STRESS!

Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.     Philippians 4:6-7 CEV

Stress, anxiety, frustration all seem to be very common words used in our conversations to describe our lives. My parents grew up during the Depression years and if you read about that period in our history, I am sure these words would describe their lives also.

Our remedy today seems to involve self-help philosophies, psychotherapy and medication. Do not misunderstand my words or intent here. God has given us minds for reasoning and talents to help us find wise solutions for events and situations which bring stress into our lives. However, too often I follow the words on that bumper sticker: “God is my Co-pilot.” I come to God in prayer to help me after I exhaust my own ideas or increase my stress as I add more failed options to the situation. Since God is – well, God – wouldn’t it be a better for me to sit in the co-pilot’s seat in my life and invite God to be my pilot?!

If I make a habit to begin and end each day in prayer with God then I am learning to talk over the day before it even begins, give my worries to the One who is big enough to handle whatever is needed, and end the day with thanksgiving and/or an affirmation of trust for whatever is still unresolved.

To some who are reading this, it may seem simplistic. Although the concept isn’t advanced theology, it is a daily exercise of conscious choice to give to God all that I am and that includes stress. God does not promise a life without hardships and suffering. He does promise He will always respond when I call. It is the presence of His Spirit which brings peace beyond what I can understand as I continue to move through any given day.

These two verses from Paul’s letter speak directly to me today as I read them in context with the whole. Paul reminds me of how I am following in Jesus’ footsteps and shedding off more of my old ways and soaking in more of Him. Paul shares how he once had such confidence in his ancestry, his knowledge, his stature in the community but learned it meant nothing and achieved nothing of eternal value. Paul encourages me to keep my mind on what is good and pure and worthy of praise. What do I spend my time thinking about in any given day? Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “capture every thought and make it obedient to Jesus.” That is a good request to make each morning, I think.

So I am going to delete words like “stress” and “worry” from my internal as well as external vocabulary and fill that space in with “trust” and “hope” in my LORD. I am not naïve to think this will be easy every day, but it is going to be my goal with Jesus’ help. He is the Pilot of my life!

Be Thou My Vision written by Dallán Forgaill &sung by Alison Krause

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