Here's how Chan's describes worry and stress:
"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 towards others, or our tight grip of control." p. 42
Chan goes on to say, "Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed. Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are?" p. 42
To be honest, I've stepped away from my computer a few times, just to sort this out in my head...not necessarily to digest what Chan's saying, but, instead, what he might be implying. I think what he's saying is pretty straight forward. When we worry and stress out about the circumstances of our lives we are doing two things: #1- Not trusting that God is in control; #2- saying that our problems and worry are superior, or as Chan says, "exceptional."
Chan refers to worry and stress as sin; however, I think he's letting us off WAY TOO EASY!!! I don't think it's sin. I think it's far worse than sin...I think it's unbelief. If we allow worry and stress to infiltrate our minds, then here's what we're saying: We DON'T believe God IS who He says He IS! Don't get me wrong. I fully acknowledge that we are imperfect beings. We will be attacked by the temptation to worry about and stress over certain situations for the rest of our lives here on Earth. However, our problem is firmly rooted in the fact that when those doubts begin to creep into our thoughts...we don't acknowledge what they really are. It's in those times that we start to doubt God. We doubt who He is. We doubt what He's promised us. We doubt His sovereignty and plan for our lives.
We so easily forget that what WE have planned for our lives, the lives of our children, the lives of our friends...might not be a part of God's plans. When life steers off the course we've laid out, I think it's only natural to get a little anxious, a little stressed. But, it's at that precise moment when we MUST remind ourselves of who God is. (Remember His characteristics?) For me, I think this is the first step in becoming more authentic in my faith. There are some who call themselves Christians only because they want the "fire insurance" of eternity. They're covering their bases, so to speak. I personally know a few "Christians" that don't care to know who God is. They've professed their faith. They go to church. They're good people...and I can testify to that. But they don't believe that God IS who He says He IS. And, I truly feel that this is one of the major problems we face here in the States. God wants more from us than to just be good people. Our purpose here is to do God's work; to be used by him. But, it's a lot harder to be effective when we suffer from unbelief. Not impossible mind you...just harder!
I'd like you to share this blog entry with someone and then talk about it. (I know that a lot of you do this anyway...but today it's your homework!) Do you believe that worry and stress are sin or do you think it shows a level of unbelief? You might be surprised by the conversation.