Stress. We all experience it at one point or another. However, left un-dealt with stress can result in us forsaking God’s ways and losing sight of the relief he can bring.
A friend recently posted on Facebook, “your system is perfectly designed for the results you're getting.”
This statement was really convicting to me, as I have not been getting the best results in my relationship or at work recently. In fact, I had been getting the exact opposite results I was aiming for and the stress just kept mounting. To make things worse stress in one resulted in more stress in the other (relationship and work).
Stress is pressure or tension exerted on a material object or a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Biblical faith, hope and love, are all none circumstantial, they permeate beyond our circumstances. Hope is rooted in the belief that God is at work to redeem all things regardless of how things happen to be turning out. When the tension becomes too great for me, to my shame, I can sometimes run away from instead of towards God. I can allow the stress to color how I view myself, and others.
Psalm 31:22 “In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from your sight!’ Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.”
I took a much needed vacation recently and it wasn’t until I was actually able to decompress and reflect that I was able to see just how much I had let built up inside of me. The result: Anger. Anger tends to be a sign, that I am feeling afraid or someone is crossing my personal boundaries. Yet when I refuse to listen to the sign and process it, it can turn into something very destructive to me and others. Just like the psalmist, in my alarm I can feel like God isn’t there. I can resort to relying on myself and give into my emotions instead of letting my emotions signal me back to God. I can give into my anger and lose sight of who I have been called to be. I lose perspective and allow the circumstances to become greater than the faith I have been gifted by grace. I get ungrateful and can be easily irritable, negative towards or about myself and others.
Lam3:21-22 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”
God loves me, us, unconditionally. He is the ultimate stress reliever if we just cast our anxieties onto him. God is the ultimate Father who desires to comfort and take care of me in my pain or angst. A child that gets hurt instinctively runs to their parent for comfort, as such, I too in my hurt should respond likewise. Yet, I can so often run away from God, the ultimate comforter when I am hurt. I can allow my hurt and fears to pile on and drive me right into sin instead of into God’s arms. In these moments I assume the worst of others instead of the best and I can resort to escaping into movies or become very hopeless in my outlook on life and faithless in overcoming. It is only God’s love and connecting with this love that can restore my right perspective and give me the courage and power to change. The greater benefit, is that most often, not always but often times, when we change our perspective and accept God’s love our perspective changes in a way that allows us to also change our circumstances and get the results we really want. When I am motivated by God's love and bringing him glory I can see past the circumstances, move past my shame, and deal with what is before me in a way that is righteous and results in freedom that brings joy.
Is 61:7 “Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land and ever lasting joy will be theirs.”
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