November 7, 2012

Stress Management for Christians


Stress management, stress relief, reducing stress, coping with stress — we see these terms all over the place in our modern society. What is stress and how can we “manage” it?

In the modern dictionary the meaning of stress that is most associated with the management of it is this: mental or physical tension or strain, or the urgency or pressure causing the tension or strain.

My contention is that most stress is really how we think about what is happening to us. I said, most, not all, so don’t get too upset with me. If my contention is correct then stress management would be mostly managing what we think, or how we perceive what is happening to us.

Some Bible scriptures talk about the importance of what we are thinking. We are told to take our thoughts captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5. We are told what sort of things to think about in Philippians 4:8 (nothing negative there).

Along with what we are thinking, we need to examine whether we are trusting God or whether we are living in anxiety and fear. Are your thoughts believing and trusting thoughts or are your thoughts anxious and fearful thoughts?

It’s pretty common knowledge now that medical science has proved that anxiety causes stressful reactions in our physical bodies and therefore contributes greatly to many diseases. But did you know that anxiety on any level is actually a sin?

God commands us not to be anxious.

"Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ." (Philippians 4:6-7)

Here we are told not to be anxious but to pray about everything and be thankful when we pray. If we are truly trusting in God, then this is very easy to do. And we are guaranteed to have the peace of God that passes understanding. This peace of God can shelter us from all “stress”.

We  are told to trust in God (Psalm 62:8) and He does give us plenty of reasons to trust Him after all, these being just a few:

God is for us (Psalm 56:9, Romans 8:31).  He is on our side (Ps. 118:6). He is with us (Isaiah 8:10, Psalm 46:7). He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

In knowing and believing all this, it should be easy then for us to cast all of our care upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).

There is a practical side of this issue. We need to make sure our faith is fed daily by reading God’s Word. We need to pray at all times especially when things start getting “pressured” or “urgent”or “stressed”.

We need to keep up the health of our physical bodies. We will be more apt to give in to fear, anxiety, anger, complaints, irritability and every bad thing if we are sick, hungry, thirsty, tired etc. So make sure you eat right, exercise, get enough sleep etc.

So we “manage” stress by managing our thoughts and our reactions to what is happening around us. We remain trustful of God and do not sink into fear or anxiety. We keep our faith up by reading God’s Word daily and praying all the time with thanksgiving. We take good care of our physical bodies.

This was not intended as an all-inclusive post on the topic but it is my hope that this was helpful. If so, please leave me a comment below.

Photo from original blog post

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