Dealing with stressful situations can feel overwhelming and overshadow everything else. But there are ways to gain some perspective.
“Great is our Lord and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”
Psalm 147:5 ESV
Do you get stressed? I do. I imagine everyone does to some degree at different times. We are sinful people housed in weak, fragile, imperfect bodies living in a fallen world. It’s natural to get stressed.
Life feels stressful about a decision that we don’t know how to make; a deadline we must meet; a bad medical test result; a difficult relationship; a child or parent in trouble; a financial crisis; a friend in need that we aren’t sure how to help; an overscheduled lifestyle; expectations from another person.
Little things and big things cause us stress.
And then there’s the guilt we feel. The enemy puts thoughts in our minds.
After all, I’m a believer. I should not feel stressed about this.
I should be able to trust the Lord.
I’m not doing a very good job trusting.
Condemnation fills our heart. We get down on ourselves, discouraged. Condemnation though is not from the Lord.
Paul says, “There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 ESV)
Condemnation is most often from the devil.
God, on the other hand, knows our weaknesses. “…his understanding is beyond measure.” (Psalm 147:5 ESV).
I want to grow in the process of being less stressed. I want to be able to trust God more in how I respond to things in my life. I imagine you do too.
Where do we begin?
When life gets stressful, it’s usually because the issue I’m struggling with has grown bigger in my head than my God. I’m so focused on the issue that I tend to panic. I’ve lost perspective. I’ve forgotten how well He knows me – even better than I know myself. I’ve forgotten that He’s not caught off guard by “this.” I’ve forgotten that He’s still in charge. I’ve forgotten that He loves me totally and completely and nothing can change that.
Yesterday I got some hard news; It stressed me. And then once again, I felt guilty for being stressed. This morning I took some time to simply sit and praise Him for who He is and thank Him for the things He’s done. I wrote down one hundred things for which I am thankful in my journal. This has helped restore my perspective and shift my eyes off my issue and back onto a heavenly Father who knows all and who’s got me.
Sometimes it helps to get out of our own stuff. Go to a museum, get with some girlfriends who make you laugh. Do something for someone else. Cancel a day that’s too scheduled and go for a walk in the woods. Read an uplifting funny book or watch a happy movie. If we sit and stew about our issues, we will only fall deeper into a pit.
Recognize, “This too shall pass.”
It’s easy, during stress, to imagine, I’ll always feel this way. It’s easy to overthink a situation, to jump to the worst-case scenario, to problem solve to the extreme. As women, we are natural problem solvers. It’s a maternal gift that God has given us. But as with all gifts, we can take it to an extreme that it was not intended for. Often, I have to say to myself, “Susan you are overthinking. You need to chill and remember that God has this. He is patient and He will lead you in His time and in His way. He’s got you and He’s got this.”
In His Word
Read Psalm 139 and underline all the ways that your heavenly Father knows you.
In Your Life
Is there something in your life that is causing you stress at this moment? (It could be several things.) You might write them down simply saying, “God, you know me. I give you _____ and ____. Lift these from my shoulders. Thank you that you love me. Please restore my perspective.”
Susan’s book Risky Faith Becoming Brave Enough to Believe the God who is Bigger Than Your World speaks to the ways in which we can discover a bigger God and allow Him to become larger in our lives than our issues. Her book, One Devotional: One Word, One Verse, One Thought for One Hundred Days is great to use as a family. Keep it on your breakfast table and take turns choosing the trait of the day.
Read Susan’s blog at susanalexanderyates.com. Click here to sign up for her FREE download, “Camp at Home, 100 Practical Ideas for Families.”.