Stress; if you have pulse, then it's more than likely a word that you are familiar with. Amen?
The truth is that most of us at one time or another--at varying levels of degrees, intensity, and duration--have felt stress in our lives. It's that weighty, consuming and often overwhelming feeling of tension, anxiety, and pressure. It's those realities of life that we cannot shake, avoid, run away from, or avoid. For example:
- The challenges that an unpleasant work place may bring
- Financial struggles
- An ailing parent
- A medical issue or health matter
- Parenting (in general)
- Parenting children with special needs
- Marital conflict
We may not be able to control what comes our way, but it does not have to control us. Here are some practical and biblical principles that may be useful to apply when stress wants to gain inroads into our hearts:
- Watch your words! We are speaking spirits and our words give life to the positive as well as the negative. (Proverbs 18:21) Statements like, "I'm so stressed out" or "I have to much stress in my life" infuse stress and give it life and permission wreak havoc in our lives. When we use these words we are relinquishing our power and authority to the grips of stress.
- Decree the word of God. Exalt his word over stress. His word is infallible and eternal--it is our greatest weapon. (Hebrews 4:12)
- Worship God and sing praises to Him. The Bible tells us that praise lifts the blanket of heaviness. Turn up your favorite Christian music and sing like no one is watching or listening! (Isaiah 61:3)
- Surround yourself with godly, forward thinking people who will enrich and add to your life. (Proverbs 11:14)
- Avoid negativity and negative, toxic people. Remember Job's wife and his friends? When Job was inundated with stress, his wife and his friends did him no favors. Misery loves company. (Job 2)
- Turn off the TV. Put the phone down. Get off social media. We live in a 24/7 news cycle in which things are always "trending" or "going viral". Research shows that this barrage of media content increases anxiety and produces stress. (Psalm 91)
- Do something good for yourself. Take a walk. Get a manicure. Read a good book. (Psalm 23)
- Make an exchange. Give Jesus your cares (I Peter 5:7) and receive the peace of God (Philippians 4:7). This can be challenging because our human nature wants to take back what we have given to God. Consider this, if you purchase an item only to discover that it does not fit or you do not like the color or you want something different and exchange , how likely are you to request the original item be returned to you? Not very likely, right? Why? Because when we exchange something we want something different, something better. It is the same principle in the spirt, when you exchange stress for the peace of God--don't forfeit the peace and concede to stress.
Father, in the name of Jesus, we thank you that you have given us the power and the authority to bust stress. We thank you that we are victorious in every area of our lives. We decree and declare that we have the peace of God that passes all human understanding. We renounce stress and pronounce peace, rest, and a settled heart in Jesus' name. Amen and so be it according to your word!