Quotable: Francis Chan on Stress and Worry

From Crazy Love:

When I am consumed by my problems – stressed out by my life, my family, 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 is 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.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s ok 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?

[Crazy Love, chapter 2, pp 41-42]

This is my second time through Crazy Love, reading it the first time after hearing him speak at the NYWC in Pittsburgh last fall.  It is because of spiritual sledge hammers like the above that I took it up again.  This time around, I’m going through it more slowly, journaling my reactions and revelations, and using the DVD resource – which is a lot like sitting with Francis Chan and having a conversation about the chapters.  The DVD video segments are engaging, beautifully produced, and it should be noted that they are not identical to those which have been available on the website as they bring some different points of discussion to the table.

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2 Responses to “Quotable: Francis Chan on Stress and Worry”

  1. Michelle
    February 14, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    Does Chan indicate any consideration that stress is, or can be, physical? That it exists in the body and in the brain and is sometimes beyond a person’s control?

    I’m not sure that anyone, adult or youth, who is already struggling with anxiety needs the added guilt of being told their feelings are a sin.

    Perhaps you could offer some context?

  2. patti
    February 14, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    The context is actually completely in the first line. It has to do with the focus, is my focus as a follower of Christ on “my” agenda (the to-do list, the goal list, the wants, the esteem, the brand of “me”) and resulting in my being worried about accomplishment of it or stressed about the sheer bulk of it; or is it on God?

    He’s not talking at all about mental illness of any degree. He’s a pastor, passionately addressing the sinful idol we create of our own importance, and how that causes us to relate to God and each other.

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