Got Stress? Get Grace!

As I looked for a good tie-in to today’s post, I immediately loved this acronym:

S.T.R.E.S.S. = Still Trying to Run the Entire Solar System

Now, I could tell you all the reasons why my week was stressful. This would include a conference, a deadline, tech difficulties, and a cranky child. I’m sure you understand.

Yet, they might just be good excuses. We all know Life happens. It’s easy to complain.

I could also offer advice on how I met these challenges. I’d share how I took a nap, took a walk…and took some chocolate. I’d recommend arranging for childcare, using a crockpot for easy meals, and rescheduling certain activities for another time. All good things!

(I’ll leave out the perfectionism and procrastination part…I’m sure that wasn’t related.) 😉

But you see, in my tiny little solar system, it can’t be all about me, what I want or know. I can’t even decide what to have for breakfast…so I am totally inadequate to run the show.

So I’ll keep trusting in God, the Creator of the Universe. He is excellent at dealing with stressful events. And, He is an ever-present Help in time of need!

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
He who watches over you will not slumber.”

–Psalm 121:1-3

milky-way-916523_1280

Let’s take a moment to clarify and renew our minds with God’s word. We can overlook important details or connections when we feel overwhelmed.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.” If you don’t have peace, try realigning your focus.

Often we get stressed because we feel responsible for end-results—as if success depends on us. It is useless to depend on our own fleeting energy instead of God’s everlasting strength.

If God started something good in you, He will be faithful to complete it (see Philippians 1:6).

Both perfectionism and procrastination can yield stress. But the root is fear. In the chaos of our emotions, we can lose sight of the vision and purpose God has given us.

So, remind yourself of God’s constant love. We don’t have to be afraid!

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God blesses obedience, and He has equipped us to do what He has called us to do (see Ephesians 2:10). If we’re trying to do more than that, it’s no wonder we are stressed.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Lord God, I praise you! You spoke out Your Word, and created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for you! You do all things well. When I am overwhelmed, help me seek You first. I want to do it Your way. Give me wisdom to know what to do, and the courage to do it. Thank You for Your abundant grace. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.

Questions: What are your best techniques for handling stress? Do you have a favorite Bible verse that you find helpful?

 

 

8 thoughts on “Got Stress? Get Grace!

  1. Whilst I have enjoyed reading all of your posts, this one really stuck out to me. I feel like I am always stressed out, putting more pressure on myself then need be. I want to control the things in my life and have a hard time letting go when things don’t go to plan. I really like the acronym because it definitely reminds me that I am where I am supposed to be at this moment and whether I like it or not, everything in my future is already set and I cannot control everything but only the most important things that are relevant.

    1. Good points, Steph! Thanks so much for commenting!

      We cannot control everything that happens…but we can control our reaction. When I look at it from God’s perspective, I realize that I can relax a little because He will get me where He needs me to be. I will always be a planner, and probably a (recovering) perfectionist. But, there is freedom knowing that I am NOT in control. (It lets me be off the hook, lol!)

  2. Hi Natalie,
    I have been SO stressed lately (which just shows I’m relying on my OWN strength, not God’s) that I haven’t read the last 3 posts. This one caught my eye with that key word–STRESS–because of all that is going on my life. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that a lot is to do with this current grief support group and a lot of the rest is over my friend Linda who has a brain tumor (I’ve talked of her before) who is worsening, and the burden on her husband is so, so terrible. I really am trying to rely on God on that one–there is NO way I can be helpful without Him. Anyway, I just wanted to say that God has given me strength in 3–now 4–ways this week to help me see that my life is just not all about ME and where to look for the important stuff. I found the most beautiful description of grieving (may send that to you) in a novel I am reading; then the grief group went so deep this week and helped me realize that we get too bogged down in our HUMANESS and forget that we are spiritual beings, too. When mired in being human we are open prey for the devil who will cause us to despair, to feel that we are worthless and that all is hopeless. Thirdly, my Bible Study today was focused on Paul’s imprisonment and his love for the Philipians. We watched a video by Jeff Cavins–heard of him?–preaching on this subject. He talked about the importance of looking at our own sinfulness and asking for forgiveness before we expect God to be present to us in our troubles. The other main point was about how praising God and thanking him for ALL that is in our life BRINGS God into our life to work for us. Your beautiful sharing was the fourth thing in two days to sort of wake me up!

    Well, none of this is new to you, but I just wanted you to know that your words have power and that they are so beautifully written that they must be from God. It is so amazing how you are using your life to help others in this new kind of way. How many replies do you get? Can you answer them all?

    Thinking of you often and keeping YOU in prayer. God is with you surely. I am printing this out for the group next week. Thanks,
    Aunt Maggie

    1. Hi Aunt Maggie, thanks for your comments.
      It’s difficult when you have so many people asking for that level of emotional help. Really, only God can be our Sustainer, and give us what we need so we can give it to others. In our humanity, we are weak and sinful. But, God gives us grace and strength (and mercy, forgiveness, peace, etc).

      When we praise God, the devil cannot stand it. When we give thanks, even in desperate times, God gets the glory. Satan has no hold on us, and when we realize it and show it through praise and thanksgiving, he flees.

      You might check out the last two posts as well. ‘On Rivendell and Rest’ might be good for your grief support group. And ‘Race Toward Grace’ might also be a good pick-me-up right now.

      XO Natalie

  3. My favorite verse (among many other great options of verses) for stressful situations is Psalm 46:1.

    God is our refuge and strength,
    and ever present help in trouble.

    I discovered this verse one night when a friend went missing for a few days, and I realized that I was totally helpless to fix the situation. It kind of reminds me of the acronym from this week’s post b/c I was doing everything in my power to try to find my friend, but it wasn’t working. I will remember that acronym for future stressors. I think/hope it will help me turn the situation over to God and trust him before I have a meltdown instead of surrendering only after I’ve given up on my plan and conceded to His much better one.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Livi. I will remember that acronym as well. I’m thankful for God’s grace because we are ALL works in progress and prone to wonder away from God!

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