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Leadership

How to Overcome Stress

By | Development, Leadership | No Comments

Over 70% of Americans report that that struggle with this one thing.

STRESS.

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:

  1. Work
  2. Finances
  3. Relationships
  4. Health
  5. 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

Psalm 32:2

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. 

Psalm 107:28-30

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.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

This free ebook resource, “New Year, New Me” will take you from chaos to clarity.

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Overcome Self-Pity

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In John 21, Jesus comes back from death and invites the disciples to breakfast. They had all recently failed him. They scattered out of fear before the crucifixion. They had returned back to the mundane after the crucifixion, even though they spent three years in ministry training, witnessing the majestic. 

But what I love so much about John 21 is that Jesus never mentions any of that…He simply invites them back to the table when He returns. He prepares food for them and then invites them back to a place of intimacy and provision. He invites them back to the place for proximity. He invites them back to family. After breakfast, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” …and then proceeds to give Peter his next assignment. 

Isn’t it just like Jesus to give you another assignment after failure? Isn’t it just like Jesus to refuse to allow you to default back to the mediocrity of your old life? 

I failed marriage and I failed fatherhood—BUT GOD. He keeps inviting me back to the table. He keeps giving me new assignments. He keeps honoring me while I become what He’s honoring in faith. I don’t know who this is for, but Jesus always makes it harder for us to go back to the life we left to follow Him. The best is waiting for you at the table. Come eat.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

(John 21:1-13)

Do you love me? FEED MY SHEEP. 

Jesus is putting something on display. He is feeding them breakfast. Jesus is inviting them to the table….and asking that they now invite others to the table. When Jesus appeared they didn’t recognize it was Jesus, but they obeyed… 

Peter and the disciples were going to be sent out to groups of people that would not know Jesus, but will obey and respond to the call. 

Jesus is inviting us back to the table with him…. 

But He is also asking us: will you continue to invite people back to YOUR table when they reject you? When they gossip about you? When they hurt you?

Peter, if you love me, love people the way I love you.

The disciples may not have listened to a carpenter tell them how to be fishermen. Sometimes we have our own mind made up. We are so secure in how WE do things, in how WE do ministry, but if we will be fishermen who are willing to listen to a carpenter, and put our nets down on the other side, we will have more than we can contain.

Jesus is always inviting us to the table. He keeps inviting us back. 

Jesus intentionally did not mention to Peter his failure. As a matter of fact, previously, He sent an angel messenger to tell His disciples and ALSO tell Peter, I am risen! In other words, look Peter right in the eyes and say, “Peter, your ministry isn’t over, it’s just getting started!” Jesus is risen!!

Breakfast is a ritual. Jesus invited Peter back to the ritual.

Sometimes, we are too busy striving to honor the ritual, too busy trying to make it happen for ourselves that we forgot the ritual. You’re not too busy for church…you’re striving too much to stop for the ritual. 

Working hard without Jesus hardly works. Obedience to Jesus always carries bigger results than hard work without obedience.  

Self pity occurs when we are more concerned with what we think we should have than what God already gave us. 

Self pity occurs when we are more concerned with what we want to do than the mission right in front of us. 

Self pity is a barrier to progress. It’s easier to return back to something familiar, to mediocrity. To go back to breakfast and miss the ritual.  But you can’t even be good at your old life. You old life doesn’t satisfy. 

JESUS in His mercy comes TO YOU. 

Even when JESUS is attempting to save you, you won’t be able to recognize its HIM DOING IT. Jesus is trying to use CHURCH and PASTORS but you can’t recognize HIM.

The disciples couldn’t recognize Jesus, but they obeyed. Sometimes you can’t tell it’s Jesus, but you still need to OBEY.

How do you get freedom from self pity?

BE WILLING TO TRY SOMETHING A DIFFERENT WAY. GO BACK TO THE TABLE.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

This free ebook resource, “New Year, New Me” will take you from chaos to clarity.

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Podcast: Learn To Love Your Story

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Mike unpacks the importance of embracing your own story that has shaped you into who you are today. You cannot help others until you learn to love yourself. Listen as Mike unpacks his own journey and how it has shaped his ministry.

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Does your church struggle to attract people? Do you have a back door problem where people leave your church? Are you always busy but lack results when it comes to growth in numbers? Are you always rushing toward the next big event? How We Help Grow Your Church Most churches struggle to create a perception in their community that is in alignment with their vision. Church Brand Guide provides a clear communication strategy so you can cut through the noise and reach your city. FREE RESOURCES We provide free resources to serve as your guide to develop attractive marketing systems. COACHING MEMBERSHIP The membership will guide you to create your church's brand so you can tell your story in your community. BRANDING WORKSHOP The Church Brand Guide team will create your church brand in 30 Days based on your strategy. Testimonial ”Church Brand Guide has goes above-and-beyond in serving church branding needs. Michael and his team are not only talented-beyond-measure, they are astute students of their clients. Believe me, you will be amazed at the resources and the ability of their team to flex and fit you and your needs." - Dick Hardy | leaders.church Clarify Your Vision Church Brand Guide is a resource to church leaders to provide clarity about their vision which builds confidence in its execution. A Strategy for You We produce the creative elements like a logo, website, video, brochures and signs that will establish your brand consistently over time. These elements are produced out of a strategy session where we discover who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. Reach Your Community We help churches create a clear and consistent presentation of the vision that appeals to the community they are serving. This causes people to be attracted to the church and the unique vision it has. Get Results The branding process provides direction for all marketing efforts to maximize its effectiveness and get greater results. It also provides clarity to the organization so ministry can be done in alignment with the vision which maximizes church resources. Michael Persaud, Owner of Church Brand Guide Michael Persaud has been creating media professionally since 2004 with organizations around the country. In 2011 he started a creative agency that produced branding elements like strategy, websites, logos, graphics and video. In early 2016 he put together the Church Brand Guide podcast and blog to serve churches with information and resources to help them build a clear brand.
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