Stress Busters

“A person’s character is formed by long term patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior. If we are willing to change how we think and what we do, we can cope more effectively with daily hassles, and upsetting emotions. It is important to keep in mind that willingness to take positive steps is crucial to good stress management.”
— Jeremy Crosby (A Mind Frozen In Time)

In his book, A Mind Frozen In Time, Dr Jeremy Crosby in the chapter on Stress Management, gives these definitions for physical and psychological stress. “Physical Stress – Any specific situation or event that threatens the health of the body or has an undesirable effect on its functioning.” “Psychological Stress – Anything that challenges or interferes with a person’s ability to think, make decisions, or function in life.”

It is most often the psychological stress that makes us less productive than we would like to be, and causes us to do things we really never intended to do. Notice the following “stress busters.” They work.

Study – Scripture is our resource for solving problems. The apostle Paul place great emphasis on studying Scripture. It helped the young man Timothy develop into a most productive, useful person. Paul wrote to him, “Study to show yourself approved unto God a workman who needs not to be ashamed.” Dr Rick Warren in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, shares these thoughts about studying Scripture.

 “When you think about a problem over and over in your mind, that’s called worry. When you think about God’s Word over and over in your mind, that’s meditation. If you know how to worry you already know how to meditate. You just need to switch your attention from your problem to Bible verses. The more you meditate on God’s Word, the less you have to worry about.”

Trust – Turning to the Lord in faith (trust) is the beginning of a relationship that will never end.  “The Lord will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him . . .”  (Isaiah 26:3)  Words like trials, temptations, and testing occur often in the Bible. The purpose of these is so we might trust the Lord to see us through them. This is why Solomon encourages us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In everything acknowledge Him and He will give you direction.”  (Prov. 3:5-6)

Repent – Repentance is part of the salvation experience. It means turning from something and purposefully going in the opposite direction. It also means turning toward something or Someone.  That Someone who makes a difference is Christ Jesus. “God has restored our relationship with Him (by repentance and turning to Him) Through Christ and has given us the ministry of restoring relationships.”  (II Cor. 5:19)

Engage – Engaging ourselves in the lives of others gives us purpose in life. It encourages us when we help someone else. Jesus gave this illustration about helping others. “Then the righteous will answer Him, Lord when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see You a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe You?  When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?...I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”

Seek – In Psalm 27 the Lord said to David, “Seek My face.” This expression means a person needs a continuing, meaningful relationship with the Lord. Jesus referred to us as “friends.” In such an intimate relationship with Him, we can tell Him exactly how we feel. We can pour out our heart to Him, and unload every emotion we feel. He understands, because He cares.

Surrender – Surrendering to God and doing things His way is one of the hardest things God asks us to do. Isaiah said, “We are like sheep that have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way..” Jesus said, “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” Surrender is best demonstrated in obedience. It is when you say “Yes Lord” to whatever he asks you to do. C. S. Lewis observed, “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.”

P.S.  Just so you know, my wife says it is very stressful to be in the same car with me when I’m driving. I didn't know! I wondered why she would often say, “Please let me drive!”