Summary: This post gives practical tips for stress management. Signs of stress. Biblical steps of stress management. Read and lead a stress-free life.
Joke: Once a man who was suffering from severe stress went with his wife to the doctor. The doctor said to the wife, “Your husband needs rest and peace. Here are some sleeping pills.” Wife, “When must I give them to him?” Doctor, “They are for you.”
Helen Steiner Rice: Life is a mixture of sunshine and rain, teardrops and pleasure, laughter and pain.
One moment we can be happy and soon life brings other circumstances that can trouble and upset us. If we are not careful we will let everything become so intense and pressured that we will lose our joy. Many people are burned out at the end of the day and go to sleep sad and tensed. God did not create us to live a stressful life but to enjoy every moment of our day.
Today we are going to see the biblical perspective to cope up with the stress of life.
Proverbs 15:13-25 13A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. 14The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. 15All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. 16Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. 17Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred. 18A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. 19The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. 20A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. 21Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course. 22Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. 23A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word! 24The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead. 25The LORD tears down the house of the proud, but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.
In this passage we can notice some negative words: Crushed spirit, oppressed, turmoil, hatred, hot temper, conflict, quarrel, failure. These are all synonyms for stress and tension.
Someone compared human stress to a balloon. A balloon may seem a very beautiful thing for a child but we know there is pressure inside. We put more pressure and boom it bursts. We have a certain limit of tolerance beyond which many of us snap.
Ecclesiastes 5:17 As a man comes so he departs, and what does he gain, since he toils for the wind? All his days he eats in darkness with great frustration, affliction, and anger. This is stress. We are living in times where people are not able to handle stress anymore. Last week a 30-year-old Infosys employee committed suicide because of stress.
Stress is a mysterious thing: You can’t see it, you cannot touch it, but you definitely know it’s there. Psychologists say men, women, and even children nowadays suffer from stress.
SIGNS OF STRESS
- Chronic fatigue/sleeplessness.
- A sense of helplessness.
- Never having a sense of accomplishment.
- Feeling like a failure.
- Constant illness.
- Headaches and tensions. Migraines.
- High blood pressure.
- Heart disease.
The root behind all of this is human stress. So if you deal with the root the stress, you stop the fruit, all these symptoms.
BIBLICAL STEPS TO REDUCE STRESS.
1. Learn to Laugh.
Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. We live in a stressful world, so need to take some time to lighten up.
Joke: The employees of a company were having a pizza party in the break. After the break the new CEO takes a walk and decides to sack all lazy employees, who have not joined back work after the party. Soon he notices a young man leaning against the wall, doing nothing. The CEO asks him, “What’s your pay?” “Rs. 6000,” said the man. The CEO asks him to wait and walks to his cabin. He returns with Rs. 12000 and says, “Here is your pay for 2 months. Now get out and don’t come back again.” Feeling very good about downsizing the CEO looks around and asks “What was that fellow doing here?” A worker shouts out, “Pizza delivery boy.”
There are all kinds of benefits that come from a joyful heart. People who laugh on a regular basis are healthier, live longer, have better relationships, and make better decisions. We have bills to pay, children to raise, deadlines at the office, traffic jam, sickness etc and it is easy to get bent down by the pressures of life. If we are not careful we will let everything become so intense and pressured that we will never laugh, we will never have any fun, we become burdened down by life.
I have seen people over the years lose their sense of humour. People become more serious, all work and no play. Friends we are not to live life that way. One of the best stress relievers that God created is joy. A good laugh reduces blood pressure, it lowers stress. Laughter strengthens our immune system. It releases endorphin and make us feel better. Laughter increases our brain function. When you laugh every day, enjoy every day it is like you are taking a medicine. Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
If you are a joyful person, you are going to be more creative, you are going to be more effective. Laughter brings down the walls. When you laugh with someone, they are always open to you. Laughter makes people receptive.
It is interesting that the longest running shows in television are the comedy shows. Year after year while other programmes lose viewership, the simple comedy show still goes on.
I don’t think we could ever possibly deal with the stresses and pressures of the ministry, if home were not a fun place to be. Most of the time our home is filled with laughter, fun, and joy. The children pick up on our spirits and join right in.
Psalm 126:2-3 2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” 3The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Job 8:22 He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
2. Cultivate Contentment.
Contentment is an internal satisfaction which does not demand change in external circumstances. One reason people are stressed out in life is lack of satisfaction. They always want more and end up in tension and stress.
Proverbs 15:16 Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.
It is good to have blessings – a new house, a great car and nice things but do you know, we’re no happier than we were in that one-room apartment and driving that old bike.
