I don’t need to describe stress. We’ve all become stressed at times, and we all know when it’s happening.
But what is important to learn is how to rid ourselves of stress.
When stress enters my life, interesting side-effects start to happen to me.
For me, my body and my entire countenance start to become clenched. I become irritable about everything. I feel as if I’m in the midst of a battle, and I become grouchy and defensive.
I call this my ‘ugly’ stage.
And when I reach this ugly stage, I work hard to get out of it quickly and with the least amount of damage to myself and to others as possible.
And this is only achievable because of two things: trust in God and gratitude.
Have you ever noticed that when stress enters your life, you feel like you’ve lost control of the situation? Why? How about because things aren’t going they way you want them to go?
And when we lose control, this causes fear, anxiety and stress.
First we must let go of this need for control and instead trust in God for help and for the answers. By doing this we will come to realize that what we perceive in the situation as chaos and uncertainty, in the grand scheme of things, is not as bad as we had made it out to be in our own head.
When life throws us an inevitable curve ball and we feel like the obstacles are too much to handle, what do we do? Where do we turn?
There are choices. We can become frustrated, annoyed, or even angry. We can try to avoid the obstacles and stress by retreating into bad habits for consolation. But guess what – they will still be there!
You can take a step that sounds difficult but is surprisingly simple. You can put your trust in God.
Think back to every stressful and bad situation that you’ve had throughout your life. I’m sure there have been some real doozies. But then think, did it work out in the end? Maybe not all of them as you had hoped, but I bet that most of them really were not the horrors that you made them out to be.
So, instead of freaking out, why not ask God to help you with your problems? Ask Him for the answers that you can’t think of yourself. Trust Him daily. Trust Him hourly and learn to trust Him moment by moment. God will not only get you through but you will truly grow to rely on Him, versus relying on yourself. Who’s going to fix this problem better anyway – you, or God?
Once you start to put your trust in God, you can usually get yourself out of the ‘moment’ of feeling stress and anxiety; and start to realize things aren’t that bad. You can relax and let your muscles stop clenching. You can breathe easily again. You can even smile. Not a forced one but a real smile. Why? Because the burden of this problem – this cross – is no longer on you, who cannot carry it alone, but it is now also with God, who wants to carry it with you.
Have you ever had a friend that seems to be able to maintain a relatively positive attitude regardless of what stress they’re dealing with? They seem to have an ability to focus on the positive, even when they’re in the midst of hard times. People like this tend to focus on challenging situations as being opportunities, but most of all, they are grateful for what they have, even in the face of negative, stressful times.
In the past when I felt stressed-out, I would often feel trapped in my present obstacles and the fears and stress that came with them. I often had to challenge myself to be grateful. But when I was able to do so, I was able to realize that I do have so much to be grateful for and that God has given me so much.
He’s also given you so much.
Gratitude helps us to see our situation in a way that can lessen stress and can often give us the ability to think clearly of new solutions to our current problems.
Think to yourself of all the things in your life that you have. All that God has blessed you with.
And so what if suddenly your car breaks down, or you’re given an assignment at work that feels too challenging, or you’re feeling sick … or worse? Is the world, or even just your world suddenly coming to an end? Do you need to allow stress into your life because of this current situation that will soon be in the past?
Because God will always give you all that you need at every moment. Even when life is challenging.
And then you can live this.
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