Fishers UMC Blog

The United States of Anxiety

If you read the Fishers UMC blog on a regular basis, you’ve likely figured out that the blog writers consist mostly of a staff rotation.  The rotation is determined some time in December for the entire following year.  The fairly random timing of our assigned weeks made me wonder about the likelihood of the same person having the first blog after the election also having the first blog after inauguration. 

In November I wrote about the disheartening reality of just how divided our country has become – which became undeniably apparent the night of the election.  In the weeks leading up to the election I remember thinking how I just couldn’t wait for it to all be over – but it’s not.  The people of the United States are still struggling to hear one another and appreciate the individual struggles that lead us to such opposite positions.  And when we want our point really heard, we have resorted to fear; that is, making the other opinion “dangerous,” rather than just another opinion.  We are a nation filled with anxiety.

Now, anxiety certainly isn’t a new concept – it’s been around since the first bite of that apple in the Garden.  Anxiety affects our ability to think clearly because it engages the part of your brain that says “danger ahead!” whether or not there’s any real danger.  Managing stress and anxiety are key in being and staying healthy.

So, if you are feeling particularly anxious about current events (or future events) take care of yourself.  Turn the news off.  Give up social media outlets for a few days.  Breathe.  And remember:  there’s no need to worry about tomorrow – tomorrow will worry about itself.  Everyday has its own share of troubles.  (Matthew 6:34, paraphrased).

For more ideas about managing anxiety check out these links:

http://greatist.com/happiness/reduce-anxiety

http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/blissing-out-10-relaxation-techniques-reduce-stress-spot#1

http://psychcentral.com/lib/9-ways-to-reduce-anxiety-right-here-right-now/

Peace,
Pastor Jill Buckler
Director of Congregational Relations
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A Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

As we begin this new year of 2017 our Church Council has created a new Vision Team to help us look intentionally and very carefully at where God is leading Fishers United Methodist Church for the next five or more years and we’re excited!  The process may take some time as we seek to do this right.   Our community and congregation continue to change and grow and we must realign our priorities to be sure we are offering what our changing mission field of Fishers & surrounding community needs.  We will look at our current ministries and priorities and see if there are areas we need to build up and maybe even shift away from if they are not meeting our objectives for impacting our community.  We will dig deep into demographic information and studies to get a clear picture of the people we hope to serve for the sake of Christ; as well as understanding who we as a church are today and will become over the next five years.  Lots of things to think about and so much to do as we start a new year seeking to honor and glorify God in all we do as a church!  So it’s even more important that we keep our focus sharp as we prioritize our lives to be sure we have things in the right perspective and, at the same time, be sure we keep our lives in balance so we can not only maintain our sanity but thrive through what will be an incredibly busy and exhaustive process.  The story I’m about to share may be familiar to you – it’s been around the internet in various versions but I think it is worth sharing.  Sorry, I don’t know the author.  I think you will find it worth the read:  

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.  The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."  The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---God, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.  The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.  The sand is everything else---the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  "Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."  

Anyone want a cup of coffee?  I’m buying……  2017 is on me!

For The Only Cause That Matters,
Pastor Kevin McKinney
Sr. Pastor
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