Five Secrets to Stress Free Living
Stress is an equal opportunity offender. It doesn’t respect age, gender or socio-economic class. Stress is part of life, but how do you keep the peace? If you think that one day all of your stars will line up, you will win the lottery, your ship will come in and that irritating neighbor will move to Juno in January, you will never experience the peace that God offers. You can live in the penthouse and still be chasing the illusive gift of peace. So whether you are in transition, new to the team, in charge or at the bottom of the food chain, here are the principles that will bring you peace, no matter how dire your circumstances or what is trying to rob you of this marvelous gift of God.
1. Find Your Security in Your True Identity
You are a child of the King! Insecure people are like insecure animals, they are never at peace. Looking for affirmation from others, leads to pressure to measure up and perform to conform. Unrealistic expectations lead to a never ending list of unrealistic standards to measure up. You work harder and longer leading to ever greater pressure and stress. You lose your self identity when you are looking for affirmation from others. You end up wearing masks, living a double life, trying to be somebody you are not.
Understanding who God created you to be is the first and most important step to distress your life.
I know who I am by knowing “whose” I am. I am a child of the King. I have purpose in life, because I have been put here on earth for a reason. I am not an after-thought of God when he was finished creating the important people on his list. I am not cosmic ooze without a greater meaning in life. I am significant because God put me on earth for a reason according to His plan.
I am secure in the hands of God!
2. The Audience of One
Living to please God is my primary concern. Ultimately, my life is a stewardship of my time and everything I am and everything I own. God is the one whom I am seeking to please. I might be paid by the owner of the business, but I am working to please my ultimate boss, my Creator.
Jesus put it this way,
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” John 5:30 ESV
I know that I cannot please everybody, but I can please God. Even Jesus, living a sinless life, wasn’t able to please everybody. He was set on pleasing His Father, no matter what people thought.
Jesus was pleasing to His Father before he even did anything in ministry, because of Who He is.
“and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17 ESV
Trying to please people leads to three things:
- Conflict – fear of conflict causes many to compromise personal values and integrity.
- Criticism – caving in to what others think.
- Competition – motivated by keeping up with others.
My God will meet all my needs when I seek His kingdom first. Focusing on God simplifies my life as I focus on the main thing.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34 ESV
3. Determine Your Direction
Jesus knew where he was going and what He wanted to accomplish. He fulfilled His Father’s purpose on earth.
“Jesus answered, “…for I know where I came from and where I am going…” John 8:14 ESV
Jesus lived by priorities, not pressures.
When we live by priorities, others are less likely to let others pressure us into what they think is most important. Which will it be? You set priorities, or acquiesce to to other’s pressures. This is how you make sure that you get things done at the end of the day instead of chasing your tail because of your response to other’s tyranny of the urgent.
Having clear goals and priorities will simplify your life and de-stress your day.
Prayerfully submit your day to the Lord and ask Him to guide you from the first the first minute to accomplish His purposes.
Paul the Apostle said, “This one thing I do,” not “these forty things I dabble at.” (Philippians 3:13)
Researchers have revealed that multi-tasking is not effective. Focusing on one task at a time, giving full focused attention, concentrating on one thing at a time if the best solution for a stress filled life. Focusing sunlight through a magnifying glass can start a fire. You never find a power-plant built in a swamp. Narrow rivers are powerful rivers.
Many are stressed out because they are taking responsibility for more than Jesus ever intended. Jesus promised,
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30 ESV
Jesus is not the great burner-outer-in-the-sky. He is the Good Shepherd to leads his sheep. He is the Prince of Peace, so you can trust Him to know something about experiencing peace in the midst of our broken world. He was never stressed out or burned out. This leads to our fifth principle.
Jesus often invested a great deal of emotional energy into loving and serving people. He made it a habit to retreat to spend time in prayer and to rest and recharge his human batteries. Prayer is where we rest as we give our burdens to the One who does all things well. Jesus’ ministry cycle included times of giving, with times of receiving from His Father through prayer. When Jesus was busy, he still made time for prayer.
Spending time with God in prayer and feeding off of His word is a fabulous stress-reliever.
Many today do not know how to slow down and be still and turn off the i-phone and spend time meditating and gaining perspective from being in the quiet presence of God.
The Psalmist, when the mountains were falling into the depths of the sea reminds us to,
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalms 46:10 ESV
When you are finding yourself in a stress filled hole, the first thing is to stop digging! Going fast isn’t a good thing when you are going in the wrong direction.
Rest is so important that God included it in the Ten Commandments. It is not optional. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is get some sleep. Lack of sleep plagues our society and research is showing that less than 8 hours of sleep can be damaging to our brains over time and those who are sleep deprived at work are not much different from those who come to work intoxicated.
Ultimately, the greatest stress reliever is the give your stress to Christ. This begins when we give our lives to Christ and continues when we abide in Him every day of our lives. The Prince of Peace offers you a stress free life, but it is a choice that you have to make.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
Stress comes when we try to live our lives in our own power, in the flesh, even when we have good intentions. Many church people are living stress-filled lives of guilt and burdens and worries because they are trying to muscle out the Christian life in their own strength, which is impossible to accomplish and something Jesus never expected.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 ESV
Won’t you give your stress to Christ today? Won’t you spend some time alone with Him in prayer and in His word, agreeing with Him that “apart from Him you can do nothing?” Enjoy stress-free living by surrendering to Christ, while refusing to be your own god, running your life your way. Thank Jesus for taking your yoke upon Himself, so you can be set free indeed.