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  • Pastor Nancy Switzler

Everything Isn't Terrible!: Chapters 2 & 3

The overarching goal of this book is providing tools to help us deal with those things that stress us out…those things to make us anxious. 

Part One "Your Anxious Self” covers four chapters. Last time we looked at the first “Focusing on Yourself". Today, we’ll tackle chapters 2 and 3.

Chapter 2: Thinking and Feeling begins with this quote from John Adams:

“Fact are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

This is a timely reminder for many in our country!

How good are you at distinguishing between your thoughts and your feelings?

Do your feelings ever override what you might know is the correct course of action?

Or do you ever get caught up in the drama of the thoughts and feelings of others? I wonder if some of the challenges experienced within worshiping communities or in our families are because we mix these up.

Some words that increase our anxiety are: “never, no one, definitely, enough, should, and always.” Do you use these when interacting with others?

To be able to recognize our own thoughts and feelings doesn’t mean that we can magically excise anxiety, but rather that we are able to think, and then respond rather than react.

Sometimes we need to just respond to an issue by taking some time first…before we can react.

Chapter 3: Your Pretend Self also opens with a good quote, not from a former president but rather a character from the sitcom The Office - Michael Scott-

"Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked, but it’s not like this compulsive need to be like, like my need to be praised.”

We have two selves. One is our Solid Self- that part of us that is non-negotiable. We may like to think that we are totally solid in the context, but we are not.

The other self is identified as our Pseudo Self.

I don’t even like the word because it seems to be a fancy way of saying “fake self.”

But my friends, that is kind of what it is. Our pseudo self is that part of us that can vary based on our reaction to others…or by who is in the room.

Think of a time you didn’t say what you thought because of what another would think.

Or we depend on the reactions of others for how we see ourselves. Sometimes our feelings are dependent upon what others are feeling or thinking or doing. Here is where fear of rejection can mess us up. In this we give lots of power over our own functioning and feeling to others!

Sometimes we become stuck, as we are so worried about what others might think (or do) that we do nothing. Hmmm…I think we do this a lot in churches!

Think about Pontius Pilate (or many modern-day politicos). He knew it was wrong to execute Jesus. He knew that Jesus hadn’t done anything worthy of the death penalty. He even mentioned this to the crowds. But he also feared the crowds who were calling for Jesus’ death, so instead of thinking for himself he went along. His “washing his hands” of the events was a way to try and self-justify his actions. The reality was, he had the power and responsibility and he allowed the desires of others to dictate his own actions.

So, my friends, what can we do with all this?

I’ll share a summary of chapter 4 next time.

Peace in Christ,

Pastor Nancy

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