Ever felt like you have had to juggle all the balls at once? Your personal and professional life have been so out of control busy that you can’t seem to catch a breath. You get to the end of the day and feel bad for wanting to get a decent amount of sleep because you didn’t accomplish everything on your to-do list.
Stress is a huge weight to bear. You feel it in your muscles and your jaw. You can feel the tension and become overwhelmed. I usually wear myself down emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
“Some of us are hard of hearing. We ignore physical, mental, and spiritual warning signs. God wants us to tune our ears to the messages He sends us through our minds and bodies.” C.S. Lewis.
Our stress does not come from God, it comes from us wanting to be independent and in control of everything. Luckily, when we lack in our faith, God is still faithful. You can read about that here.
Everyone deals with stress, but as Christians how we react and respond either conforms us to or sets us apart from the world. Do you trust God to work in all aspects of your life, such as work, finances, marriage, kids, health and the future?
Guess what?! God is always present and working for your good in all areas of your life. If you feel that you are lacking trust, prayer is the place to start.
Christ died on the cross so that we have access to God at all times and can be in constant communication with Him. Use that privilege, it works!
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
Prayer is a sign of worship, a petition for a need, and a request for your specific concern. Through prayer, God will calm your stress when other options fail. Ultimately, God’s peace that surpasses our understanding will guard your heart and mind.
Dive into the Word
Remind yourself of the truth in the Bible. There you will learn that you can use God’s strength and wisdom to make it through your day-to-day stresses. God made us to depend on him, which you can read about here.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
As Christians, we should rely on God to leave our stress behind so we can enjoy time doing things that fulfill us to be better servants of God and those around us.
These next two things are practical tools you can use to alleviate stress.
Make a To-Do List
Yes, we depend on God to meet all of our needs but that does not mean we can’t plan ahead and be diligent in our work. Just remember, work is not a key determinant of your self-worth or identity. Your value is not placed in your outstanding performance. God sees you as worthy just as you are, whether you knock off all the things on your to-do list or not.
However, if you are at all like me, I love to make lists and prioritize my day. Otherwise I try to do all the things I have to do at once and lose focus. As crazy as this sounds, I even write my list into hour or two increments, that way I know I have to concentrate on that one task and be efficient with my time while doing so.
Creating a to-do list is almost like making a grocery list of the things you need to buy for the week. Start your day by prioritizing the things that must get done today. I usually try to accomplish the most difficult tasks first because otherwise I will naturally want to gravitate towards the easier or more enjoyable tasks, which means the most important work won’t get done.
Not only will it help you get things done that need to get done, it will give you a sense of accomplishment when you do start to check those things off of your to-do list. Most importantly, give yourself some grace for the things that you didn’t get done.
Take a Lap
Exercise can be one of the best ways to release stress. It is most likely the last thing you want to do but it will help! You can read about the benefits here.
Whether it is 10, 20, 30, or 60 minutes, you will give your racing mind a break. You can’t focus on the troubles of your life when you are in the middle of a workout.
In the end, I want to be overwhelmed by God’s presence, not the stress of the day-to-day. Ask God to help take your stress away and guide you throughout the day. Maybe something like this:
Dear Lord, I am depending on myself right now to accomplish all the things that need to get done today. I try to do this all by my own strength and wisdom, forgetting that you are always present. Help me put my trust in you and remember that my identity is in you and not the task at hand. May I endure the difficulties that lie before me knowing you are always faithful and will help me get through it. Thank you for the blessing you have given me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.