I do not know about you, but it seems that every time I go to the doctor the word stress comes up. The reality is that people have been dealing with stress for a very long time. We strive to invent technology to relieve our stress and to make life a little bit more comfortable. For most people it is what drives them. Always trying to find ways to make life easier and to be less stressful. The ironic part of this way of life is we become stressed out trying not to stress out.
The laundry list of physical symptoms of stress are high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, headaches, chest pain, muscle pain, stomach pain, nausea, change in sex drive, anxiety, over eating, substance abuse, lack of focus. I really can go on and on but I think you get the point. No wonder the doctor is always talking about stress. This is a recipe for a disaster!
I recently got married to the most amazing women I know. As any of you that have planned a wedding can attest that it can be a very stressful experience, fun but stressful. Although the ceremony itself was the most amazing moment of my life, it cost me some stress getting to that point of happiness.
We had the perfect day planned. We got married in Duke Gardens in Durham North Carolina. This place is the definition of beauty. The only thing more beautiful there was my bride. But guess what happens when you plan an outside wedding, it rains. Our plans that we had been working on for months all of a sudden had to change.
If everything that happens in our lives go according to plan then we would have very minimal stress. But the truth is that is not a reality. The unplanned and unexpected will always happen in our lives. Stress and anxiety come from our plans not meeting our expectations. We begin to dwell on whats happening in our circumstances and they become overwhelming. Stress begins to take over and when it takes over we fall into an unhealthy trap. It becomes a snowball effect that we try to adjust our plans to meet our expectations. The more we focus on our problems to fix them, the more we become stressed. As a result our physical, mental and spiritual health starts to crumble. Our body starts to fall apart. Our focus and relationships suffer all around us. We get consumed with trying to meet our own expectations.
Instead of focusing on our plans not meeting our expectations, we just need peace. Peace is a place that stress can not exist. We can not be stressed and in peace at the same time. Peace wipes away our stress and anxiety. But how do we find peace? Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul has the answer here. Lets break this scripture down and see if these principles can help us.
- Stop fighting for control. God loves you enough to show you he is in control of your expectations. Think about it, there have been several experiences in our lives you did not have control over. You did not control when you were born, who your parents were, what race you are, or where you were born. You can not control if you get in a car wreck tomorrow or if you get cancer next year. This thought of control can consume you and feed the stress. But God wants you to let go so he can take your worries and replace it with peace. When Paul says “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything” we need to let go of control and ask Jesus to take our worries on him. God can control the things you can not control and the things you think you can control. He replaces this worry with peace.
- Believe His promise. Once you pray and give control to God, peace is completed by believing that Jesus has your best interest in heart. You have to live in the peace that God gives you. Your life needs to reflect Gods expectations in you and not let your own expectations come back in. We need to stand firm in that God has our lives and believe His expectations are better than ours. Keep living in faith that what is happening to you is what God needs for you to experience to live in His expectations.
- Peace only with Jesus. John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” The world is filled with troubles that lead to stress. But Jesus wants you to know him and have a relationship with him. In Jesus there is only peace. Stress, worry, and anxiety has no place with him. The best part is Jesus has overcome the troubles of this world, you just need to seek him. Jesus is there for you in your darkest moments and will never leave you. Just do not leave him.
When life’s expectations become too much and world is beating you down. There is peace that is greater than these things and that peace is in Jesus. Embrace the freedom Jesus has for you and live in a stress free world he has already beaten. Turn your troubles to him and let go so God can move you forward. Trust me your physical health will improve and you will not have to see that pesky doctor as much. Your mental health will be strong so you can brush off life’s troubles and live up to your potential. Your spirit will be strong and full of life. The people around you will enjoy your company and you will begin to see that you are meant for something better than you have ever known.
On my wedding day when I was rushing around 1 hour before my bride was coming for me. I was running around making sure everything was in place. I was thinking why is it raining and the stress was building stronger and stronger. Then with about 2 mins till I saw Danielle I said a little prayer to myself. I asked God to give me peace. In that instant the stress was gone. I turned and told my friend and pastor Jeremy Copeland, all I have to do now is wait for my bride. That moment of peace made my special day perfect. I could not see the rain anymore. All my worries were taken away and I did not miss a moment of happiness. I felt the peace that surpasses all understanding.
These are not the faces of stress. Because of Gods peace we together will be able to live up to God expectations in our lives. I pray that this post is found helpful to you. That the next time stress starts to take over you turn to Jesus to give you peace. If you do not know a relationship with Jesus. Seek him out and know that life that he has for you is better than you can ever imagine.