Stress kills. We hear about it all the time. Our doctors remind us at each visit, we can’t help but hear about it in the news, in the paper, and in casual conversation. An article I just read: Concern about stress’ effects on health increases brought me back to stressing about stress. If I am stressed about stress, and you’re stressing about stress, then we’re not putting our focus where it needs to be: living as Christ’s disciples in the world.
Yes, we say… we should stress less. We should live our faith more. Yes, but…
In scripture, God gives us a solution.
Give this a try?
1. The passage below is from The Message, Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the Bible.
6-7Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8-9Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
2. Consider one worry or stressor that you have today. How are you dealing with it? Do you know why you deal with these things the way you do?
3. Pray. Stretch yourself by sitting in silence for a few minutes. Breathe deeply, close your eyes, quiet your mind. Feel the presence of God. Express to God your concern. Yes, God knows the situation better than you do- but even still- tell God all about it: every detail. How is this stressor affecting other parts of your life? What are you afraid might happen? Whether rational or irrational, share your fear with God.
4. Stop. Just because you’ve finished praying doesn’t mean that you’re finished: Reflect on the attributes of God. How do the elements of God relate to your current situation? What do they teach you or remind you about God?
Did breathing, praying and contemplating the great God that we serve-that serves us- help? “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” [Phil. 4:7, NRSV].