Recently, I conducted a very informal survey of what my readers struggle with most. The answer was stress. Of course, it may be that some of the other areas I suggested may be the specific reason for the stress in people’s lives. Nevertheless, stress seems to be the by-product of various stressors that we all want the answer or antidote for.
I love to refinish old, distressed furniture. Unfortunately, the reason that furniture or wood looks distressed is because it has been left out in the elements or has experienced continued use and sometimes abuse throughout the years. Maybe you feel like a piece of distressed furniture. Stress can do that to you. You may feel cracked, worn-out, or even burned-out. In other words, you may feel beat up by life. And even though many like the look of distressed furniture–no one likes the feel of a distressed life.
The obvious facts about how wood becomes distressed, can also be applied to our lives as well. If we do not protect ourselves from the dings and dents, or even worse, the crushing events of life, our stress level will increase to the point of great and regular discomfort. If we allow these stressors to affect us for very long, we will eventually lapse into burn-out.
As Christ-followers we have this really awesome advantage that others without Christ do not have. We not only can do things that add to our protection from stress, but we can also turn to God who supernaturally protects and comforts us while encountering stress. Did you hear that? God doesn’t usually remove our stressful situations, but rather provides the strength and peace we need to persevere and grow. However, this supernatural enabling can only be activated by our faith in God.
So how do you deal with stress in your life? Do you complain, grumble or worry? Or do you activate your faith by whispering a prayer to God for help? Listen to the Psalmist’s words:
“He is near to those who call to him, who call to him with sincerity. He supplies the needs of those who honor him; and hears their cries and saves them. He protects everyone who loves him, . . .” Psalm 145:18-20a (TEV)
It may not seem that simple to you. You may say, But I’ve done that and still feel stressed. My question to you would be, Did you really release it to God? This passage implies that you not only sincerely seek his help, but that you also trust that he will provide that help for you. The fact is, if you truly surrender your situation to God, I believe that God will relieve your stress. So then the question becomes, do you?
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all of my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (NIV)
Additional verses on stress: Ex. 14:13a-14, Ps. 9:9-10, Ps. 32:7-8, Ps. 34:17, Isa. 26:3-4, Isa. 43:1b-3a, Jer. 16:19