When I was a freshman in college, I was required to take a class called “stress management.” I learned one important truth: if you desire to rid your mind of stress… good luck! Instead, I was taught how to manage my stress because truth be told, stress is a part of life. The sooner I accepted that fact, the better off I would be in managing it. There was just one problem with this particular class… God wasn’t a part of the equation. The Bible tells us that stress, fear, anxiety, and worry are all a part of our lives before Christ.
Perfect love casts out all fear… and Jesus is the very definition of perfect love.
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT)
- Recall the past. In Christ, we’re often taught to never look back. And while this is true regarding our sin and past mistakes, God does want us to look back and remember His faithfulness. When reminding Israel that they could trust Him with their present circumstances, God often brought up their past victories. When I look back at my own life, I can clearly see God’s hand through it all… even in my mistakes. He brought me through it all. And as I think about my current struggles, I can recall the past and know that God will be faithful in the present.
- Rely on your siblings for support and encouragement. God called us to live as one family of believers, to live in harmony, and to encourage each other as we grow and mature in Him. When I find myself overwhelmed, I am so thankful to have people in my life who are there for me. My husband, my mother, my family and friends… they all speak truth and encouragement into my life.
- Pray without ceasing. This does not mean that we should be in our bedroom praying all day, doing nothing else. What it does mean, however, is that we live in a constant state of communication with the Holy Spirit who lives within us. In every aspect of our day, He is present and waiting for us to lean on Him for guidance and strength.
- Give every detail of your life to God. Did you know that God cares about every part of your life? Throughout my day as a stay-at-home mom, I find myself stressed about things that seem unimportant. I worry about getting the housework done, what I’ll cook for dinner, or when I’m going to get the shopping done for the week. I sometimes forget that God cares about my worries… even the ones that seem trivial to me. He wants us to take these cares to Him.
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- Stand on the truth, and don’t allow the enemy steal your peace. God’s desire is for us to experience His peace. Stress was never His plan for us. We are called to walk in the peace that He has freely given to us through His Holy Spirit. When you find yourself worried, take a step back and remind the enemy that he cannot steal your God-given peace. And then give the worry to God and watch Him work.
God can be trusted in every single aspect of our day-to-day lives.
One thing my college class did teach me was that there’s a difference between “stress” and a “stressor.” Stress is the emotion you feel, while a stressor is the thing that caused that emotion. You cannot get rid of stressors. They happen each and every day. But you can rid your mind of stress in Christ Jesus. Apart from Him, the best we can do is manage it.
But when we renew our minds in Him, stress becomes a thing of the past.