Summary: This message is part of a series of messages inspired by the “Outreach” theme – “Under Pressure”)
Under Pressure – Dealing with Stress
Finding the Right Priorities in Life
(This message is part of a series of messages inspired by the “Outreach” theme – “Under Pressure”)
Tonight we begin our series on Dealing with Stress. All of us face issues and circumstances that stress us out. We might face Relational Stress. That’s the stress that comes from dealing with difficult situations with family and friends. Perhaps there is difficulty in the marriage or with the children. It might be that you are at odds with a neighbor, or even with someone in the church. I don’t know about you, but when I suffer from Relational Stress, it takes the greatest toll on me. It really is a gut wrenching ordeal. I know why it affects me the way it does – it’s because part of what makes me who I am is the way I interact socially with people. I’m a people person. I like everybody and I want everybody to like me. So when someone is unhappy with me, it just tears me up inside. You might feel like that too.
Another stress that we often deal with is Financial Stress. It comes from having too much month left over at the end of the paycheck. As I’ve mentioned before, when this kind of stress gets a grip on you, you quit answering the phone because it’s usually a bill collector or Mr. Click. Mr. Click is the guy that is calling to tell you that if they don’t receive a payment they are going to turn the lights off, or the phone off. Financial pressure has caused people to do some pretty irrational things. People can be so overcome with Financial Stress that they become seriously depressed.
One kind of stress that all of us will face if we work outside the home, is Occupational Stress. Many different things can cause stress on the job and it can cause us to do some crazy things. The term “Postal” has come to mean much more than the way we mail a letter. It is now synonymous with people blowing a gasket at work. It might be an overbearing boss that has you at wits end. It could be a co-worker that is stabbing you in the back to get the promotions you deserve. It could be long hours and short deadlines that have you worn out and frazzled. Maybe it’s the threat of layoffs or shutdowns of the business. All of these work related issues cause us stress. When you thing about how many hours each week you spend at you job, it’s easy to see how Occupational Stress is an important issue. No one wants to spend that much time at a place where they are not happy.
There are several other things that can cause us stress. Poor health can cause us stress. Threats to our safety and security cause stress. Demands by others can stress us out because we’re burning the candle at both ends. This series is meant to help us deal with those issues.
If there were a way you could control how you felt about stress and at the same time find ways to avoid stress in the future, would you want to know how? What value would you place on being able to be happier, worry less and enjoy life more? What would you be willing to do or give to know the secret to living a stress-less life? Would you be willing to invest 4 hours to learn how? Well, that’s exactly what I’m asking you to do. Tonight and the next 3 Sunday nights, we are going to look at how to deal with the pressure that we’re all under.
For a theme text for our series, let us look at Philippians 4:6-9:
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
One of the main reasons we get stressed out is our own inability to set priorities. When we fail to set priorities in our life, then other outside influences control our life. We function from a reactive mode instead of a proactive mode.
I think we all understand what priorities are; the problem is how to set them. And I think the reason we have trouble trying to set them is we let others tell us what the number one priority is and we end up with several number one priorities. Anyone here have more than one, number one priority?