Wanna Get Away From It All?

Wanna Get Away From It All?

What do you do when you are busy, over-worked, stressed, anxious, depressed, feeling down or just plain worn out? Is your first instinct to reach out to someone for support, encouragement, comfort, and companionship? Or do you tend to hunker down, keep to yourself, and trudge through whatever life has thrown at you until you can make it to the other side?

For whatever reason, I’ve noticed a tendency among people throughout our community towards isolation when life gets tough. That is, when we feel down or depressed, we isolate ourselves. When we feel anxious and stressed, we become detached. When we are over-worked and worn out, we disconnect from others and get out of town.

Now, I know that sometimes we need alone time. Sometimes we need to distance ourselves from work. Sometimes we need a vacation. But I have also noticed how these things rarely deal with depression, stress, and fatigue. In other words, sometimes the escape is nothing more than a temporary respite from the deep and ongoing concerns of our lives. While sometimes we need the escape, we forget that escape doesn’t solve the problems we face.

What if we stopped trying to escape? What if instead of isolating, detaching, and disconnecting, we tried contacting, attaching and connecting? What if we stopped running away from one another when the going gets tough? What is we started running towards one another?

Maybe part of the solution to fatigue and anxiety and depression is leaning in to the people who love you, support you, stand with you, and follow God alongside of you. Maybe, just maybe, part of the answer to life’s difficulties is the family of faith right at your fingertips. Maybe instead of running from the tough stuff, we should run towards the community of Christ followers that we call church.

Is this because you will find answers from a sermon or bible study of something practical to do with the problem you are facing? No, not necessarily. (although sometimes that does happen!) You see, what is more important than some simple answer to your troubles is the people in your life with whom you surround yourself in prayer, fellowship, support, and encouragement. And one of the best and greatest resources of people in your life for these things is your church family!

When things get tough, don’t bow out and stay home. Instead, get up, get out, and get to church. Allow yourself to connect with God and others. Allow a hymn to lift your spirit. Allow a prayer to encourage you.  Allow a sermon to whisper into your heart. Allow communion to strengthen you with the nourishment of love and grace. Allow the organ to soothe your soul. Allow the congas to reset the rhythm of your life. Allow the Lord’s Prayer to center your mind and refocus your thoughts. Allow a hand to to grasp yours in love and support.

You see, every time we gather together as the body of Christ, there are so many gifts you can receive from the gathered community: support, encouragement, nurture, nourishment. These are the kinds of gifts that help guide you through the tough stuff of life. These gifts build resilience, the kind of resilience that Paul talks about in Romans 5 when he says:

We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that this suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

There is a link between each of these words Paul uses. Paul says that one produces the other. But Paul is not talking about the individual. Paul is not saying that suffering produces perseverance when you are isolated, detached, or disconnected. Quite the opposite. Look at the context. Paul writes we and our throughout this chapter of his letter. Paul is speaking about the faith community gathered together. It is within the faith community that suffering produces perseverance. It is within the faith community that perseverance produces character. It is within the faith community that character produces hope.

So, the next time you are feeling down, done, or depressed, don’t try to escape. Try connecting. Try community. Try church. You may just find the resilience you need to put the tough stuff behind you for good.

This Week:

Wednesday, September 18th, 1:30 pm – Prayer & Inspiration
Wednesday, September 18th, 6:30 pm – Choir Practice
Thursday, September 19th, 3:00 pm – Ladles of Love Meal Preparation & Delivery
Saturday, September 21st, A Little Pumpkin is on the Way.  You are invited to a Baby Shower honoring Terri & Tyler Barefoot,  4:00 – 6:00 PM at the Gleneagles Clubhouse.  Terri & Tyler are registered at Target & Amazon. RSVP to 910-289-0141.
Sunday, September 22nd , 9:45 am – Sunday School Series
Sunday, September 22nd, 11:00 am – Worship, Pastor Eric Thorton preaching

Upcoming Events:

**Save the date cards are being sent out for Homecoming/130th Anniversary Celebration on October 20th.  We have more postcards available in the church office.  We would love your help making sure we get the word out.  Please send postcards to former church members, family members, friends, and others who we want to welcome back for this special time of worship together.

**We are looking for folks to help us with Sanctuary Flowers each week. It is a great way to honor or remember someone special in your life.  Flowers can be a homemade arrangement, artificial or real, or provided from a local florist.  There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board outside of the children’s classroom.

**The next Fellowship Meal is Sunday, September 29th immediately following worship. Our menu is casseroles.


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