Serving Millennials on the Journey Toward Significant Life
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Crazy Love .1 of 3

Now and then you read a book that meets you with perfect timing. Crazy Love by Francis Chan was that book for me. How to best know that Tyler really likes a book? He does more than one post on it.

I heard Francis speak at the Willow Arts Conference in June. I had 3 highlights: listening to Ross Parsley, listening to Brian McLaren, and listening to Francis Chan. I now listen to Chan’s messages on podcast as often as I can. He is an incredible speaker. I have one reason that I think Chan has credibility. His church gives 55% of their total budget to social causes around the world and in their community of Simi Valley, California. Telling you this isn’t meant to make him sound like the perfect pastor. I just love that God has used him to grow a church and yet as they’ve grown they have given more and more money away.

Now for the stuff Chan talks about in his book.

A few weeks ago I was as stressed as I’ve been in a long time. Then I read this in Francis’ book (below). Needless to say, it didn’t sit well with me. I put the book down and read it again a few days later. I think he speaks a large amount of truth here. 

“When I am consumed by my problems-stressed out about my life, my family, and my job-I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a “right” to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities.

Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives. Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control” (39-40).

My prayer: Father forgive me for all the times I worry and get stressed out over things that are completely in your control. I do you a disservice by holding onto my life so tightly. Help me to understand what it means to live by faith and trust in You.

Do you think anxiety and stress are sins?

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  • Sovann

    That’s a good prayer. Looking forward to the series. I just saw a video podcast last week from Catalyst and started watching his podcasts. The excerpt from the book on the booksite totally is where I’m at with church right now.

  • Yonas

    Although the bible does say “Do not be anxious”, I don’t think it’s a ‘sin’ to be anxious or to stress out (like I did last night…BIG time among other things..mentally/psychologically burned out was another).

    Just my thoughts.

  • Lindsey

    Actually, Yonas, Phillipians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV)

    That’s one of my favorite Bible verse because I find such comfort and reassurance in it, but it’s probably also the one I struggle with the most.

    I worry a lot, almost always about things I have absolutely no control over and I get stressed very easily. And I know my relationships with others suffer when I do get that way, because I don’t want to be bothered with anything except what I (falsely) think is so urgent.

    I think anxiousness and stress become sin when you let them control your entire mindset, when you don’t turn your attitude over to God and relinquish control. I think maybe anxiousness and stress are signs that you’re making idols of stuff in your life (school, family, work, etc etc) and therefore taking your focus away from God. The deeper issue, I guess, is not that you’re stressed but WHY you’re stressed.

    Just my opinion. :)

  • Yonas

    Yes, that was the verse I was thinking :)

  • Jonathan Brink

    I wonder if the issue is if it is a sin, which has a way of piling on the shame, or that it is breaking us, which invites us to restoration. I choose to latter. Unfortunately Chan doesn’t come across that way in your quote. Perhaps he does in the rest.

  • ash

    Anxiousness can certainly cause sin, but is an emotion and therefore I don’t believe that it is sin in and of itself. Anger is an emotion and is not sinful, but we should be careful that it doesn’t cause us to sin. The verse, to me, was meant to encourage us b/c I believe that God understands we can get stressed out and frustrated. What he’s asking of us, is that before we sin and it becomes a source of pride (or a bad attitude toward others)- that we give it to him, “cast our cares,” relax and let go.

  • Tyler

    Jonathan- I agree sin can have a feel of a piling of shame. But at the same time, if it is sin then it is our judge to change how we live. We shouldn’t avoid sin because of the shame we might feel, we should avoid it because it takes away from our relationship to Chris. I think Chan gets there, just later on in the book.

    Ash- Interesting, still chewing on this. Seems easier said than done…but of course, what isn’t? Like what you said though for sure.

  • Melinda Groth

    Oh dear. This one is a trigger/hot spot for me. The number of times this has come up in prayer requests is boggling.
    So let’s pray and have grace and compassion for all of those amongst us who have anxiety disorders. This is well beyond their ability to control without healing help. I have seen that one verse, out of context, used to shame those that fit this category and it breaks my heart. They do not choose to have the anxiety, by choice. Instead, it is often triggered by significant events that have happened in their lives, switching on the disorder. Adding shame and accusatory finger pointing is not healing. It is additionally crippling. We as fellow believers have the opportunity to be healers, when we show compassion and grace.

  • Lindsey

    haha, Yonas I totally read your comment wrong the first time. I read, “The Bible DOESN’T say…” Because I’m dumb. Sorry about that. :)

  • Yonas

    Ah now your post makes sense! (the misread part..not the dumb part) :)

    All is well.

  • Jan Owen

    I’m not sure I think they are sins. I think what we do with them can be sins. Just like anger. I think being stressed or anxious is a reality that we get to decide what we will do with. I feel like an expert on this after the past few years and being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Disorder as a result. I’ve had to learn to handle these feelings in a Godly way. So I’ve learned to pray through situations, to check my perspective, my motivations, to explore WHY I might feel this way and to bring that to God. I’ve learned to be thankful for small things and to realize I don’t have all the answers and life on earth is not going to be heaven. I’ve also learned some hard truths. Ministry is messy, it is tough, it can be dang hard. Being a parent? ditto. This is just the truth. I need to accept that reality and love people in the midst of that. God is really teaching me this.

    I DO think that using stress and anxiety as an excuse to treat others poorly or make unwise choices is a sin. I’ve had days that I wanted to “kick the dog” so to speak (I don’t have a dog!), but that’s when I have to really get on my face before God and examine my heart and pray.

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