Signposts Regarding Stress

Road signs give you notice of impending change or danger. Do you get anxious when you have to stop for others? Do you resent having to yield the right-of-way? Do you get impatient when road repairs make you change your speed or detour from the familiar? God’s warning signs often relay the same messages as those obstacles you encounter on the highways. What may seem an unpleasant hindrance to your movement through life may be God’s notice that you are going dangerously fast or that you are driving down the wrong road.

SLOW:

1. Slow down and make the necessary changes for good physical health.

  • Do I eat a balanced and healthy diet?
  • Do I exercise at least three times a week?
  • Do I take at least one day of rest each week?
  • Do I get adequate restful sleep most nights?

“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:2).

2. Slow down and evaluate your priorities.

  • Make a list of everything you do.
  • Consider other priorities that should be on the list.
  • Number in order of importance.
  • Choose your commitments carefully.
  • Eliminate unnecessary stressful obligations.
  • Don’t accept impossible deadlines.
  • Don’t give in to the pressure of urgency.
  • Tackle only one problem at a time.

“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:6).

3. Slow down and nourish your spiritual life.

  • Remind yourself daily to, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
  • Open lines of honest communication with God about your concerns, needs and fears.
    Set aside time daily for personal prayer and Scripture meditation.
  • Memorize Scripture that builds assurance of God’s love (Jeremiah 31:3; Psalm 36:7; John 14:21; Romans 8:39).

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (Psalm 119:71)

STOP:

1. Stop and look at the real reason you are experiencing stress.

  • Do I try to meet my own needs instead of waiting on the Lord?
  • Do I think God cannot get along without me?
  • Do I seek self-worth through proving my adequacy and effectiveness?
  • Am I Spirit-led or people-pressured?

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

2. Stop, confess and turn away from any known sin in your life.

  • Do I manipulate or control others?
  • Do I feel envious or jealous of others?
  • Do I express my feelings inappropriately?
  • Do I overreact to criticism?
  • Do I have impure motives?

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

YIELD:

1. Yield to God’s sovereign control over your circumstances.

  • What is God doing in my circumstances?
  • In what way does God want me to change?
  • How does God want me to respond?
  • Do I have impure motives?

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1).

2. Yield to God your rights and expectations.

  • I yield my right to control my circumstances.
  • I yield my right to be accepted by others.
  • I yield my right to be successful.
  • I yield my right to be heard and understood.
  • I yield my right to be right.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

RESUME SPEED: Resume speed, living in the presence of God.

Dear Lord,

  • I choose to let Christ live His life through me.
  • I choose to live in the present, not worrying about tomorrow.
  • I will refocus my thoughts away from my pressures to Your purposes for allowing this pressure.
  • I choose to have a thankful heart regardless of the pressure I feel.
  • I will call on You, Lord, for wisdom and peace.
  • I will commit to talking less and listening more.

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD” (Psalm 89:15).

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him” (Psalm 62:1).

[print_link] [email_link] [June Hunt, Hope for the Heart, 2008]

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