I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13
Would you like some guidelines for handling stress?
Guideline #1: Get God's perspective. God knew about what is stressing you out before you were even born. G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown character said, “We are on the wrong side of the tapestry.” Yes, we see the messy underside. But God sees what He’s creating in our lives. He’s in control and He promises in Isaiah 41:10 to help you and strengthen you with His mighty right hand!
Guideline #2: Let your relationship with Him be an anchor which holds the ship of your life steady. Hebrews 6:9 speaks of faith as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast. John Piper tells the story of when twenty-eight-year-old John Stam, missionary to China, was being led away to execution by the communists with his wife Betty, someone on the road asked, “Where are you going?” John laid hold on the hope set before him and said, “We are going to heaven.” For the believer in Christ, even in life-threatening stress, the surety of our lives never moves. It can’t be shaken because the promises of God do not change and cannot fail under any type of stress you will ever face.
Guideline #3: Stop bearing your load and God's, too. Stress says, in effect, “God, this looks extremely bad. You aren't big enough to handle this or I don’t see how You’re going to work this out so I'd better figure out what I'm going to do.” Make a note of I Peter 5:7 and Psalm 55:22, which tell us we are to take our loads of stress and our burdens of care and lay them at the feet of a Savior who loves you and cares for your life.
Guideline #4: Bring your lifestyle into harmony with the will of God. Frankly, we bring much of our stress upon ourselves, trying to do what God never intended us to do and living lives which are designed to create stress. Do you think Jesus ever ran from one meeting to another? Ever wonder if He healed everybody in Palestine when He was here? No! He knew that there were some things which were beyond His physical endurance.
If your life is out of harmony with what God expects, you are the only one who can do anything about it. One of the greatest stress‑points today are our relationships which have broken down. And you, friend, are the only one in the entire world who can do anything about that—which brings me to my next guideline.
Guideline #5: Change! Change your schedule which is overloaded. Change your workload. Change your diet. Change your habits; change your lifestyle. Change your way of thinking. When the pain of the stress becomes worse then your fear over making a change, you’ll change. This may mean learning how to say "No!"
Guideline #6: Budget stress by learning to manage your time. Often we create stress for ourselves because we don't plan far enough ahead. Compressing too much into our schedules, we don't have time to prepare adequately for the future. You don't leave for the appointment early enough to avoid traffic. You have to learn to eliminate stress by planning and by handling your time better.
Guideline #7: Eliminate stress in your family through effective communication. This includes confrontation as well as communication. Thinking of confrontation as negative, we tend to avoid dealing with issues which keep building up, and eventually we feel the pressure and stress.
To the disciples Jesus said, "...In the world ye shall have tribulation:" (or stress, as the word can aptly be translated,) “but be of good cheer," he said, "I have overcome the world" (John 16:33 KJV).
Resource reading: John 17:13-25.
By Bonnie Sala