Category Archives: Stress

Godliness Protects against Stress

wolfNo one has a stress-free life, but having a godly character can be a great buffer against the storms of life.

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

~ Matthew 7:24-25

Godly Training vs. Physical Training

“For physical training is of some value but godliness has value for ALL things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

~ 1 Tim 4:8

Does this mean that unbelievers don’t have character?  Not at all.  There are many individuals who are refined by great parents or role models who have coached them to success.  They were brought up and molded into capable individuals with much potential to handle high levels of stress; however, while the scriptures acknowledge the value of physical training, it points out that godliness has value for all things, for this life and the life to come. (For the purpose of this article, I am referring to “physical training” as any type of training that does not involve religion.)

What Can We Learn from the 3 Little Pigs?

Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One pig built a house of straw while the second pig built his house with sticks. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks.

Many of our problems are produced by the fruit of our character.  If we’re lazy, we do things quickly, often overlooking important details, forgetting deadlines, putting off things until the last minute, letting someone else do it for us, etc.  We like to take shortcuts, but we end up reaping the consequences of our choices because we were not careful in the first place.

“A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.”
~ Proverbs 19:3

If we are diligent, we will take the time to build our house carefully, and we will be patient with the process.

Our house is our life, and we build our house with the choices we make.  Not every choice will be easy (after all, I’m talking about making the right kind of choices that will please God and go against our sinful nature); in the end, if we make it our aim to please God in all that we do, our house will remain standing if it’s built with bricks of righteousness on the foundation of obedience.

Suffering Produces Character

Sometimes I feel like at my age, it’s kind of late to start building character now.  If your life is falling apart and you’re not sure how to put it back together, consider your suffering as an opportunity to produce character in you:

Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

~ Romans 5:1-5

Don’t focus on the problems.  Focus on God who pours His love into your heart.  Don’t suffer in vain.  Make your suffering work for you by responding the right way – putting scriptures into practice.

#character #suffering #hope #patience #perseverance #godliness #godlytraining #stress #musingz4life

Advertisements

Eyes on You

boat“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12

Have you ever avoided prayer because you knew it would push the pain to the surface?  Life can get pretty overwhelming at times, and when burdens overload our system, we shut down and life grinds to a standstill.  How does your body respond to stress?  Mayo Clinic lists some of the symptoms of stress:

  • Physical pain (especially in the neck and shoulders)
  • Over-eating
  • Depression
  • Crying
  • Negativity
  • Anger
  • Smoking (or other addictive behaviors)

The first step to responding to stress is changing the way you think.  When you feel helpless, when circumstances are way beyond your control and all you can do is utter, “God help me,” (if you could even mutter those words without crying) – look to the heavens and know where your help comes from:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

 Psalm 121:1-8 (emphasis added)

Crying helps and it’s good to let out the floodgates of tears every now and then, but the migraines that follow after an intense sob are very draining, and the sorrow won’t stop if your perspective doesn’t shift.  Recovery time is different for everyone; some can bounce back and go right to work, while others can spend half a day to days and weeks in bed, with no motivation or physical strength to get up and pull themselves together.

Shorten Your Recovery Time by Looking to God

My sub-heading was almost “Shorten Your Recovery Time with Mind Change,” but changing your perspective is only part of the process.  Looking to God will make mind change easier because, after all, you would be relying on God’s strength to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.

Let’s examine Psalm 121 again.  Every verse is practically saturated with God’s love for you.  He is with you from beginning to end.  He’s got your back.  He watches over your every move because He cares.  God will keep you from all harm; He will watch over your life — your coming and going, “both now and forever more.”  Sometimes I jump wayyyyy ahead of myself.  I worry so far into the future about my family when I don’t even know if I’ll be alive tomorrow.  Anyone can be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and all your stress would have been in vain.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Isn’t it true that each day has enough trouble of its own?  Do what you can today, and leave the rest up to God.  If you compound all the worries of the next 10, 30, 50 years to your shoulders right now, you will only add misery to your life.

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all….” Psalm 34:19

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (emphasis added)

Trouble is guaranteed.  Everyone has problems!  However, we can have peace if we put our trust in God, for He promises that He will deliver the righteous from all their troubles.  That’s a bold statement, but you will definitely experience a shift in your inner being when you start to change your mind about your troubles.  The only real long-term solution to your sorrows is looking to God and casting all your anxiety on Him (1 Peter 5:7). Accept, embrace, and cling to every promise in the Bible, because they are yours if you claim them.

#peace #Christ #prayer #trust #musingz4life #eyesonGod

Nothing More than You Can Bear

god-in-a-boxHave you ever felt all alone in carrying your burdens?  You have no close relatives or life partner who will divide life’s burdens with you, and you feel stuck trying to figure out life on your own.  You sense a large cloud up ahead coming your way, as in the form of elder care or child care after a bad relationship falls apart, and you don’t want to overwhelm your friends lest they think you’re needy or clingy.  You are tempted to numb out and escape, or you can face it head-on with the resources (or lack thereof) that you have.  What should you do?

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Run to God.  He is the Grand Chess Master who sees the whole board whereas you are just a pawn with a limited view of what’s around you.  When you pray fervently, He will show you where to go and what to do, and you will feel at peace if you trust that God will take care of everything for you.

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

Trauma, pressure and stress are key ingredients in a recipe for addiction.  I’m not saying that everyone will turn to it when they’re under stress, but statistics show that time and time again, the growing number of users reveals that people need to escape the pain they feel, so they resort to a substance or habit that’s short-lived and pleasurable to get through the day.  Without using, the pain is just too great that it overwhelms the senses.  God offers another alternative:  Himself.

“It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:8

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and rescues them from all their troubles.”  Psalm 34:17

When you read the scriptures, don’t make the same mistake I made for many years.  Oftentimes I’ve been told that I just read the Bible like words off a page without letting it sink into my heart.  When you read, make a decision to believe that these are actual words coming from God who is watching over you and is ready to help you.  Just say the word, and He will be right there by your side to guide you along the right path.

“For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” ~ Hebrews 4:2 (emphasis added)

How can the scriptures be of any value to you if you don’t believe what the Bible says?

“And [Jesus] could not do any miracles there because of their lack of faith.”  Matthew 13:58

It is entirely possible that your lack of faith is stopping God from doing miracles in your life.  Here’s a few more juicy scriptures to chew on:

In Matthew 9:28, Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

In Mark 9:23, Jesus said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Jesus said, “With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

It’s not a question of what God won’t do in your life.  It’s a question of what you choose to believe.  Will you open doors with your faith and watch God work in your life?

#RuntoGod #addiction #stress #overwhelmed #musingz4life #pray