Stress–What Do I Do, Now?

Stress pours into our lives, like water into a glass jar. There’s nowhere for the water to go, so it keeps filling the jar, closer and closer to the top. If nothing’s done with the water, it’ll overflow. Stress is similar, as it pours into our lives without our even ordering more. It comes anytime something confronts us, and the pressure we feel from it seems more than we can take. When that happens, it demands even more, filling our thoughts, minds, and hearts more and more fully. If nothing’s done, it overflows into other areas of our lives, spilling drips onto even more areas along the way.

So, what do we tend to do? We try to deal with it in various ways, thinking we are pouring it out of our lives, oftentimes, trying the carry the load on our own or in our own way. “We got this!” “It’s fine!” Do any of these reactions sound familiar?

  • Worrying
  • Fearing
  • Working longer or harder
  • Eating or not eating
  • Twirling your hair
  • Biting your nails
  • Complaining/speaking negatively
  • Criticizing yourself or others
  • Raging anger or frustration
  • Shutting down and secluding yourself
  • Shopping
  • Hoarding
  • Driving fast
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Using tobacco products
  • Doing drugs (including prescription)

God knows there are and will be stressors in our lives! I guess that’s why He put the “Do Not Worry” passage in the Bible twice (Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-34)! The passage contains things in our lives that may make us worried, directives to not worry, examples of how He provides for all of creation, the root of our worry, and instruction for how to live a rewarding life! I love this, as He doesn’t just say that He knows we may be tempted to react with worry or stress; He loves us so much that He reveals our hearts and shows us the prescription for our condition!

Both Biblical accounts list “little faith” as being a root cause (Matthew 6:30, Luke 12:28) for worry or stress. The Greek word for “little faith,” oligópistos, means just that…a small amount of faith. The meaning, here, refers to someone shutting out the Lord’s voice or not being passionate about living life in a close, personal relationship with Him.

“To Him, the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He puts all His own sheep outside, He goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow Him, because they know His voice.”

John 10:3-4 NASB

When we are His, hearing His voice, knowing His voice belongs to Him, trusting Him in where He is leading, and following Him all harmonize. When we hear His voice, but shut it out, we are disobeying, like a dog, turning the opposite way of his master, choosing his own path.

Did you notice, in John 10:3, that “He calls His own sheep by name?” A lot of times, we will look at this, get warm fuzzies, and say, “He knows me!” While He does know us, the meaning of the Greek word for “name,” here, refers to making someone’s character clear to the eyes or mind, setting them apart from everyone else, living in a way that is under God’s authority (commissioned by Him). So, by calling “His own sheep by name,” He’s, basically, calling us His. We carry His name out into the world in our everyday lives and know that He goes before us (to establish His name/character). We trust Him, and we follow Him.

Can you fully and honestly say, “In __________ (situation), I recognize God’s authority! I choose to follow Him, trust Him, and carry His name in this!?”

“But without faith, it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.”

Hebrews 11:6 AB

If we are God’s and carrying His name, but choose to hide in the fold, instead of walking closely with Him; not trust Him; ignore His voice, calling for us; and/or refuse to follow Him, we are lacking faith. Without faith, we aren’t pleasing Him.

Hebrews 11:6 goes hand in hand with the “Do Not Worry” passages, as it gives us the prescription for how to walk closely with Him and please Him. The active ingredient is to seek Him and all things that are under His authority/rule, which includes what He is calling us to/commissioning us for. This leaves no room for selfishness, pride, or our own agenda (i.e., what we think is best for us). If we seek “self” or other things, we will waver.

Are you actively seeking “self” or God (including what He authorizes)?

“And you—do not seek what you may eat, or what you may drink, and do not be in suspense,”

Luke 12:29 LSV

“Do not be in suspense???” Picture something hanging in mid-air, someone comes by and hits it, and it sways from one direction to another. Maybe someone grabs it and whips it around, like a child being pushed in circles on a tire swing. Is this you…always in anxiety-causing limbo? This is what we are warned against. The prescription?

“but let him ask in faith, doubting nothing, for he who is doubting has been like a wave of the sea, driven by wind and tossed;”

James 1:6 LSV

Where is your faith? Is it dangling about or on a firm foundation?

Where might you be doubting God?

2 Comments on “Stress–What Do I Do, Now?

  1. Doubting God is so easy. It is much simpler to assume that God is not in the process. So natural to believe we are alone in the struggle. Faith is a choice…one I need to remember! One we need to choose every day, even every moment. Thank you for reminding me that stress and worry are not God’s plan for my life!

    Like

    • It IS a lot of work to analyze our beliefs in each moment…each response. It’s true…it’s an intentional choice. It can be exhausting, but so much less than what stress and worry take out of us! His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
      He continues to bring up situations in my life to teach and remind me of His truths…just in time to write about them! He’s so good like that! I’m thankful He used this in your life, as well!
      Prayin’ for you, friend!

      Like

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