Wake up, drink coffee, go to work, deal with people, use the restroom, wait in traffic, eat dinner, watch TV, fall asleep. Rinse and repeat. This, or some variation on this theme, is the daily rhythm and grind of life for many people. We get twenty-four hours a day and those days come one after the other. Sometimes we are swimming ahead and with a glorious shout we revel in our lives, and sometimes it seems like it’s just taking everything we got to keep from being pulled under by the currents around us. To feel all of this, and to struggle with it from time to time, is normal. On Sunday Pastor Jeff said that it is in the midst of our human condition that we must keep our eyes on Christ, day in and day out.
One thing we can tend to forget, and that we were rightly reminded of, is that the first Christians in the early Church dealt with the same things. They too felt the daily grind and roughness of life as imperfect humans. They too at times wondered about their purpose, about eternity and the point of it all. Some of us grew up as Christians and have drifted since. Some of us turned to God in the midst of a low of immense brokenness and pain because at that point God was all we had. Christians throughout history have found many ways to God and they have also drifted and been overwhelmed by life. We worry, we get tired, we get hurt, and we lose focus of who we are giving ourselves to.
If you are someone who worries a lot, or who is hurting right now, I will not tell you to stop worrying and to stop hurting. Rather, I will tell you that I love you and that both God and his family loves you. If you are struggling to find meaning, if you are feeling complacent, I will say that God made you and that you are a part of an unbroken chain of his children from the beginning until the end. You can lean into the creator of the universe who is a source of infinite love, strength, and wisdom. How cool is that? If you ask for prayer from the prayer team at Skyline, we’ll respond. If you want to reach out, we are here to encourage.
In dealing with life, one simple suggestion from the sermon is that we think about what we are focusing on. What are your emotions wrapped up in, where are you spending your money and time? What commands your affections? If you want to put down something, then pick something up. To shrug off complacency, lethargy, anxiety, pain, or a bad habit seek to replace those things something else. For Christians that means focusing on God, on the eternal Church, and the mission you are a part of.
A few actionable, but gentle, suggestions: Less TV and more time with your friends and family in Christ, both on Sunday mornings and outside of the church. Treating your body, a temple where the Holy Spirit dwells, right by getting the sleep you need to be mentally and physically healthy (we have the Sabbath for a reason people!). Taking a five or ten minute stroll outside in the sun while praying as a daily morale boost and way to break the monotony. Starting your prayers by thanking God for what you have, leading to greater faith in him. Actually praying for others, especially your enemies (and not just saying you will). Not playing sad music that just feeds into the negative emotions one is dealing with (look I know Adele is awesome but please don’t listen to her if you’re struggling with depression).
Take a step, even if it is just a small one. All humanity is struggling with the same things, the same emotional highs and lows, the same questions. God is here and so is the Church. Plug in and don’t tap out.
At the end of Lecrae’s song Hang On, he calls his grandma to express his concerns over all that is happening in his life. In response, his grandma partially quotes Matthew 6:33, saying wisely and kindly, “Well, let me tell you what the good Lord say, He said don't be anxious about yo' life. What you gon' eat or what you gon' drink or about yo' body. See, life is more than food, and the body is more than for clothing. Birds in the sky, they don't sow, they don't reap, but yo' heavenly Father feeds ‘em. So, He say just seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to ya'. See, life ain't for you to control, or carry all the burdens. That's why ya' give ya' life to Him. Hang on.” [Emphasis added]
John Dale Grover is a native of San Antonio, Texas and attended Bowdoin College in Maine. Currently he is a graduate student in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. He loves board games and owns way too many books. John is also an advocate for self-care and mental health.