At Gateway Church in Austin, Carlos Ortiz, our Gateway North Austin pastor shared part two of our series called Letting Go.
For many of us, our mentality of “more is better” impacts our lives in a great many ways. Having more can cost us, because it can leave little room for the things that matter in life. The side effects of striving for more can mean fewer deep relationships, more FOMO (fear of missing out), and more unrealistic expectations. How do we let go of the “more” in our lives in order to be truly content?
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
MESSAGE VIDEO FROM CARLOS ORTIZ:
MESSAGE NOTES FROM CARLOS ORTIZ:
No matter how you found your way on to this stream, we are truly glad you chose to be part of this community for the next few minutes.
So, I have to be 100% honest with you about the preparation of today’s message…while I was typing it all up, my kids were making so much noise in the background. Two of them were arguing, 1 was terrorizing our dog, and the other two were learning a new dance to post on their Tik Tok account. Then you have my wife, she was leaning on the counter, zoned out, as if to say, “I’m done…can they sleep their way through this Covid-19 scare?”
So how did I get past the distractions, chaos, and non-stop noise? I had a clarity of mind, heart and knew without a shadow of doubt what we at Gateway are wanting to convey and communicate this weekend. This is our second week of the Letting Go series…and last week, John walked us through letting go of Control, and the beauty that can arise when we let certain things die.
This week, we want to walk all of us through Letting Go of More! Now, I know when I say we’re going to address letting go of more, there are inevitably going to be some of us who might think, “this is a message on becoming less materialistic,” and I guess if I did that it would be the low hanging fruit of the message. But it’s deeper than just stuff. It’s less about minimizing stuff, but minimizing the meaning of our stuff…the side effects, the side emotions, the side pleasures, the side control it brings to us.
Some of you might have seen the documentary Minimalist, or the show “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”…they’ve become so popular because we are a people whose habits of ‘more’ impact so many facets of our life. Of course having more can cost us more money, but more can also cost us time in order to make more money, having more can cost us relationships because we hoard things and it leaves little room for people to participate in our life, having more can cost us emotionally because we may have FOMO or unrealistic expectations of what others might think of us, having more always costs us more.
So on that note, I wanted to read a poem by a very famous royal, see if you can guess who it is.
keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know
it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore”
That’s right…the royal is Queen Elsa from the movie Frozen (part 1).
This song was written by Kristen and Robert Lopez, it won an Oscar and a Grammy. It was sung by Idina Menzel, a Tony award-winning actress, and sung by millions of little and big kids around the world, and sold more than 10 ½ millions downloads in 2014 alone.
It struck a chord in our proverbial hearts, the desire to let go, to be free, to not have constraints that hold us back from our dreams and desires.
The truth is, that what we have to let go of is control, and the desire to always strive for MORE.
And now that we are in a season, globally, where we are being asked to do less, to be less, to spend less, we are facing dilemmas we haven’t ever faced, or at the very least, we haven’t faced in a really long time. So what does God’s word, the bible, tell us about wanting more:
Philippians 4:4-13 (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Now, I grew up in church, and even though I never made a decision to follow Jesus, as a kid in my parent’s home, I was definitely taught, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” The problem was that I was told to use that scripture when I was facing fear, or didn’t want to try something new, maybe when I was feeling nervous, or needed an extra boost of confidence. Those motives aren’t bad for my parents trying to instill godly confidence in a young boy, but when we read this passage it doesn’t fully ground us to the meaning and intent of the passage.
With every things we learn, we will also attach it to what we are letting go of, in order to live according to God’s word. S o, what do we learn from this passage?
- In every situation there are attributes we
- Joy rather than Sorrow
Psalm 30:5 – Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
- Gentleness rather than being mean spirited
This does not mean we are agreeable and say yes to other’s requests and thoughts without having our say, but it does mean that we can disagree and still be gentle in our response.
- Thankfulness rather than anxiousness
If we are not careful, we can become so focused on what is wrong, going to be wrong, potentially going to go wrong, that we lose sight of what we do have, and what we are currently facing.
