Have you ever been under stress? Have you ever felt that the pressures of life are too much? I am sure that at one time or another all of us have.
So here are some guidelines to help you handle stress:
1. KNOW WHO YOU ARE
This is the principle of identification. This is critically important in stress management because if you don’t know who you are – you will let other people manipulate you and pressure you into being somebody you aren’t. A lot of stress in life results from our wearing masks, being unreal with others, living double lives, or trying to be somebody we’re not.
Here are some of the things I know about myself: I am a father. I am a husband. I am a human being. I am a follower of Christ. I could go on – but you get the point. Identify who you are and this will help you:
2. KNOW WHO YOU’RE TRYING TO PLEASE
You know you can’t please everybody, because just about the time you get one group pleased, another group gets mad at you. Even God doesn’t please everybody, so it’s foolish to try to do something that even God doesn’t do!
The Bible says if I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all the other necessary things of life will be added unto me (Matt. 6:33). This means that if I focus on pleasing God, it will simplify my life. I will always be doing the right thing regardless of what anybody else thinks.
3. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH
Every day you either live by priorities or you live by pressures. There is no other option. You either decide what is important in your life or else you let other people tell you what is most important in your life. You either live by priorities or you live by pressures.
Having clear goals greatly simplifies life. Spend a few minutes each day in prayer talking with God. Look at your schedule for the day and decide, “Is this really the way I want to spend a day of my life? Am I willing to exchange twenty-four hours of my life for these activities?”
4. GIVE YOUR STRESS TO CHRIST
Jesus said, “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.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
Christ did not say, “Come to Me and I will give you more guilt, more stress, and more worries!” No – Jesus said, “I want to give you rest. I am the Stress-Reliever. When you get in harmony with Me – I will give you inner strength.” So this final principle of stress management is: Give your stress to Christ. You will never enjoy peace of mind until you have a relationship with the Prince of Peace.