Bible Verses Help With Holiday Stress

Bible verses can help you relax, refocus on what's important, and remember to make room for God this holiday season.

By Roberta Meyers

Categories: Gratitude, Psalms

Do you ever find it hard to relax? I do. Does it make you feel guilty just to think of relaxing? I don't relax easily. It's something I've had to train myself to do -- especially when the stresses pile-up.

The coming holidays are times, which we generally look forward to with happy anticipation. But they also bring with them extra demands and pressures. These stresses can do a lot to reduce the joy we should be experiencing. Sometimes I need to just put on the brakes, call a "time-out," and try to figure out where I am and what I really need to be doing.

In Psalm 65, David says this about God:

"Thou who art the trust of all the ends of the earth, and of the farthest sea; Who dost establish the mountains by His strength, being girded with might: who dost still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples." (5b-8).

And in Psalm 46, the beloved verse reminds us,

"Be still and know that I am God."

Some translations read:

"Cease striving, and know that I am God."

Try this exercise: Sit quietly, comfortably, with both feet flat on the floor. Put both hands in your lap, OPEN - not folded - with palms facing up. This relaxes your hands and also helps to make you more receptive to God's quietness. Close your eyes and leave them closed.

Make a conscious effort to empty your mind. When any thought other than God's quietness comes in, imagine yourself literally brushing it away. GOD CAN'T FILL ANYTHING THAT'S ALREADY FULL! We have to make room for Him.

Now, while in this relaxed, comfortable position, direct your mind to God's presence. Believe in your heart that He is right here with you. He has promised, "I will never leave you or forsake you," so you know He is with you right now, this very moment. Meditate silently upon His ability to fill you with His peace, His stillness.

When your mind wanders to other things, label them as "debris thoughts" and deny them entrance into your thinking. That is, bar them from your mind so it is filled with that wonderful stillness. It is in this quiet place that God wants to talk to you - encourage you, comfort you, direct you.

Make sure you don't look at your watch or get fidgety. This is a discipline that CAN BE LEARNED, if you will practice it.

We all need to consider the condition of our hearts as we approach the joyous (and sometimes dreaded) holidays. We have 7 days in each week, 24 hours in each day. So it comes down to priorities. Make an effort -- a real effort, not half-hearted -- to set aside a time each day (ideally, in early morning) to practice listening to God. Eyes closed, hands open with palms up, feet flat on the floor. Then use the time, whether it's two minutes or an hour, to listen for that still, small voice - the voice of God speaking to your heart.

It may take awhile to get the hang of this, but if you truly desire closeness with God, and confident alignment with His will for you, you will emerge from the scrambled brain condition to a peaceful calm. You must persist and not give up. The apostle Paul said,

"Seek peace and pursue it."

He didn't say "Just let peace happen." Seek and pursue. Those are active verbs and require effort.

I guarantee that if you will do this, you will be blessed. Number one, keeping God first ALWAYS pleases Him, and it gives Him opportunity to bless you in ways you haven't even thought of. You will think more clearly and be enabled to set correct priorities for the things you need to do. As you stay tuned-in to His voice, He will prompt you in your decisions and help you avoid two enemies -- hurry and indecision.

God wants to be your steering wheel, not your spare tire.