Main Point of Discussion:
Stress and worry are a normal part of life; the question is…how should we deal with it? Many people internalize the stress and end up suffering consequences. The good news for Christians is that God gives us a strategy to deal with pressure in a healthy and non-consequential fashion.
Vital Info Before You Get Started:
(The following should help you contextualize this important issue so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)
Three Simple Questions:
- Start the meeting by telling a funny story about being stressed out. At the same time, either you or your spouse should shake a can of soda.
- After your story, ask some very generic questions that you actually don’t want your family members to respond to…because you and/or your spouse should shake more cans of soda!
While all the soda cans are being shaken, ask: Why are all of you looking at ______ shake that can of soda? You look a little worried. Why?
Then ask, Have you ever felt like you’d blow up because of stress…like those cans of soda when we open them?
Then ask, Do you think there’s a safe way to open the can after it’s been shaken?
Then show this video clip: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/00000024
Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, keep engaging them.
For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)
Note before you begin:
Above all, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide,
primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.
CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.
This guy just showed us how to deal with a can of soda that’s “under pressure.” At first it probably seemed that even if he tapped on it, the can would still explode; but as we saw, his method of dealing with the pressure worked perfectly. And just like the can under pressure, our lives can seem as though they’re about to blow—but there’s a biblical method to deal with the stress in our lives that takes the pressure away.
More Discussion Questions:
- HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Before we begin, tell everyone your favorite soda…
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Can you think of a time when you felt like a can of soda being shaken up?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How do you usually deal with stress?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Is it helpful? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you suppose is God’s design for dealing with stress?
Read the following passage:
ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: How might praying about everything help dislodge the ‘bubbles’ of stress?
ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How would thanking God help us find peace?
ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: The Greek word for guard (which Paul used when he wrote the letter to the Philippians) literally means “to protect by a military guard, to prevent hostile invasion” (Bible.org). Based on this definition, how does prayer and thankfulness to God bring about protection against worry and stress?
HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What are some pressures you are facing this week that prayer and thankfulness would help alleviate?
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
The Message version of our passage (Philippians 4:6-7) reads:
Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.The ultimate question at stake here is this: Do I really believe God is good and He knows what He’s doing? You see, much of the pressure we let build up in our lives is a result of not believing that God is in control and has our best interests in life. That’s why prayer and thankfulness to God shifts our perspective away from circumstances and toward the One who can do all things and works all things together for our good. Let’s take some time in closing to do that.
Pass out 3x5 cards and ask your family members to write down their worries and stresses on one side, then things they are thankful for on the other side. Spend a few moments in prayer, letting them pray silently or out loud about their requests and praises.
Close in Prayer
Written by Lane Palmer