Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe. - Hebrews 12:28, HCSB
Stress! It's a word we hear or read a lot about. Medical professionals are concerned with the effect stress has on our bodies. Mental health professionals are concerned with the long-term effects on our personality, our temperament, and our spirit. Stress affects every area of our lives - our relationships, our jobs, our down time, our health - you name it, stress shows up.
So how do we deal with stress as Christians? The advice and opinions available, both on the internet and from books, is overwhelming, and much of it seems to conflict with a Christian perspective. So again, how do we deal with stress and live confidently in grace so we can serve God acceptably?
First, maintain an attitude of worship. A. W. Tozer said, “To maintain a lifestyle of worship, we must attend to it on a daily basis. If you regulate worship to a once-a-week event, you really do not understand it, and it will take a low priority in your life.” Worship is not a service we attend, but it is an act of the will. I must choose to worship daily. In each moment, I decide to honor Christ, or to act on my own without thought of how my actions affect Him. We are commanded in the Scriptures to "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). I can't say that it is easy, though. It takes determination and a conscious choice to learn to worship moment-by-moment. I will say that it becomes easier the more I practice, and the practice is so worth it! The greatest benefit is the joy of staying focused on Christ. A wonderful side-benefit is that it is nearly impossible to feel stressed when I'm worshipping throughout the day.
Second, don't be afraid to seek help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. We are commanded to bear our own load (Gal. 6:5), so we should not expect to have everyone do everything for us. Yet, while we do everything we can to the best of our abilities, there are times when we need assistance. That's why God also commanded us to bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2). In Philippians 2, we are told to think about what matters to others, not just about what matters to us. Be honest with yourself. Can you truly carry this load? Sometimes, we take on more than we should in an attempt to gain the approval of others. Or, we feel that we are the only ones capable of handling the burden. Either approach is incorrect and will lead to defeat.
If you feel stressed, stop what you're doing, or at least stop what you're thinking! Re-focus. Start with saying "thank you" about something - anything. Then, thank God for something else. Move to phrases of adoration, like "I love You, Lord, for saving me, for never abandoning me". Soon, you will be worshipping God, even if silently in your thoughts.
Next, don't be afraid to reach out to a trusted friend or advisor. In doing so, you are obeying the Scriptures, and obedience is never a sign of weakness.
It's your choice!
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
- written by John H. Sammis
My name is Lynn Pauley. I'm just a normal woman, with normal struggles. Any success I've found comes from following the Scriptures. I'll update this blog as time and inspiration permit.