Do you ever feel overwhelmed by everything going on in your life? Does it ever get to the point where you experience battles with high levels of anxiety, depression, or even panic attacks? Anxiety and depression have become so common today, yet church can often seem like a place where it’s hard to open up and share honestly about what is going on inside. Listen to Pastor Kevin’s conversation about mental health with David Grauwiler (Execuctive Director Alberta Division of Canadian Mental Health Association).
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
Objective: to take inventory of the amount of margin we have in our lives.
SG leader, pick the person who worked the most hours this week to open in prayer.
- When in life have you been most stressed out? Describe the scenario. What happened?
- Margin is the amount available beyond what is necessary. In other words, it is the difference between what you have and what you need. Explain what margin looks like in your life right now.
SG leader, choose someone to read Luke 10:38-42.
In this passage, Martha gives us a perfect illustration of what living without margin looks like. Martha was so distracted preparing for Jesus’ visit that she forgot the most important thing—simply spending time with Jesus.
- Do you think Martha gets a bad rap in this story? Why is Mary’s choice better? What’s Jesus’ point?
- Martha goes to Jesus in an attempt to force Mary’s hand. How has stress caused relational dysfunction in your life?
- Jesus observes that Martha is worried about many things. What are some things that are causing stress in your life?
- When margin decreases, stress increases. How is a lack of margin causing stress in your life right now? Be honest.
- What are some specific ways you can begin the process of reducing stress in your life by creating more margin?
- When margin decreases, your relational intimacy decreases. How does stress restrict intimacy with God and others?
- A lack of margin can reflect a lack of faith. In what areas do you need to give up control and put your faith in God?
- A lack of margin can also reflect idolatry. What are some things that you are placing above God? Be honest.
SG leader, pick two people to read Matthew 11:28-29 and Psalm 46:10.
These verses tell us that if we come to Jesus and be still and rest before Him, our souls will be satisfied.
- How have you found rest and comfort through Jesus? What does this look like in your life?
- While it sounds simple, why do you think it is so difficult for many of us to rest and be still before Jesus?
- What is one adjustment you are going to make in your life this week in light of today’s discussion? Be specific.
Pray for one another
Have each person write down a prayer request for him or herself. Distribute them amongst group members. Pray for each other. Then be sure everyone keeps praying for his or her person throughout the week and texts or phones to check on them.
Here are some specific things you can do this week to take a step toward living life with the margin God intends for your life.
Take time to rest this week with Christ. This time could consist of praying, reading the Bible, or just enjoying some quiet time alone. Be creative. Remove the distractions for just a little while and allow Him an opportunity to renew your soul and your mind.
Begin the process of reducing some of the stress in your life this week. Identify one or more things that are creating too much stress and create a plan to reduce that stress. Not only write down your plan of action, but have someone hold you accountable as you carry out your plan.
Use these prayer tips to guide your time with God this week:
- Bring to God those areas of your life that are causing stress. Ask God to help you in removing that stress.
- Seek God’s guidance through prayer for ways He wants to create more margin in your life.
- Confess to God in prayer those things that you are placing ahead of Him. Commit to God that you will put Him first.
- Be still and rest before God during your prayer time. Allow Him to comfort you and renew your mind and soul.
- Lay your burdens down before God in prayer. Tell Him what is weighing you down and trust Him to carry them for you. Seek His comfort and love.