My friend, Betty*, always seems to be tense. She lives, what I would call, a stress-filled life. She obsesses over projects - worrying over every detail. She told me that she has to so this, because who would protect her interests if she didn't? She is continually running in high gear. I have often wanted to tell her, "Just relax," but this is a way of life for her.
For many of us, the need to be in control of every aspect of life feels normal and healthy, even though there is scientific evidence to the contrary.
- Doctors tell us that stress affects our mind - often resulting in impaired judgment and indecisiveness, forgetfulness and even depression.
- Physical signs show up as high blood pressure, headaches and migraines, digestive problems and stomach ulcers.
- Prolonged stress often leads to anxiety, panic attacks and even heart attacks.
- Even mild stress can rob us of the joy of living.
It seems that people have created their own stress for thousands of years. Sometime around 700 B.C. God sent the prophet Isaiah, to Israel, with this message. "In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength," Isaiah 30:15 (NIV) It seems that people never change. The verse ends with "but you would have none of it."
Many of us have that attitude. We will have none of it. It is difficult to let go of the stress. We don't know how to be quiet or how to trust God with our affairs.
- Begin by talking to the only one who is in control. Find a quiet place, even if it is only for a few minutes. Go to God. Confess the need for control. List the things that worry you about a particular situation. Talk it out as if he is there in the room with you, because - he is.
- Know that he hears you and believe that he cares about even the little things. He cares for every bird and animal and you are more important to him than they are. (Matthew 6:26)
- Join a group of people in similar circumstances. Young mothers. Single women. Seniors. This may or may not be through your church. It could be a group of women who walk for exercise. Become interested in the lives of others. Share in the happiness and in the sadness of others. (Romans 12:15)
- Every evening, lay everything at the feet of Jesus - all your problems and concerns. Put everything in his hands. Let him take care of it for the night. You can sleep peacefully because he doesn't sleep, he is always watching over you. (Psalm 121:3)
(* Betty is not a single person, but a combination of several acquaintances.)