Don't Christians Have Problems with Stress?
If knowing God and giving Him our life is the ultimate answer to stress, does it mean that our stress problems are over? Well, it depends!
Obviously, Christians still face stressors, yet they have the means to meet and overcome them in God's power—the most powerful force possible! The Bible even portrays Jesus' followers cheerfully facing imprisonment or death. Surely we should be able to handle a difficult work situation or an obnoxious person!
While stressors can still stimulate our natural God-given "fight or flight" response, it can now be directed to fleeing to the refuge of prayer and the grace of God's promises. God will show us how to fight in His way and in His strength. He promises, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
With God, there is always hope. Even if you find yourself under a continuous barrage of stressors, God's comfort and strength will let you enjoy regular relief from the stress response that breaks down your mental and physical health. If this is not happening in your life, you are missing out on one of God's greatest promises to you.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Am I turning this over to God and trusting Him, or am I worrying about it?
2. Am I allowing God to work our His will, or am I
doing my own will?
3. Am I dwelling on negative thoughts, or am I
asking Jesus to take them away?
4. Am I counting my blessings, or am I wanting more and more?
5. Am I looking for and claiming Bible promises for this situation, or am I hiding from truth?
6. Am I spending quality time with Jesus, or am I
so tired and overloaded that I miss out?
7. Am I taking care of my health by eating healthfully, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly?
Some time ago, my husband and I experienced several stressful months during which he had no regular job. We live in a rural area by choice, and jobs are often not very plentiful. As time passed and our financial situation looked bleaker, it was a real temptation to worry. For our daughter's sake, we wanted to stay in our beautiful country setting, where she has good friends and an ideal environment.
As time passed, I found myself falling down on the wrong side of nearly all of these questions, so I was experiencing a lot of stress. I had to ask for the Lord's forgiveness, and His power to make the necessary changes in my heart and life. As I prayed, my peace of mind was restored.
The Lord will often remind us of the many ways He has already taken care of us in the past, so in complete confidence, we must give the situation to Him to work out. Eventually, work came to my husband from an unexpected quarter, as things often do under the Lord's watch, with the added blessing of giving him a much-needed change of pace. God is so good!
Stressors can come as a vicious cycle in which one problem leads to another, creating intense stress and eventually a breakdown in physical and mental health. Most of the time when a bad situation comes up, we strive in vain for the outcome that we want. In this process, we get tired and frustrated so that even more things go wrong, and in turn we are more likely to dwell on negative thoughts—the downward path begins. We sleep poorly and start the day late, without spending quality time in Bible study and prayer. We worry about the situation until we begin to experience stress symptoms and may ultimately become sick or depressed.
But Jesus is very tender and merciful. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). He doesn't leave us to spiral downwards into despair but reaches to us in every way He can, reminding us that He is more than able to handle things for us if we ask Him. "He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me ... Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:5, 6, 8).
Our part is simply to trust and obey. If we take time to remind ourselves of all His promises to us in Scripture, things fall back into their true perspective, and our stress is relieved. "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).
We need to make the well-known prayer our own: "God, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I can't handle together." That is the bottom line in stress management.
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