When we first moved from Texas to the West Coast, it was a difficult mindset for my oldest son to grapple with. One time we were at a store before our move, and he had a panic attack. He had never experienced one, but he was so consumed with what was happening to him, and what he might lose out on going in to his Senior year at a new school in a new part of the country.
Fast forward two months, he earned his spot on the varsity football team, was voted unanimous all-district, and lead the region in sacks. He ended up having a great senior year, when two months before he couldn’t see past his panic attack.
Thankfulness brings us perspective and anchors us back to trust in God. Which leads us to the last attribute…Peace.
- Peace rather than strife
When we walk in peace…and we are anchored to right thinking and right attributes, is helps guard against strife. The act of going for more, working for more, stressing for more, pushing your family and teams for more, not resting until we have more. It’s an act that robs us of peace, and it can cause so much pain to use and those around us.
We are letting go of more pain.
- As we mature ,we embrace a godly
- True – We start to listen and walk out what is true.
We have to grow in self-awareness and recognizing what is a lie, and then not living in that lie.
- Noble – “having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.”
When we think of what is noble, we are aspiring towards something. Have you ever heard the quote,
“if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” – Zig Ziglar
If you’re a skeptic or critic by nature, like me, you might hear this list of words and think that we have gone off of the deep end, and this God thing is fruity and light on the reality of living life, and facing this harsh world with a sober mind. But that’s why I said, “as we mature, we embrace a godly disposition.” We don’t believe that God is trying to destroy humanity, but instead we believe in a God that loves us, wants what is best for us, and wants us to love each other. Many times the obstacles we face in relationships or life, in general, can be traced back to wrong thinking. So as we embrace a godly disposition…We are letting go of more wrong thinking.
- Live a life that is practical.
How many times have we learned something, read a book, listened to a podcast, signed up for a gym membership, earned a degree…but did nothing with the information. Paul is challenging those he has mentored to put what they have learned into practice. To find a new normal with what they know.
Some of us have cook-books we’ve never used, and now is the right time to learn a new recipe.
Maybe you’ve wanted to see what the kids team is doing at Gateway, and now you can pull up the kids resource page on our website and walk through it with your children.
Some of us have wondered where are we going to find time to read our bible, or walk through a devotional, and now is the time to take practical steps…to practice what we know and have heard.
When we do these things, Paul says, when we put things into practice then the Peace of God will be with you. It doesn’t mean everything will be perfect or work out the way you and I might want it to, but at least we will know that we are doing our part.
Sometimes we don’t want to do what we know to do, because we find comfort in ambiguity.
If I try and fail, then I’ve failed. If I dig into that issue, I’m afraid of what I’ll find. I’m not wanting to ask, because I may not like the answer.
We are letting go of more confusion
- Our aim is to learn how to be content.
If our true goal is less pain, less toxic thinking and less confusion, and to take on more peace and practicality in our life, then we must endeavor towards contentment.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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.
We live through a variety of experiences in our life, some have plenty and others have less.
Aaron Alexander’s dad lost his job as an oil executive. Grew up in Collin County near Dallas, and he had the life. They moved out to East Texas where they had family, and his dad became a fast food restaurant manager. They had to walk through humiliation, transition, loss, fear, hopelessness, but what my friend then found was the simplicity of living in a small town, real community, riding his bike wherever he wanted, his dad being more present, living off of less, but having so much more. I’m not telling you that losing it all is the way to contentment, but the willingness to lose it all, to proactively make changes, for the things that truly matter…that is the way to contentment.
We are starting to want more of less.
I’m not talking about our new normal of less moving around, less hand shaking and touching your face less. I’m really talking about having less of things that can cause extra burden on our minds, hearts, relationships, finances, faith journey.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
What is our next step today?
- What is it I truly desire? (Are my priorities in line to attain it?)
- What could I do/have less of, that would raise my quality of life?
- Have I asked God to lead me in my thinking?
John 16:13 – The Holy Spirit (of God) is coming. He will lead you into all truth. He will not speak His own words. He will speak what He hears. He will tell you of things to come.