I'm into chapter two and I'm not sure what I think. There are things I really enjoy and I don't know whether it's our church's ideas or whether it's a published study guide but for each week, there is a challenge. That is something that I am finding very powerful. This week, the challenge was to memorize 1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." We are to make a conscious effort to "live with" this verse in mind this week. That made today an interesting day. Instead of listening to random podcasts on the way to work, I listened to some of my favourite worship music and found myself singing in the car. That was something that had a big impact on me on the way home from work - it had been a very frustrating day and losing myself in "How Great is our God" and "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong United really helped me to shake off the stress of my day and come home with a clear head. I also liked the idea in the chapter that we TRULY need to live our day as if it were our last. That sounds trite but really, it does change the way you do things, when you are trying to live without regrets. It was especially nice because a friend had a crisis with her husband (a serious injury at work) and I was able to go and get her kids and babysit for her until she was done at the hospital and it felt so good to know that today, at least one person I care about knows that I am here for her. It's such a powerful way to make each day matter.
My struggle, though, was in the discussion on worry and stress. Francis Chan stated that worry and stress are a kind of arrogance, a statement that we believe that our challenges and struggles are more important that God. While I can see his point, I really find it hard when people criticize people who worry. For some, sure, they put themselves into situations in which they are going to be stressed and that is a choice. For some of us, though, worry isn't a choice. I will be honest, in August, I went on a low dose of medication for anxiety. I have really struggled with it for years and for some reason, at the end of July and into early August, it got totally out of control. I have tried everything to manage it - prayer, memorizing Bible verses, meditation, breathing strategies, journaling, etc. Nothing helped. Once that cycle of worry begins, I feel as if I have fallen into a pit and I can't get out. I can reason my way through and still, it's like this shadow that I live in all the time. My doctor put me on a low dose of medication and I have to say, my life is totally different. There is not a day that goes by that I don't pause and realise that I am happy - not blissfully, exuberantly happy but I have this sense that I am where I am supposed to be and I am savouring the gifts I am given every day. If what Francis Chan is saying is to be believed, then I am arrogant and think I am better than God - I have a very hard time accepting that my brain chemistry is somehow a reflection of my weak character.
Life everything, I read and try to take the best our of the material and leave behind what doesn't work for me. I think, with this book, there is much good but there are also things I am going to have to look past.
I'll keep you posted.