With Christmas just a few short weeks away, most of us will be tempted to get stressed out at some point. Faced with a thick gift list, a thin bank account, and a lengthy list of extra responsibilities, we may feel overwhelmed.
However, God’s commands to rejoice (Philippians 4:4), cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7), and trust Him with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5) don’t just apply when life goes smoothly. They also apply when your car breaks down, when the bills pile up, and when you feel you can’t go one step further.
No matter what circumstances you are facing, you don’t have to be stressed out.
When pressure is placed upon your life, you will react by either 1) internalizing the pressure and becoming “stressed out” or 2) seeking God for His help and peace. Let’s take a look at what really happens when you choose to be “stressed out.”
Stress shouts, “You need to do this NOW! You have no time to be happy. You have no time to rejoice in the present moment.” By some twisted logic, stress even tells us that we NEED to be anxious and worried if we want good results.
According to the Bible, this is completely false. God calls us to rejoice always, even in stressful circumstances. When we choose to rejoice even when we don’t “feel like it”, God will fill our hearts with joy.
Being stressed out can cause your thinking to be anxious, disorganized, and constantly bouncing from one thing to another. Stress makes us Martha, always moving and never being still before the Saviour. But God calls us to something better.
The prophet Isaiah tells us the secret in Isaiah 26:3,
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
What does it mean to keep your mind “stayed on God”? It means keeping God in the forefront of your mind. Remember that He is always with you, and walk in obedience to His Word. Talk to Him throughout your day. When worries threaten your peace, call out for His help. Cast your burdens on Him.
In addition, carve time out of your daily schedule to seek God in a more in-depth way. Read His Word, and pour out your heart in prayer. Be still in His presence, and listen to His voice. This time alone with God will transform your life and give you the daily strength and peace that you need. At the local church’s prison ministry, we love spending time with God in our daily devotions.
Have you ever noticed that stressed out people aren’t very thankful? They are too busy averting a would-be crisis to pause and thank God for His blessings. Writer Monica Bass wisely says, “Gratitude actually softens stress in a way no organizational planner or resolution to take on less can do…Gratitude reminds us that the sources of our stress are often the same as the sources of our blessings.”
That ministry where you feel inadequate and unappreciated? It’s a priceless window to impact eternal souls for Christ.
Those children who are always making a mess? They’re blessings from God that you prayed and longed for.
That heavy burden with no end in sight? It’s an opportunity for God to show Himself strong in your life.
When we choose gratitude, we can find joy even in hard things. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, the apostle Paul explained what God had told him and why he was thankful for his own weakness.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
If you want to beat stress, start giving thanks. Thank God for His gifts. Thank Him for His stunning mercy and forgiveness. And don’t forget to thank Him for the hard things you’re facing today and the grace He’ll provide for them.
Feeling a bit stressed out? You don’t have to be. When you choose to trust God, cast your cares on Him, and give thanks, you can have peace of mind. At the local church’s prison ministry, we want to keep trusting God instead of getting stressed out. Join us to learn more!
Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!
For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email firstname.lastname@example.org