Yesterday in the link list, I noted a sermon preached by Ron Edmondson at Grace Community Church in Kenwood and Rossview (Clarksville), Tennessee. In it, he asked his congregation to complete an index card indicating the particular “weights” and burdens they were carrying. Though the cards were anonymous, they collected over 1,000 of them and compiled them statistically showing the areas in which people are struggling.
Here are the results:
I would have guessed that health concerns was high on the list, but presumably included in the section of general anxieties (the green section at 20%) and combined with doubt, which I would think is a whole different matter altogether, this area of concern did not rate #1.
The third largest area, dealing with disappointments from the past, is something I’m dealing with right now. I think a lot of people fall into this category. The sale they didn’t make. The girl that turned down the date. The offer on the house that didn’t go through. I wrote about this a year ago in a review of a Steve Arterburn book I called Regrets, I Have a Few.
But the number one area, as you can see clearly in the pink section, has to do with four areas that I’ll list in bullet points so that together, we can read them slowly and consider each one:
Let’s re-list those differently
- Wishing we had the possessions or status that others have
- Consumed with the image others have of us
- Wanting to ‘play God’ and thereby ‘level the playing field’ of perceived inequities
- Thinking that individual inequities mean that God is unfair, and boiling over with resentment toward Him and/or others
If the stats at Ron’s church are right, this will strike a response with many people reading this, as will other areas included in the chart. God wants to bring healing change into our lives to deal with these issues. In the sermon attached to the link with the graphic — if you have problems switch over to his church site and simply listen to the audio — he tells stories of people whose life journey has involved intense pain. It can be so hard to move on. It can be so difficult not to “be defined by” the circumstances of personal life history.
While Ron’s focus is on the burdens we carry, I think it’s fair to also mention that we need to be sensitive to the needs of others around us who are carrying their burdens.
Ron asks his congregation these questions:
- What do you need to leave behind?
- What changes do you need to make in your life in order to live fully for Christ?
- What failures do you need to forget.
- What disciplines do you need to take on?
- Whom do you need to forgive?
- What grudge do you need to release?
- What burden do you need to give back to God?
- Do you need to trust God more?
- Do you need to serve others more?
Ron concludes, “One of the roadblocks to your future may be the past that you refuse to let go of.”
To listen to the entire sermon as a podcast, click here and select 1/2/2011