STRESS MANAGEMENT 

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HOW TO COPE AT THE END OF YOUR ROPE

 

Are You Stressed Out?

 

Are you at the breaking point right now?

 

Do you feel that if you have one more pressure added to your life, you will break?

 

Is your overcommitted schedule weighing you down? Are you at a breaking point? Better stop and take stock. If you’re not careful, stress will come between you and your relationships with others . . . and with God. Stress can have either a positive or negative impact in your life. It can increase your ability to endure . . . or it can paralyze or even break you. In these Keys for Living, learn what the Bible says about stress and how to allow right thinking to transform your mind by trusting God to be your source of calm in stressful situations.

Looking under the hood isn’t enough. You need to inspect the parts that have received excessive wear and tear. Are you worn and torn by stress? Have you analyzed your own condition? By taking a closer look at Paul’s many experiences, you can check out what circumstances are most likely to cause stress. If the pressures in your life are not being used to press you closer to the Lord, you may be on the way to a blowout!

 

Learning to Dwell First on God’s Faithfulness

Whether you’re experiencing a significant transition in your life or just a daily hassle, your individual beliefs, your attitudes, your thoughts will influence what becomes stressful to you. Therefore, it’s critical that the first signs of stress, or distress, be met with God’s truth.

Think about the words found in Philippians 4:8 we’re told how we can have His peace, “… 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.” Now the next verse ends with these words, “and the God of peace will be with you.” So, if you dwell on God’s faithfulness to provide for you, He will replace your stress with His peace.

 

Stress can be a monster, and stress can also be a motivator.

“It matters not how great the pressure is, only where the pressure lies. As long as the pressure does not come between me and my Savior, but presses me to Him, then the greater the pressure, the greater my dependence upon Him.”  – Hudson Taylor

 

Learning to Dwell First on God’s Faithfulness

 Stress can take us down one of two paths. For many, stress leads to unrest. Frustrations at work, responsibilities at home, deadlines at school, unfinished to-do lists, heartbreaking headlines, and troubled relationships all pile up to an overwhelming sense of weariness, exhaustion, pressure, and unrest. And the enemy wants to use the unrest to arrest you—to hold you captive to the pressures and stresses of life.

God’s plan—His path for stress—leads not to painful unrest but rather peaceful rest. The enemy wants to overwhelm you with unrest, but the Lord wants you to overcome with His rest. Stress is inevitable, but hope is available. If you want to find peace in times of stress, come to the Lord and find the rest you’re looking for in Him. 

“Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Matthew 11:29 nlt)

Whether you’re experiencing a significant transition in your life or just a daily hassle, your individual beliefs, your attitudes, your thoughts will influence what becomes stressful to you. Therefore, it’s critical that the first signs of stress, or distress, be met with God’s truth.

Think about the words found in Philippians 4:8 we’re told how we can have His peace, “… 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.”  Now the next verse ends with these words, “and the God of peace will be with you.”  So, if you dwell on God’s faithfulness to provide for you, He will replace your stress with His peace.

 

 Is your overcommitted schedule weighing you down?

Are you at a breaking point?

Better stop and take stock. If you’re not careful, stress will come between you and your relationships with others . . . and with God. Stress can have either a positive or negative impact in your life. It can increase your ability to endure . . . or it can paralyze or even break you. In these Keys for Living resources, learn what the Bible says about stress and how to allow right thinking to transform your mind by trusting God to be your source of calm in stressful situations.

Looking under the hood isn’t enough. You need to inspect the parts that have received excessive wear and tear. Are you worn and torn by stress? Have you analyzed your own condition? By taking a closer look at Paul’s many experiences, you can check out what circumstances are most likely to cause stress. If the pressures in your life are not being used to press you closer to the Lord, you may be on the way to a blowout! 

The Four Stages of Stress

  • Stage 1 – NO LIGHT

Insufficient Stress: No motivation to move responsibly.

  • Stage 2 – GREEN LIGHT

Positive Stress: Motivation to move responsibly.

  • Stage 3 – YELLOW LIGHT

Negative Stress: Motivational warning signs to slow down movement.

