Why are so many of us stressed out? If it’s not one thing that hits you it’s another. Just when you think you are getting out of the rut something else knocks you down. It seems things have gotten worse lately. People of all ages have recently told me they don’t want to be around any more. Some say that they wish they’d never been born. Is life wearing you down too?
Most of us are equipped with the capability to cope with the inconveniences of daily living. But, quite often, we don’t get a break from the continual influx of annoyances. What happens then? Well, there comes a time when—under the slightest pressure and without warning—our internal sponge just can’t soak up anymore. Our‘handling system’shuts down and refuses to operate. It is a fact that we all reach a point of saturation.
What are some symptoms of saturation and system failure? Our temper gets short and we rant and rave like maniacs. We feel like we’ve lost control and have panic attacks. Jaws tighten, teeth grind and muscles tense. We cry and scream randomly. Our heart flutters and blood pressure spikes. We feel anxious, not knowing why. We want to run and hide. Chest feels tight and we can’t breathe. Sleepless nites, auras, migraines and dizzy spells. Stomach gets upset, ulcers develop. Acid reflux destroys teeth and esophagus. Loss of focus. Chronic fatigue.
Continued stress on our system affects our ability to get things done right and also decreases our enjoyment level. None of us wants to live in stress, so how can we stop the insanity? Stress comes at us from at least four sources:
- Outward circumstances that are out of our control.
- Circumstances that we can control.
- Inward attitudes, beliefs and thought patterns.
- Internal physical conditions.
These simple adjustments can make a difference in your stress levels:
- Relax! Take time from routine chores to do something enjoyable. Listen to calming music. Laughter is good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
- Proper deep breathing helps lower blood pressure. Take the edge off by stretching and massaging your muscles.
- Get adequate sleep, eat healthier and exercise daily; these are crucial elements in relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Focus on what is good. Don’t listen to negative people.
- Share your problems with someone who will listen to anything you say without judging you—and you are sure will keep things confidential.
- Things will not go our way all the time. Flexibility is key. Face this fact so you won’t blow a gasket when something interrupts your agenda or conflicts with your schedule. Stop trying to make something work if its out of your control.
- Prayer has healing power. Talk to God daily to develop a close relationship with Him. He is always around to listen.
Are you a Christian? That is, a born-again believer, who was bought and paid for by the death of Christ? Then remember that your life is not all about you any more; it is about God’s purpose for you. Yes, salvation assures us of our eternal destiny with God, it guarantees that He is always watching our back, and promises us many great things. However, salvation is not a ticket to smooth sailing on a cruise ship, where God is on board to serve our every whim. We are just along for the ride—come hell or high water. Thinking otherwise will certainly lead to a frustrated existence. Christianity is not for wimps.
We are an army of believers who have signed up to fight to the death for God’s cause. We battle daily against an invisible enemy that is on a mission to kill, steal and destroy. Their main priority is to kill our chance to be with God forever; by keeping us in the dark about the plan of salvation. If that doesn’t work they try to steal the blessings Christians are promised —starting with peace of mind, which takes the joy out of living. They then attempt to destroy our ability to become who we were designed to be by filling our minds with paralyzing thoughts. Our mission is to help people understand that they don’t have to become permanent‘casualties of war’The enemy knows we can’t complete our mission when we are immobilized by fear, stress, anxiety and doubt. This is why strong faith is vital.
All believers are equipped with a‘faith muscle’. Regrettably some of us don’t exercise it much beyond salvation. That’s unfortunate because it takes strong faith to keep us going when our physical and emotional strength give out. Some of us end up between a rock and a hard place before we realize the pressure is too much to bear, and we don’t have the faith to go on. There are limits to what we can take and what we can do alone. People who rely solely on their own strength risk losing both health and sanity, because extreme stress drains physical and mental resources.
The proper time to build up our faith muscle should be before it’s desperately needed. Doubt, worry and fear are sure signs of weakening faith. Many of us don’t know the true measure of our faith until it’s tested. When we are faced with the death of a loved one, unemployment, sudden disaster, or failing health we will need more than grit to get us through. Even seasoned weightlifters know not to rely on their own determination and strength when lifting massive weight. Spotters help carry the load and keep the lifter from injury when the burden gets too heavy. Jesus is our spotter. If life’s pressures are weighing you down, relax, take a deep breath. Trust Him to do what you can’t, and‘let it go’.