Summary: How to deal with stress
Swindoll in Stress Fracture: Whoever dubbed our times “The Aspirin Age” didn’t miss it very far. It is correct to assume there has never been a more stress-ridden society than ours. For many, gone are the days of enjoying bubbling brooks along winding pathways or taking long strolls near the beach. The relaxed bike ride through the local park has been replaced with the roar of a motorcycle whipping through busy traffic. The easy-come, easy-go lifestyle of the farm has been preempted by a hectic urban family going in six different directions…existing on instant dinners, shouting matches, strained relationships, too little sleep and too much television. Add financial setbacks, failure at school, unanswered letters, obesity, loneliness, a ringing phone, un-planned pregnancies, fear of cancer, misunderstanding, materialism, alcoholism, drugs, and an occasional death: then subtract the support of the family unit, divide by dozens of opinions, multiply by 365 days a year, and you have the makings of madness! Stress has become a way of life; it is the rule rather than the exception!
Bible doesn’t use the term STRESS but does mention: worry, anxiety and burdens…which are a part of your life and mine! [Reached epidemic proportions] Stress is a feeling created when we react to particular events—body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina and heightened alertness. Some stress is good, while too much can be disastrous, if not deadly!
SLOW DOWN -- [Luke 12:22-34]
1. When we get ahead of ourselves, begin to have more questions than answers—need to slow down and stay in step with the Lord, remembering He says to plan is good but to worry is wrong!
a. worry—to be anxious, worn down or out by cares and fears which takes all the joy out of life
b. NOTE: anxiety isn’t limited to adults, found in alarming number of young children, most from finan-cially secure homes but demonstrate symptoms not even see in children from war-torn nations!
2. Jesus gives us 6 reasons not to worry…
a. God gave us life—we can trust Him for whatever is needed to support it…He ALWAYS provides
b. Birds don’t worry about tomorrow or store things up—why do we seek security in accumulating things …can’t see or control what tomorrow brings?
c. Worry won’t add anything positive to your life—in fact; it’s harmful, [numerous health issues]
d. Flowers had a life expectancy of 1 day, and then used as fuel for fire—exquisite to behold—what makes you think God will be forgetful of man, the crown of His creation?
e. Characteristic of a non-believer…essentially a distrust of God—we trust in the love of God
[feed your heart on the record of what God has done in the past…nothing to worry about for the future]
f. Live one day at a time and you’ll conquer worry—handle the demands of each day as it comes with-out borrowing from yesterday or tomorrow
Isaiah 26:3--You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
SOLUTION FOR ANXIETY -- [Philippians 4:4-7]
1. Paul’s therapeutic counsel might lack credibility if it were not for the fact he models and demonstrates its reality, for he writes FROM prison, facing the possibility of imminent execution
a. Concern is a facet of every healthy life but ongoing worry, without interruption, is unhealthy—being obsessive or fixated results in immobilization, counter productivity and a dishonorable representation of Christian faith
b. Most often repeated negative command in Scripture: fear not – 365 times … for I am with you
2. Unrealistic answer? Pray…but it isn’t just about TALKING, it includes LISTENING
a. When you are anxious, worried or burdened—its good to enlist others to pray for you but key is for you to pray because the peace of God that transcends all understanding is a result or by-product of prayer by the one in need! [Remarkable peace is not prayer REQUEST…prayer RESULT]
God’s peace stands as an invulnerable, unbeatable, impassable sentry of our heart and mind
b. Often our anxiety revolves around the desire for a solution to a situation over which we have NO CONTROL but want to take control … [Jesus in Gethsemane emerged changed but it wasn’t what He said it was what God SAID TO HIM which made all the difference…isn’t recorded]
Rather than worrying—pray, formulate a positive action to take, implement it and then keep on praying
SETTING DOWN THE BURDENS -- [Matthew 11:28-30]
1. Believers in Jesus’ day were over-loaded with the burdens of the Law of Moses, the traditions of the Pharisees and trying to make themselves acceptable to God … MORE than they could bear
a. Jesus invites them to lay down their heavy burden and accept the salvation He will procured for them
b. We tend to accumulate burden after burden—ours and others—but never seem to put them down