We had dinner with some friends recently. They are a young couple with three kids, and after 3 semesters of remote learning and isolation, suddenly, their Fall is going a hundred miles per hour! Not only are all three kids on different school schedules, but all of their kids are in sports, as well- with conflicting practice and game schedules, youth group and school fundraisers… well, you get the idea. They’re busy.
On top of the schedules, most of these activities come with a price tag. Consequently, their budget is feeling the strain of sports equipment, uniforms, fees, class trips, etc.
And you may have already guessed this, these friends are feeling the strain. They’re stressed out. AND… they’re trying awfully hard not to ADMIT they’re stressed!
So what do Christians do when they’re feeling the stress of hectic lives? Should Christians even BE stressed?
The answer is; EVERYONE deals with stress at some point, and no, Christians are not immune. Stress tends to hit us when we’re overtired, when we’re sick, and when we’re outside of our safe and familiar routine. When we’ve taken on too many responsibilities, during times of grief and tragedy, when our circumstances spin out of control, we feel stressed.
Christian author, Mary Fairchild offers these healthy steps for dealing with stress:
1. Recognize the Problem.
If you know something is seriously wrong, the fastest way to the solution is to admit you have a problem. Sometimes it’s not easy to admit that you’re having trouble coping.
2. Give Yourself a Break and Get Help.
Stop beating yourself up. Here’s a news flash: you are human, not ‘Super Christian.’ You live in a fallen world where problems are inevitable. The bottom line, we need to turn to God and to others for help.
3. Turn to God in Prayer
When you’re overcome with anxiety, stress, and loss, more than ever, you need to turn to God. He is your ever-present help in times of trouble. The Bible recommends taking everything to him in prayer.
God promises to give us peace beyond our ability to understand. He also promises to create beauty from the ashes of our lives as we discover that hope comes from loss and joy springs from times of brokenness and suffering. (Isaiah 61:1-4)
4. Meditate on the Word of God
The Bible, in fact, is filled with incredible promises from God. Meditating on these words of assurance can dispel our worry, doubt, fear, and stress. Here are just a couple of examples of the Bible’s stress relieving verses:
2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (NIV)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT)
5. Spend Time Giving Thanks and Praise
A friend once told me, “I find that it’s almost impossible to be stressed and praise God at the same time. When I’m stressing, I just start praising and the stress just seems to go away.”
Praise and worship will take our minds off of ourselves and our problems, and refocus them on God. As we begin to praise and worship God, suddenly our problems seem small in light of the largeness of God. Music is also soothing to the soul. Next time you’re feeling stressed, try following my friend’s advice and see if your stress doesn’t begin to lift.
These are all solid tips. Here’s another… ask others to pray for you. One of the coolest things we do for each other as believers, is pray. If you’re feeling weighed down by stress, head on over to the Prayer Wall at www.thehousefm.com. Let us know how we can be praying for you. We’ll be praying, so will other listeners.
Remember, Jesus offers us peace. He wants that for you. And so do we…