Excerpt: 'The Cure for the Chronic Life' by Deanna Favre and Shane Stanford

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Scripture discusses the broken spirit of a chronic life in seven worries that develop from chronically living in crisis. In each of these seven worries, one can see both the expression of a consistently chronic nature that precipitates our way into these patterns and the difficulty in finally relinquishing them. And these seven worries also speak to a unique blunder or brokenness in our souls that is practical and feels all too real. For instance, we can say that one of our worries develops from the accumulation of mental, emotional, and relational garbage, but it is when we begin to name the garbage, putting faces to what has cultivated the pain and bitterness, that things get very real, very fast. And it is not easy. These worries are consuming and devastating for us. Think of it as though we are swimmers weighted with stones that are not large enough to sink us to the bottom, but heavy enough to keep our heads constantly below the surface.

Quite simply, we remember that we are not enough. But we also can't let these worries linger, and we can't let them continue pushing the point of our inadequacy back to us. That kind of life is death—death for our hopes, dreams, and relationships. Don't misunderstand us; this life is not easy to confront. But once we do, the process will seem more real and natural than anything we have experienced. Remember, we have been built to crave life. We were born to praise, born to live close to God. And so we must fight to strip away the worries one at a time, no matter how difficult the task may appear or feel.

God wants these seven worries gone, removed from our scope. Period. He wants to take them from us and to offer us something better. Jesus called it "the better way." Peter called it "hope." Paul called it "faith." Regardless, God calls it ours, and he begs us to let go and receive this gift.

So, what about these worries? Let's take a look at "The Seven Worries of Living in Crisis" and what grows from such a path.

Worry Number One: Meaningless Relationships

SHANE: In my ministry, I have met several young men and women who, over the course of their lives, have reduced themselves or allowed themselves to be reduced to objects or possessions. When I was in seminary, I belonged to a ministry that responded to the needs of prostitutes in our city (both men and women) by assisting with things like food and services for health screenings. I must admit, though, that at first I was reluctant. Having grown up in an ordered, Southern Baptist family, I was raised to believe that good Christian people didn't associate with such folks.

But the more my ministry crossed their lives, the more I discovered these were exactly the kind of people with whom God had called us to associate. Not because we were good and they were bad, or because we could "save them" with our message and service, but because the path of their lives was much like ours, it just looked different to the world. Their sickness and sadness were really no different than those of the alcoholic housewife in my congregation who would rather medicate herself with martinis than face the doubts and decisions of the day or the father of four who used extramarital relationships as a way of masking his deep-seated insecurities.

These prostitutes sold their bodies because they couldn't find anyone to love them for free. The housewife and the father of four sold their souls for the same reason, just in a different market.

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