If you want to have a happy home, you have to cultivate contentment. I have seen people taking loans from others to buy mutton for son’s birthday. If you do not have the means do not lavish, go vegetarian this time.
No contentment in life pushes many people to overspend. They buy things they don’t need, their happiness is in having more, and use money they do not have, credit card.
Philippians 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
1Timothy 6:8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
1 Timothy 1:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 1:9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
So, learn to laugh, cultivate contentment…
3. Alleviate Anger.
Joke: There was a couple’s conference and the instructor said both man and woman are equal. The men said, “No my wife dominates me.” One man said, “I disagree.” The instructor asked how? He said, “I always get the last word in our conversation.” So they asked what is that word? He said “For everything my wife says I answer ‘Yes, dear.’
Proverbs 14:17 A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated.
Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
Seventy percent of Indian women are victims of domestic violence? Why would a man beat up his wife? Why would a woman scream at her children and husband? It is basically stress which finds it outlet in anger. We need to alleviate anger.
In the year 2012, 266 murders were reported in Bangalore city. Out of this only 17 were committed for gain, i.e. by unknown people, 249 murders were committed within friends, family, and relatives. All this show there is so much of stress and anger within our families.
One way to control anger is to control our tongue.
Proverbs 18:13 To answer before listening—that is folly and shame. (Put mouth in gear before brain).
Proverbs 29:20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them. The clear lesson here: the way to control anger is to control your mouth…your tongue!
Nothing will reduce stress and tension in the home like getting control of your words. When you are mad, angry, upset (and those times will come) keep your mouth shut! “Be angry, and sin not!” What we think: “Maybe I will make my point better if I say it a little louder” (then they get louder) “or if I add some sarcasm or a cutting insult…then they’ll get the point!”
People generally say: In the heat of that moment, I can’t control my mouth…oh yes you can! Imagine a husband arguing with his wife. He is talking loudly and screaming at his wife. All of a sudden the phone rings and sweetly he says: Hello! You see, we can control anger if we want to!
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
So, learn to laugh/cultivate contentment/alleviate anger…
4. Walk in Wisdom.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 15:33 Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.
We need wisdom to lead a stress-free life.
Proverbs 1:17 How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it.
If you lay a net in front of the birds, no bird will ever come into the net. It will fly all around but not into the net. The bird sees the net as its enemy and avoids it.
Illustration: Sam was fighting to catch a dragon fly and finally we caught one and Sam brought it home. After some time it slipped Sam’s hands and flew in the house. Sam was saying, “Come, come.” But it never came. We tried our best to catch it but it sensed danger in our hands and flew away.
We must see stress as an enemy. The bird has an avoidance mechanism. We can never be happy after settling all our problems. Stressful circumstances will always come, we have a lot of opportunity to be stressed out, but we need to avoid them with wisdom.
2 Corinthians 4:8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.
2 Corinthians 4:8 AMP We are hedged in (pressed) on every side
[troubled and oppressed in every way
], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair.
This scripture says just because trouble is there it does not mean you have to be stressed by it. You can be right in the midst of trouble but not be stressed out by it.
John 14:1 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
AMP Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). Trust God, rely on God.
Do not let… that means I have the ability to cause trouble to my heart. Jesus has already given us the joy but I decide if my heart is troubled. How do you keep your heart out of trouble? Believe God.
Trusting God is like a tree. It is committed to be there no matter what the weather, hot, cold, drought, flood, snow the tree is there. We need to trust God no matter what happens, decide to be with God.
I have been diagnosed with a sickness – I will believe God.
Things are not working out for me – I will trust God.
Somebody say – I trust God. So my heart is not in trouble.
Matthew 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Jesus said, “See that you not be troubled.” God is telling, things will be against you, you may face wars, problems in the family, your health but you see to it that you will not be troubled.
Trust in God when such things happen. Speak to that problem, speak to your situation by faith and say I will not be troubled I will trust God. You do not have to be stressed because God is in control over every of your situation.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 AMP I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have
] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer
[take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted
]! For I have overcome the world.
[I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.
Peace comes from what Jesus has spoken. In your pressure, in your trouble do not be stressed but hear from Jesus as you pray. Hear from Jesus as you read His words, you will have peace.
Stress in a home is like sand to machinery. Pressure and tension can rob the joy and love of a home but if we have wisdom, we can avoid stress. Wisdom to laugh, wisdom to be content, wisdom to avoid anger. Then the Bible says ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ So if we need to live happy, stress and tension free, we need to fear God and be with God every day.
Psalm 34:19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. You must understand that for every of your problem there is deliverance in the presence of God. So don’t be stressed. Walk with God, trust in Jesus.
Let’s commit our lives to him. Tell God I will not be troubled. I will trust in you. Commit your stressors to him right now.