Stress in an Ever Challenging World and How God is in Control
Approximately 75% of Americans report feelings of moderate to heavy stress. No wonder—in the modern world we do more things, have more distractions, battle with online breaking news seemingly hourly and work often miles from home. I originally sought the help of Living Waters myself because of immense stress and anxiety during the COVID crisis because of a few perceived mistakes. It had been building but I thought I had it “under control”, until it wasn’t, then bam! Living Waters to the rescue. I wrote about my full story in a previous blog
According to the American Institute of Stress (yes, there is really one), symptoms of stress include constant racing of one’s mind going over every stressor over and over with varied outcomes (often times the what if’s, or the if I did this differently scenarios). With stress often comes depression, and if one is naturally anxious it is worse. You may get a racing heart, changes in blood pressure, sweats, poor sleep, obscure pains, anger, mood swings, self-harming thoughts, fatigue and more. If there are addiction issues, or tendency to chemically decompress stress can make them worse—heck, you might feel a six-pack a night will relieve your mind. It doesn’t. It almost always is a blend of physical and psychological symptoms.
Causes of stress can be many. Job loss. Job relationship issues. Deaths of loved ones. Finances. Divorce or relationship issues. Excessive worry over illness or potential illness. A lack of trust in people. And the new 2023 stressor, media overload be it TV, newspapers, Internet etc. The 24-hour divided news cycle has caused horrific stress for so many, particularly those predisposed to worry.
To overcome stress one need to be proactive. We need to admit we have a problem. I finally did and thanks to my wife, who pushed me a bit, I sought help. If I hadn’t goodness knows where I’d be now and frankly if I would even be here. It’s no different from the tried and true motto of Alcoholics Anonymous, admit a problem and change the things you can change. One of my favorite verses that helped me was Romans 12:1-2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Chronic stress (and often depression and anxiety) doesn’t just go away. You need to speak to someone; a concerned loved one perhaps, but ultimately a trusted clergy or a counselor that has no preconceived notions. Put it n God’s hands and say I have a problem, please lead me and help me.
If you are dealing with it alone and think downing 3-4 vodkas a night, smoking, over eating with foods that temporarily calm you, having a few leftover pills from the old days when mom was having issues—– STOP! Some of these things give feelings of calm by temporarily changing the physiology, but it comes right back with a vengeance after doing real physical damage to the body, making the stressors even worse. And avoid social media. Many charlatans offer websites that placate peoples problems offering no real solutions, but keep people coming back for views and likes which oftentimes leads to higher income for the internet guru. They medicate stress. Another verse I adore that relates is 1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you”.
You ultimately need to take the responsibility of caring for the body, the vessel, God has given you. It pleases Him when it is treated with dignity and respect. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”. If you stop the abuse of the body physically and mentally and give it all to Him via the gifts of grown food, exercise, fresh air, nature, stress reduction etc. you are living as God demands.
Lastly do as I did, look for God and ask Him to Help. I will be honest here, until I found Living Waters I failed to properly make the connection of my stressors and God. I said I deserved my pain as a result of my mistakes. I did it. Spirituality had nothing to do with it. Sure I believed in God, but I created the stress. I didn’t blame God but I didn’t seek Him either. It wasn’t His fault. But I realized I was talking about God like He was the person next door. He isn’t. He is why we are here. He gave us the gift of spirituality. We are spiritual beings with 100% of our mind, body and spirit created by Him. An “aha moment” for me—I need a relationship with God, and only when I put it completely in the hands of the Father, could I begin to rid myself from the shackles of immense worry and stress. I gave it to Him. And Living Waters was the conduit. Let go and Let God. I found these bullet points on the guideposts.org website that fits in perfectly.
- Identify what you can control—and what you can’t.
- Address what you can control.
- Surrender what you can’t control.
- Meditate on the promises of your faithful God.
- Choose a “letting go” motto (verse or phrase to keep you out of the stress abyss).
- Resolve not to act on fear but on faith.
- Focus your mind and heart on trusting God today.
“Let go and let God”