Over 70% of Americans report that that struggle with this one thing.
Symptoms include: mind racing, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, anger. These are physical or psychological effects of STRESS according to the American Institute of Stress *yes, this actually exists.
Stress comes into all our lives to varying degrees. So what causes it and why do we experience stress? Here are the top causes:
- Media Overload
How, as Christians, should we deal with stress? Today, we are going to discuss four ways to overcome stress.
1. ADMIT THERE’S A PROBLEM
Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
You cannot address a problem you’re unwilling to admit. Death among men is primarily greater because we won’t admit there’s a problem. We don’t go to the doctor. We won’t seek biblical counsel from a pastor. We won’t seek advice from a connect group leader.
Admit there’s a problem, not just that you’re stressed (there’s a difference!)
2. STOP MEDICATING THE WRONG WAYS!
Cigarette style solutions: do you have cigarette style solutions? Maybe you do and don’t realize it. This is the science behind a cigarette: it simultaneously speeds up your heart rate while sending signals to your brain that you’re calming down. It’s deceptive.
What’s a cigarette solution to stress? Something that tells your mind you’re feeling better while destroying some other part of you! BOOM!!
Oh, that new relationship —that’s a cigarette solution. You never resolved the issues of the last relationship. This is signaling to your mind that you’re feeling better, but how you do relationships is destroying you.
Oh, the way you just spent your money—that’s a cigarette solution. It just made you feel better to have retail therapy, but while your mind feels better, your budget is being destroyed.
The lie of cigarettes is that you FEEL better while the carcinogens are killing you. The lie of most of our solutions to stress is that they are making us FEEL better while they’re ruining our lives!
The price we pay for the feeling is greater than the cost of the stress we sought relief from.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed/ Then they were glad because they were quiet, so He guided them to their desired haven.
Notice the revelation in this scripture: I cried out to the Lord FIRST. Then I allowed Him to bring me out (this is the hardest part for us). Then He guided me to safety.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
1 Corinthians 10:31
whatever we do, we do it for the glory of God. The way we live makes God look good when we glory Him in our actions.
Stress takes our energy and causes brain fog.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he addressed this mind/body connection. He advised them to take care of their bodies because our bodies are a living temple (like a mobile church), a dwelling place for the Spirit of Christ.
When we were children, the most natural thing was free movement. We danced at the marriage conference, something spiritual was connected to something physical.
I’ve seen people cry in workouts because the physical movement was connected to the release of mental stress. Mental stress can even manifest as physical ailments.
Jesus described being a true believer as coming into a child-like Kingdom…I think part of the restoration is the restoration of free movement.
You are 25% less likely to develop depression or anxiety, according to the Anxiety ND Depression Association of America, if you regularly exercise.
One of the most spiritual things you can do is go for a vigorous prayer walk.
4. SEEK GOD, DECLARE HIS WORD
We are spiritual beings have a physical experience, not physical beings have a spiritual experience.
We live in a spiritual war zone. The most important battle is spiritual because what we see is temporary, but the unseen, spiritual world is eternal! The real war is over eternal territory.
You must be armed with scripture. Something I want to make a regular question between V1 Church people is, “what’s your scripture?!”
When someone is telling you about what they’re going through…what they’re stressed about, “What’s your scripture?!”
Remember we said that a cigarette sends a signal to your mind that things are better, but wreaks havoc on your body?
Scripture is the opposite….you declare scripture even when your mind still isn’t right and things begin to align in your life. Sometimes your mind is the LAST thing to get the signal when scripture is being declared….but God didn’t ask us to figure it out, He asked us to align with HIS thoughts, HIS ways.
We conform our thoughts, we mold our mind, to His thoughts.
Let’s go through the four steps together now.
Take a moment with God.
ADMIT to Him what’s stressing you out. Stop making excuses, and just cry out to God. He knows, and He’s there listening.
Next step, REPENT! Stop medicating the wrong way. Examine all the ways you use to distract yourself from stress and make yourself feel temporarily better. Now give those over to the Lord.
Next, CONFESS that you are going to take care of yourself! You are valuable, and the world needs you. So feel free to invest in yourself (guilty moms etc. You are WORTH it!!) You can not care for others the way God asks you to if you yourself are not well cared for.
And finally, DECLARE HIS WORD! Find some scriptures to hang on to, and repeat to yourself when you are struggling. Print them out, post them in your office, your car, your bathroom mirror. Find ways to remind yourself of His truths throughout your day.