Stress: Under New Management: How To Keep Your Tank Filled Instead Of Running On Empty
When you drive, how low do you let the gas tank get before you fill it up? Have you ever run out of gas, even when the warning light told you that you were running on empty? In this message, we learn how to start your day with a full tank, watch your gauges, recognize your limits, and allow time to refuel. Find out how to keep your tank filled by giving up control, learning to trust Jesus, and starting every day topped off with the right fuel.
Something To Talk About:
- Get fed up with how you’ve been feeling: When life is hard, heartbreaking or even just disappointing, it’s easy to get a little fed up. Especially when we feel as if life should be one way, but instead it’s another way entirely. When this happens, we can easily get stuck in a negative mindset. When our lives are filled with obligations we “have to” meet, or responsibilities we know we “should” or “must” do, we can feel as if there is no way out and be unhappy about the perception of being stuck. Nothing is going to change in your life until you get dissatisfied with it. Dissatisfied to the point where you say, “I’m not going to live this way anymore. I’m going to change.” You have to come to some point in your life where you go, “I have had enough. I refuse to live this way any longer.” It is a point of dissatisfaction. I don’t have to let discontentment poison my heart and mind. I don’t have to let the things that are not perfect cause me to take life itself for granted. And I certainly don’t have to let unhappiness with some things blind me to all the wonderful things in my life God has given me that bring me true joy. This is exactly what Paul was teaching in Philippians 4:12. Paul told the church at Philippi, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (NIV) We can’t make a comeback until we admit our setback. If you’re unwilling to admit that you have a setback, and that you’re empty, that you need God’s help in your life, nobody can help you right now. We can’t have a comeback. Every comeback requires a setback first. But you have got to admit it.
- Come to Jesus: It means you bring the good and the bad in your life. You bring the frustrating and the painful. You bring the shameful things in your life. You bring the exhausting things in your life. You bring everything to Jesus and you come to Jesus. Jesus says this: “If you’re tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I’ll give you rest.” The antidote to your emptiness, your overload is Jesus. It’s not a program for stress relief. It’s not a philosophy. It’s not a program. It’s not a pill. It’s a person. You come to Jesus. In the Bible people came to Jesus for a variety of reasons. Some came for healing, some came to Jesus for advice. Some came for eternal life, some because they had a question. You know what, Jesus didn’t care why people came to Him as long as they came to Him. Jesus doesn’t care why you come to Him, just that you come to Him. John 6:37, Jesus says, “However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” The world says when you’re empty inside, you need to do more. You need to have more, you need more things. You need to make more money. That’s why you’re empty. Jesus said, “No, don’t go, come. Come to me. And come just as you are.” He’s not going to nag you, not going to judge you. He’s going to give you peace.
- Give up control: You see, the real reason for overload in your life is because we try to control things too much. We act subconsciously as if it all depends on us. I have to hold everything together. I got to make it all happen. But the greater you need to control things, the more overloaded and stressed you’re going to be in life. Now, this principle of giving up control to God is all through the Scriptures. And it’s really the antidote for peace. Psalm 55:22, “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” The message version says, “Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders— he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out…” Pile it on His shoulders. The real reason why letting go and letting God take control can be difficult is because we don’t fully know the character of God. Like all close relationships that we have in our lives, when we intentionally begin investing more in our relationship with Him by spending more time with Him, our relationship with Him grows more intimate. And as a result, our understanding (and as a consequence our trust) in Him deepens.
- Learn to trust: Learning is a process. You don’t learn it overnight. You didn’t develop your overloaded lifestyle overnight. You’re probably not going to get out of it overnight. But you’re going to learn to trust. What was Jesus’ secret of peace? He only did what the Father told him to do and didn’t worry about the rest. Read the book of John: 12 times in the book of John, Jesus says, “I only do what the Father tells Me.” And He says, follow my model. We need to start trusting God? Proverbs 20:24 says , “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Psalm 142:3 says this: “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn…” We simply need to learn to trust Him.
- What is involved in your life for your tank to be running on empty?
- What will it take for you to get fed up with a circumstance that has been draining your tank and make a change?
- Have you tried coming to Jesus when you needed rest for your soul and what was the result? If not, what’s holding you back?
- What are some ways you can start your day by focusing on Jesus?
- How does fear of the future and wanting to be in control relate?
- What area of your life do you find yourself consistently fearful of what might come or what won’t come? Why do you think it’s hard to let go of control and trust God for your future?
- What would prevent you from waking up tomorrow and giving God full control of your life? What are some steps you can take to let go and let God have control?
- Are you the type of individual that trusts yourself rather than God, and if so, why? How can you learn to trust in God?
- How does our lack of trust in tough times illustrate our distrust in God’s ability and/or His character?
- What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?
Take one thing home with you:
If trusting God during trouble allows us to learn something new about God, it also holds up a full-length mirror for each of us. It is in times of trouble, that shows us how far we have come or have to go in our relationship with God. It shows us the depth and quality of our faith. Using the garden example, each time we plant a garden we should be better prepared for any trouble that comes long. We will experience problems in gardening and in life. When times of trouble come along, more often than not faith and trust in God is the answer.