How do we cope? How is it that Christians seem to have it together? Recently, I have noticed that I have felt stressed and that, ultimately, I have felt distant from the Lord. For me, at this very moment, it's work, but by next week it will likely be something else, and another thing the week after.
Stress tends to visit us when we are tired, sick, when we are stuck in traffic or we have taken on too any responsibilities at one time. When circumstances seem out of our control we feel stress: we all do. When our basic needs are not being met when we think they should be, we tend to get anxious. Stress or anxiety for a Christian basically boils down to one thing…lack of trust in God.
Though this explanation appears so simple, it's not meant to say that a stress-free Christian life is easy, it merely states the truth:
Just trust in God more and you'll never have to deal with stress again!
If only it were that easy.
Life is much too complicated, and we are much too vulnerable as humans, to escape inevitable stress. But for Christians, stress does have a positive side, it can be a reminder that our lives have drifted away from God. It might be an indication that we have not been relying on him for our daily strength.
There are many practical things that anybody can do to avoid stress; getting enough rest, a proper diet, regular exercise, and keeping a balance between work, family life and time spent with God. That said, for a Christian, there are three simple ways we can continually communicate with God that will do just as much good for us as the others, if not more!
Instead of worrying about our problems, which only makes matters worse, we are told clearly to take everything to the Lord in prayer:
Philippians 4: 6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Meditate on God’s Word
The bible is full of God’s wonderful promises. Taking the time to think over these things and meditating on them can relieve us from worry, stress, fear and doubt.
Matthew 11: 28-30
Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
It is almost impossible to be stressed and praise God at the same time. When I feel stressed and need to relax, I take a moment to thank the Lord for all the good things in my life, my family, my health, my happiness, my memories (the list can be endless if you want it to be) and suddenly I feel the stress fading away…it's not easy to do this but the more I do this, the more naturally it comes. Praise will take our minds off of our own problems and focus them on God; this makes our problems seems small or almost nothing in the light of the vastness of Him.
In a world where it now possible to be busy every minute of every day, it's far too easy to become bogged down and stressed about anything and everything. The key is to remain focused on what is important, to remain trusting in the Lord, and allow Him to fill our lives with blessings, joy and contentment.
Romans 15: 13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.