Life has dealt us all, a long list of things that weigh us down including laundry, dishes, relationship problems, financial issues, health scares, marital struggles and parenting fumbles. We have stress from our to-do lists and clutter to manage and here come the holidays making our calendars full with activities.
How will we respond?
Under pressure – I pretty much crack. Those closest to me have seen this – sometimes it comes out in tears, sometimes in an overflow of chattiness, sometimes in a temper and other times in a critical spirit.
One tool I have learned that helps me deal with the day to day stress is this handy little saying:
“Preparation relieves pressure.”
This is SO true. On the days that I wake early, have my quiet time, have dinner meat thawing and the kids school lessons all ready to go – the day starts out so much more smoothly than when I’m unprepared.
But here’s the thing – what about when I am totally prepared. I’ve woken early, had my quiet time, I’m loving my husband and children the best I can and I’m serving the Lord and I’m “living my priorities” and I’m STILL totally stressed out.
Maybe something more is going on inside? We can’t always work our way out of our stress.
Working harder does not solve the issues inside of our minds and the spiritual attacks and warfare we are facing in daily life.
Here’s what I’ve learned – too much on my to-do list and not enough time to get it all done, causes stress.
But extreme anxiety, worry, bitterness and emotional pain – is not called stress.
It is called – distress.
You see, I think there are a lot of women feeling “stressed out” because of their busy schedules. Positive stress helps us accomplish things, energizes us, motivates us and helps us cope with the things life brings our way.
Good stress comes from things like getting married, a new baby, buying a new home, starting a new job, taking a vacation or the holidays.
But when we are feeling broken, sad, depressed, anxious, and angry – this is bad stress. This can come from a host of troubles like being the subject of gossip by others or feeling like things in our life are beyond our control – spiraling in a direction we can not stop. Things like the death of a loved one, a divorce, failing health, financial issues, marriage problems, parenting problems or conflict with others. These all lead to distress.
Are you stressed or in distress?
I received an email from a friend just a day ago saying – she is not just stressed, she is overwhelmed to the point of tears crying out to God for help. And a few days before that, a close friend told a story of going to the dentist office and how she broke down in tears there – she cried and cried and she didn’t even know why she was crying! Lol! Have you been there? My hand is raised!
It happens! Stress can push us past the brink of what is healthy for us emotionally.
So what do we do when perhaps we aren’t just stressed out — but there is something more going on in our lives?
Give your thoughts over to God.
A passage of scripture that has been my safe place and help in times of distress is Isaiah 43:1-3. God says:
CLICK HERE to print this image.
Do you hear all of these words of encouragement from the Lord to you. He says:
You are redeemed.
I call you by your name.
You are mine.
I am with you.
These difficult times will not overwhelm you or consume you because I am the Lord your God – I am with you and I am your Savior.
Oh friends! If you are in distress, as this holiday season creeps up on us, will you please print this scripture. Print 10 copies if you have to. Put God’s Word – the truth – before you daily. Meditate on this!
Let His Word comfort you, guide you, protect you, give you right thoughts and transform your mind and your life. He loves you so!
Your pain has a purpose.
Perhaps it’s as simple as bringing you into a more intimate relationship with Him or maybe it’s more – perhaps God is taking you through the fire so He can more fully use you for His glory.
Take This Week’s “Giving Thanks for the Ordinary” Challenge:
Go to God in prayer today for yourself. So many times we pray and pray and pray for other’s needs. Pride can keep us from praying for ourselves. Humbly light a candle, bow your knee and go to God in prayer.
Give thanks to God for His grace, for the ordinary in your life and then hide nothing from Him. Pour out your soul before His throne. He loves you so.
Philippians 4:6,7 says:
Do 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.
Are you longing for peace today? No matter how high the waters or how hot the fire –God’s Word says you will not be overwhelmed or consumed because He is with you.
Fear not. Let your heart and mind be at peace through focusing your thoughts on God and His truth today…and give thanks for the ordinary things in your life. He loves you so.
Walk with the King,
Are you stressed or in distress?
What is your favorite scripture to turn to, when you are overwhelmed?