S-T-R-E-S-S

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 | Uncategorized

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I suppose I have more than the average amount of causes for stress. Sometimes there are financial challenges. Other times there are people challenges. And then there are challenges that give evidence of spiritual warfare. So, what do I seek to do when I am under stress?

1. Recognize the signs of stress taking its toll.

Most often the signs are obvious and directly related to the cause. But at other times the toll can be having trouble sleeping, being distracted, or responding in a way that is out of character. If I toss and turn and can’t get back to sleep in the middle of the night, it often means something is distracting and troubling me.

Your symptoms may be different, but I suggest you become sensitive to noticing when they occur.

2. Cast your care on the Lord.

Fist Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (Interestingly, the word translated anxiety is merimna in Greek and has the connotation of distracting care.)

This verse offers one of my favorite promises in Scripture. I can cast my anxieties on the Lord because He loves me and wants to help through troubling times. So, the first thing I do, once I recognize that I am stressed, is to cast my cares on God: “God, I can’t handle this, but you can. Please help me cope with the distracting care.”

Normally that helps immediately. But sometimes I get overly concerned again. What do I do then? Cast that same care on the Lord again. If it comes back again, I do the same thing. Before too long the “care” seems to stick with the Lord, for which I am very grateful.

3. Ask for wisdom concerning the real problem.

Most of the time my concern isn’t imaginary; it is about a real problem. And, just because God has given me peace doesn’t mean the problem is solved. If the problem had been easy to solve, I and others would have probably just solved it. So, where abiding stress is present, probably supernatural wisdom is needed to figure out what to do.

And how do we appropriate supernatural wisdom? According to James1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” That is another scriptural promise I claim often.

Recently, I was having trouble determining what to share in an upcoming talk I was to give. As the date for the talk approached, and I still had no ideas, I became a bit stressed. So, I asked God for some breakthrough ideas. He gave them to me so quickly, I wondered why I hadn’t claimed James 1:5 sooner.

4. Walk with God continuously.

No doubts you have heard me share this thought before. But it is so important that I don’t hesitate to repeat it. We need to communicate with God constantly throughout the day.

There are many benefits to that, but one of them is that God then fills our hearts with His abundant peace. That is what Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, 7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.”

I hope my many experiences in dealing with stress will be helpful to you. On the one hand, all of us are way over our heads to be able to deal with life as it comes at us. On the other hand, it is well within God’s power to give peace and solutions.

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