The Weight of Stress

Worry. Anxiety. Stress.

Three interchangeable words that highlight most of our days as human beings. Just balancing work/school, relationships, family, chores, and spiritual commitments gives most of us a headache. That’s not to mention fears about the future, health concerns, what job you're going to end up at. At any given moment, I think it would be safe to say most of us could make a fairly lengthy list of legitimate questions which cause us intense stress. Questions such as:

Where should I go to school? What career should I pursue? What is my next devotional going to be?

It’s enough to want to start learning how to multiply ourselves. But maybe, just maybe the stress itself is the result of asking the wrong questions. We tend to worry about the day-to-day things rather than the real deep concerns of our existences. In so doing we get distracted we lose focus. Here are the questions we should be concerned about:

How will God announce his presence in my life today?

What divine opportunities will Jesus bring to my path this week?

What can I pray for my friends and family regarding?

What areas of my character do I need to allow God to change?

How is He speaking to me at this moment?

Meditate on these questions for a minute and try to find the answers. Forget all those other concerns. If you do, you will find something peculiar happens: your worries begin to lessen. Not only that, but your priorities will shift in simply reflecting on these things. This is because worry, stress, and anxiety, are always tied to having a short-sighted outlook.

Now, maybe you are in the middle of a crisis, and maybe you have an extra-large dose of stress. Maybe you are in a place of transition and you simply feel like you have no answers at all. Maybe you are so consumed with the cares of life that you cannot even find solitude to sit in the spiritual questions above. If so, here are a few specific things from my life that have proven to redirect my thoughts toward a more peaceful, well-balanced place.

1. Press the reset button. Take some space to do something physical that brings you joy, for me that’s running.

2. Spend some time with someone close to you talking about things that matter. Have some coffee with one of the youth leaders or your Pastor. Recall family trips with a brother or sister.

3. Be creative. Write a poem or song. Write a story. Use your imagination and allow God to produce original thought from your mind.

4. Then, MOST IMPORTANTLY, spend time with Jesus. Read your bible and pray get away from your everyday stressful life.

When life truly seems to be overwhelming I remember what Paul said to the Philippians, “ not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7

By resetting your perspective you can then see life once again through the eyes of truth.

You are OK.

God has you, no matter what.

Surrender to Him. He made you. He cares.

He will give you what you need when you need it.

-Austin P.