Stress is Something We all Deal with in Life

Stress is something we all face For some, chronic stress is infrequent and of short duration. For others, stress is a constant fact of everyday life. We live in a world that is a breeding ground for stress.

Stress can be brought about by many factors. Career changes, health problems, the rising costs of healthcare and financial problems are just a few of the many causes of stress. You can probably name some of the sources of stress in your life. When you look at the world today, it’s no surprise that clinical depression is at an all time high. Some people seek relief from stress and depression through alcohol or drug abuse. Others seek the help of professional counseling or self-help books. Countless others go through life stressed out not knowing how to deal with it or which way to turn.

Stress Advice From a Life Changing Book

Some of the best advice on handling stress can be found in God’s word. I’m not suggesting that I have it all figured out. I have my own share of stress in life. But, I have learned to rely on God to overcome stress. At times I have failed to trust God like I should. At other times my faith has been strong. Through it all, I’ve learned to seek God and his strength first rather than a last resort. The whole purpose of my creating this website has always been to try to help and encourage others. With that said, I would like to share with you five ways to deal with stress based on biblical principles.

In Times of Stress, you Must Turn Your Cares and Worries Over to God

I believe God is a perfect gentleman and will never intrude upon our lives. He will never attempt to force his will upon us. In times of distress, we must seek him out. By seeking God in times of stress and discouragement, we are demonstrating faith in God. God is able to work everything out for us if we are willing to trust Him. The Bible says that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:12) The Psalmist David said that God is our refuge and our strength, and a very present help in time of trouble. ( Psalms 46:1)

I love what the Bible says in the Book of Philippians on the subject of stress and worry. In the fourth chapter of Philippians it says, 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.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Another great scripture can be found in 1st Peter 5:7. This scripture says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

To Avoid Stress You Must Maintain Positive Thoughts

Someone once said that you can’t have a positive life with a negative mind. Those words are so very true. I already mentioned what the Bible has to say in Philippians chapter 4 verses 6&7. In the same chapter, the very next verse says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” If we want to conquer stress, we have to be able to condition and filter our thoughts. We must focus on what is positive and what is good. Going through life focusing on the negative keeps us from having the peace of mind God wants us to have. The mind is a battleground, and every battle in life you face all begins in your thoughts and in your mind.

We Must Strive to Help and Encourage Others

You may be wondering how helping and encouraging others could help you with the stress you face. The reason explanation is pretty simple. The Bible plainly tells us that whatever a person sows, they will also reap. (Galatians 6:7) Not only is this scriptural, is it simply a law of nature that has been proven again and again. If we make it our purpose to sow into the lives of others by helping and encouraging them, we will eventually reap a harvest of help and encouragement. Plain and simple…what you sow you reap. Often we need to encourage someone else even when we ourselves are discouraged. Shifting your focus from your own needs to the needs of someone brings about some of the greatest blessings. There is no level of giving that is greater than giving out of your own need.

Strive to Forget Your Past Failures

Living a life of regret about past failures and mistakes will stress you out. What happened last year, last month, or yesterday is done. There is nothing we can do to change the past. We have to forgive those who have wronged us, and forgive ourselves for our past mistakes. Today is a new day. Every day we wake up we are given a chance at a fresh start. Living with regrets of the past will keep you discouraged, stressed, and defeated.

In Isaiah 43:18-19 we are told, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Wow! How powerful is that? God is telling us here to forget the past! He is doing something new in our life if we will only let Him! Even in the midst of some of our most stressful times, God is making a way for us to escape our stress and be refreshed by His Grace.

We Must Continue to Praise God

The Psalmist David apparently learned the value in doing this. King David had his own share of grief, disappointment, mistakes, and stress in his life. Through it all, David learned the power of praising God. In Psalms 34:1, David said, I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” In the good times and the bad times, David learned the way to victory is praising God. Chronic stress will place you in a self-imposed prison. It makes you a prisoner of your fears, worries, and regrets.

Sometimes the key to the prison that you are in is simply to praise God. There is a wonderful story from the Bible in the 16th chapter of the book of Acts that illustrates this point . In the 16th chapter of Acts, you can read the account of the Apostle Paul and his comrade Silas. They were arrested, beaten severely with rods, and thrown into the inner prison. In Bible days, the inner prison was the equivalent to today’s maximum security cell.

Paul and Silas Shifted Their Focus

Paul and Silas had plenty to be stressed out about. They had both just endured a severe beating; they were bound in leg irons and chains, and were imprisoned in the most secure cell possible. Yet, Paul and Silas chose to turn their attention away from their suffering and to focus on praising God. At the midnight hour during the lowest and darkest point of their situation, they began to sing praises unto God. They sang so loudly that the other prisoners heard them. Soon after their singing started, there was a violent earthquake. The earthquake shook the foundations of the prison causing the doors of the prison to fly open! The chains that bound all the prisoners in the prison fell off! What an awesome biblical account of the power of praising God!

God Still Frees People From the Prison of Stress

I believe that even today God still frees people from the prisons of their own making. Just like Paul and Silas, you may be at the midnight hour. You may be at that part of your crisis, trial, and stress that seems like the darkest. Even in the midst of your prison of stress and despair, if you will begin to thank and praise God for His goodness and mercy, you will see the chains of stress and discouragement start to fall away.

I hope some of what I have shared with you will be ingrained in your heart and mind. The next time you are stressed out, remember some of this and apply it to your situation. Stress is not of God. God wants us to be able to relax and rest in the knowledge that he knows all about our struggles, and is willing and able to deliver us from stress if we will focus on Him instead of our trials.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Mark

5 Ways to Avoid Stress in a Stressed Out World
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