Every day brings a choice: to practise stress or to practise peace.
National Stress Awareness Day on the first Wednesday in November aims to identify and reduce the stress factors in your life.
Everyone has stress. Some stress is good for us. It helps us to respond to changes in life. Stress is our body’s way of protecting itself from harm. However, too much stress causes harm to our health and relationships.
I’m not going to pretend to know everything there is to know about how to manage stress. I’m also not going to try to be your therapist. What I thought I would do is just to share my story.
I spent many years living in a stressful environment and there weren’t the resources that are available to us now. I went to my doctor and he prescribed anti-depressants. The people in my church weren’t helpful because they had no idea how to help someone going through emotional stress. They were better at bringing casseroles after surgery!
So, I took my anti-depressants and cried out to God to help me. Even though it didn’t feel like it, I’m sure He was helping me. I cried a lot and my friends didn’t know what to do. I was aware that I was living with stress and eliminating it wasn’t an option. I didn’t know what else to do!
Here is what happened: Because I didn’t deal with my stress, I got depressed and suicidal. Because I couldn’t take care of myself, I couldn’t take care of my family well. Because I became depressed, I was hardly able to function. I couldn’t even finish a sentence. I couldn’t concentrate for very long at a time. I couldn’t be a good friend. I couldn’t love myself.
As a result of my experience with stress, I’ve slowly learned how to respond to and manage it. I turn to God, like I always did, but now I have tools to use. A few years ago, I was going through some serious stress at work. While driving to work I would recite scripture: I can do all things with the strength God gives me. I will rise up on wings like eagles; I will run and not be weary, I will walk and not faint. I prayed for anointing to do my job ‘as unto the Lord’. I was super kind to the person causing the stress and offered ways to be of support (to no avail, of course). I didn’t retaliate. I couldn’t quit my job, but I was desperately looking for a new one. I focused on communicating with God. Prayed unceasingly. I knew that focusing on the problem would only make it worse. I focused on the solution and trusted God for my strength and help in my trouble. It worked. The best thing was that God gave me peace in the midst of my stressful situation!
When you’re experiencing stress, use the resources we have available, turn to God and use the tools He’s given us. He will fill you with peace!
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.