When was the last time you felt totally out of control? Maybe it was when your car hydroplaned, just for a second. Or maybe your plans got changed at the last minute leaving you with nothing to do. Or maybe a friend or family member’s behavior left you shaking your head. We all have moments like that—moments that leave us feeling tense, anxious, and wondering how we’re supposed to handle it all. The problem is, sometimes those out-of-control moments end up becoming a regular part of our lives. Whether it is with the stress and uncertainty of our future, the pressure that comes with our relationships with others or even the anxiety of where we are with God, chaos can start to feel like it’s everywhere. It’s no surprise that God never intended for our lives to be defined by stress. Thankfully He doesn’t tell us to handle it on our own, either. He invites us to bring our worries and anxiety to Him. And when do, we find that He doesn’t just remove the chaos from our lives. He replaces it with something better—peace.
Session One: Stressed
Bottom Line: God holds your future, so you can focus on the present. (stress flowchart)
What stresses you out? Is it school? Work? Money? Everyone has something that tops the list for them. If we’re honest, we know that sometimes stress is helpful. It helps us to make deadlines and can motivate us to make wise choices. But there’s also a darker side, isn’t there? Left unchecked and unmanaged, our healthy stress can quickly turn into distress, making our lives feel chaotic, out of control and leaving us paralyzed. Maybe that’s why the Bible has so much to say about it. God knows that our tendency toward stress and anxiety isn’t His best for us, and through the wise advice found in Proverbs, He teaches us how to handle it all.
Session Two: Approved
Bottom Line: What God thinks > what they think.
Relationships are complicated. Parents. Grandparents. Girlfriends. Boyfriends. Teachers. Friends. Teammates. They all have the potential to stress us out. Whether it’s trying to impress your friends, keep a boyfriend/girlfriend happy or please parents who never seem satisfied, we all feel the pressure to win other’s approval in some way. It’s exhausting, and nothing brings chaos to our lives like the constant pressure of wondering if everyone likes or accepts us. But what else can we do? Pretend like it doesn’t bother us? Live our lives as if no one else matters? And, is it really even possible to not care what anyone thinks? The book of Proverbs offers another option. And while it doesn’t make us immune to the pressure to impress others, it does provide a way out. A way to step out of the chaos that it brings to our lives and begin to move toward peace.
Session Three: Done
Bottom Line: God values your presence over your performance
Many of us can relate to the problem of having too much to do. Between school, work, family, and friends, there always seems to be more on our list than we have time for. That’s why it can feel so discouraging to go to church and hear about how much more we should be doing in our relationship with God. Read the Bible. Serve in children’s ministry. Go on a mission’s trip. And do all of that while keeping a good attitude, giving regularly, and a whole list of other things. It’s exhausting. And it can leave us feeling discouraged and distant, like God is continually disappointed in us. But what if this was never how He intended for us to live? In a conversation with His followers, Jesus painted a very different picture. And what He says has the power to change the way we see our to-do list and bring us closer to Him in the process.