Sunday, 7 April 2013

How do Christians Deal with Stress?

Before we answer the question, "How do Christians deal with stress?" let's look at how Christians define stress.
Stress tends to visit us when we're tired, when we're sick, when we're driving through a crowded metropolis, when we're late for an important meeting, or if we've taken on too many responsibilities. When circumstances are out of our control, we feel stress. When our basic needs are not being met and our safety is threatened, we tend to get anxious.
Answer: Stress and anxiety for a Christian can take on many different shapes and forms, yet in general, for most Christians, stress boils down to one idea -lack of trust in God.
Though it is impossible to lump all of Christianity into one common position, most Christians do share the thinking that God is sovereign and in control of our lives. We believe he is the author and composer of our life of faith. We believe he has given us everything we need for life. So, most of the time when stress dominates our lives, somewhere along the way we have failed to trust God.
Though this explanation appears simplistic, it's not meant to imply that a stress-free life in Christ is easy to obtain.
Just trust God more and you'll never deal with stress again! If only it were that easy.
Life is much too complicated, and we are much too vulnerable in our human condition to ever escape the inevitable battles with stress. But for Christians, stress does have a positive side. It can be a reminder that our lives have drifted away from God. It might be an indicator that we have stopped depending upon him daily for strength. Perhaps we have forgotten the many promises in his Word?

Ways that Christians Cope with Stress:

There are many practical disciplines that a Christian can and should exercise to avoid stress. Getting enough rest, a proper diet, regular exercise, and keeping a balance between work, ministry and family time - these are all practical ways the Bible teaches us to regulate stress in our lives. However, from a spiritual standpoint, stress relief for a Christian begins and ends with these three basic disciplines:

• Prayer

Instead of worrying over our problems, further compounding our anxiety and stress, the Bible recommends taking everything to God in prayer. This verse in Philippians offers the comforting promise that as we pray, our minds will be protected by a peace that goes beyond our ability to understand.
    Philippians 4:6-7
    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

• Meditation on the Word of God

The Bible is filled with incredible promises from God. Meditating on these words of assurance can dispel our worry, doubt, fear and stress. Here are just a few examples of the Bible's stress relieving verses:
    2 Peter 1:3
    His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (NIV)
    Matthew 11:28-30
    "Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." (NLT)
    John 14:27
    "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." (NLT)
    Psalm 4:8
    "I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe." (NLT)

• Praise

A site visitor wrote:
    "I find it to be almost impossible to be stressed and praise God at the same time. When I'm stressing I just start praising and the stress just seems to go away." -- Tom
Praise and worship will take our minds and thoughts off of self, off our problems, and refocus them on God. As we begin to praise and worship God, suddenly our problems seem small in light of the largeness of God. Music is also soothing to the soul. Next time you're feeling stressed, try following Tom's advice and see if your stress doesn't begin to lift.
• Listen to Christian music when you feel stressed. Here are some suggestions for the Best Christian Music Albums.