributing factors. But the Lord has been showing me that I have to make a choice when it comes to my spiritual and mental health. I can ride the roller coaster of emotions and assume “this is just the way it is,” or I can choose to get off the ride. No doubt life and work will remain stressful, but how I respond to that stress is up to me.


In our Christian faith, we talk a lot about surrender. I realize I was surrendering, but rather than surrendering to the power of God, I was surrendering to the stress of my life. No more. I cannot be a victim of my circumstances and expect to be effective in my role as pastor, husband, and father. I cannot ride every wave of fear and anxiety and expect to have peace in Christ.


What’s funny is that I have understood this concept intellectually for many years. Of course, putting it into practice is much harder than just knowing it. I am committed to surrendering myself to the Lord’s care. I invite you to do the same. Here is a word for us from First Peter 5:


6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.


With gratitude for you,

Pastor Brad