  • Stage 4 – RED LIGHT

Burnout: Movement is stopped and repair is necessary.

 

The Many Sides of Stress 

  • External pressure causing physical, mental, or emotional strain 
  • Self-induced internal pressure causing physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual strain 
  • Internal resistance responding to outside pressure 
  • Negative pressure resulting in distress, danger, or destruction 
  • Positive pressure producing motivation and movement 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

(Philippians 4:6) 

 

Unhealthy Stress 

  • Refers more to the duration of stress over a considerable period of time 
  • Includes external or internal pressure that God does not intend for us to experience 
  • Causes detrimental effects to the body, as well as to the soul and spirit 
  • Stretches us beyond the threshold of our physical, mental, and emotional limits that God established within us to protect from overload 
  • Plunges us past a saturation point where nothing can be added without something else being eliminated 

“I saw the tears of the oppressed— and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors— and they have no comforter.”

(Ecclesiastes 4:1)

 

What do you need to know and believe that will enable you to have success over stress?

  • Wrong Belief:  “My life is out of control. I feel helpless to cope with all this stress in my life.”
  • Right Belief:  God has allowed this stress in my life to bless my life and reveal my weaknesses. I am grateful for the pressures that have pressed me closer to Him and caused me to allow Christ to be my strength.
  • God is with you in times of stress.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

  • God sees and knows your stress.

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand” (Psalm 10:14).

  • God wants to give you peace when your heart is troubled, stressed, and afraid.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do

not be afraid” (John 14:27).

  • God wants to carry your burden and give you rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

  • God wants to guide you when you’re too stressed to make decisions.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8).

  • God wants to strengthen you when you’re weak and weary.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29).

 

What Does Scripture Say about Stress? 

  • Distress implies an external and usually temporary cause of great physical or mental strain and stress. 

“There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil” 

(Romans 2:9). 

  • Distress can sometimes be the result of severe, self-induced, internal stress. 

“See, Lord, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious” 

(Lamentations 1:20). 

  • Distress is a state of anguish, vexation, or affliction. 

“While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols” 

(Acts 17:16). 

  • Distress is a word used over 100 times in the Bible (NIV) to describe negative stress. It most often pictures the negative result that pressure and pain can have on the heart.  The apostle Paul wrote to those whom he deeply loved in the young Corinthian church—those who had severely rebelled against him, but had later sincerely repented. 

“For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you” 

(2 Corinthians 2:4). 

  • Distress is often a translation from the Hebrew word tsarah, which means “straits, distress.” The word means distress, anguish, or affliction in a spiritual or psychological sense.

“We saw how distressed he [Joseph] was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that is why this distress has come on us”

(Genesis 42:21)

 

Key Verses to Learn

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

(Matthew 11:28–30)

 

Key Passage to Read 

1 Kings chapter 19

Checklist for Burnout 

Emotional Symptoms 

  • I feel apathetic and anxious. 
  • I feel depressed. 
  • I have a great deal of self-doubt. 
  • I have a sense of hopelessness. 
  • I have decreased self-esteem. 
  • I have difficulty concentrating. 
  • I have feelings of disenchantment. 
  • I have feelings of disorientation. 
  • I have less time and energy for relationships. 
  • I have uncharacteristic anger, cynicism, and negativism. 

 

Physical Symptoms 

  • I eat and snack excessively. 
  • I generally feel nervous and unsettled. 
  • I grind my teeth at night. 
  • I have difficulty relaxing. 
  • I have frequent, severe headaches. 
  • I have high blood pressure. 
  • I often have indigestion. 
  • I have lower back pain. 
  • I have tightness in my neck and shoulders. 
  • I have trouble sleeping at night. 

Spiritual Symptoms

  • I am apathetic toward Scripture. 
  • I am feeling more and more desperate to improve my situation. 
  • I am losing confidence that God can help me. 
  • I fail to recognize my own limits much of the time. 
  • I feel I am in a spiritual vacuum. 
  • I feel I am on my own. 
  • I feel I have lost perspective on life. 
  • I feel that God has given up on me. 
  • I feel like giving up on myself. 
  • I rarely pray or have quiet time anymore

 

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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!

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