Dealing with Stress
How do you deal with stress?
It's easy to get stressed when we think we have to do everything in a short amount of time and to a standard that often seems too high to reach.
The good news is that we don't have to do everything. God does. It's God who does the work. The psalmist affirms: "I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me" (Ps 57:2 KJV). No matter what it is, God performs "all things." Isn't that a relief! It seems simple because it is. We just have to yield to that simple truth.
While God performs everything for us, we still have a major responsibility. We must make sure we let God work through us. That means we need to be so clear in our thought that we offer no resistance to God's work in our lives. We need to get rid of anything that would try to block God's activity in our lives. More often than not, that "anything" is fear.
Stress is usually based on fear—fear of not having enough time, resources, or skill; of not measuring up; of not making the right decision; etc. The children of Israel, specifically the tribe of Judah, felt afraid when they were facing an imminent attack from multiple enemies—the inhabitants of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir. Jahaziel spoke up: "Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's….Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you" (2 Chron 20:15, 17).
With this assurance, as the men of Judah got ready to face their enemies, King Jehoshaphat had men go out in front, thanking and singing praises to God. What happened was incredible. The Ammonites and Moabites ended up destroying the men of Seir and then turned on each other. When the men of Judah got there, all they saw were "dead bodies. No one had escaped" (21-24). They didn't need to fight.
That's pretty cool. We can trust in God as Jahaziel and the rest of Judah did. When we have daunting tasks that we need to accomplish, instead of feeling stressed, we can stand up to the fear. We can be confident, stand calmly, and watch how God works everything out successfully.
One of the best ways to get rid of fear is to replace it with love. We read, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (I John 4:18 ESV). It's hard to feel afraid when we feel totally encompassed by Love.
When we allow ourselves to feel God's ever-present Love, then we are filled with peace. Fear and stress have no choice but to leave, to dissipate into thin air. We discover that, in reality, nothing can block God or God's work, for no one and nothing is more powerful than God, who is Love.
So how do we deal with stress? We defeat stress by letting God love us and work through us every moment of our lives.