Trying To Stress Less — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Trying To Stress Less — Morning Devotions

Isn't it awesome to know that we can cast all of our anxieties and worries upon a God who cares for us - 1 Peter 5:7.

By Chris WittsMonday 22 Apr 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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If you’re feeling stressed out, do you know one thing you could do to lower your stress levels? Find your local library. Yes. A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can actually reduce your stress by up to 68%. And it happens quickly on average within six minutes. Now, isn’t that amazing? Now this is because your mind is taken away from the stresses of daily life to somewhere different.

And psychologists believe that the concentration needed to read actually creates a distraction. So opening a book gives you a different world to step into. You can lose yourself in different experiences, situations and lives. It was Dr Seuss who said you can get lost in any library, no matter the size.

But the more lost you are, the more things you will find. I guess you can say it’s escaping from the reality of life. But we all need those hours and we can lose ourselves, especially if we’re going through difficult times and to challenge those issues that might be beyond our control. It’s called self-care.

The difficulty of stress

Stress in its extremes can actually lead to some kind of breakdown. And then it’s harder to get back up again. Stress is an engineering term, actually a word used to determine how much weight or pressure steel can endure before breaking to the point of collapse.

And when we spend much time protecting ourselves from stress, like wrapping layers of protection around ourselves, we lose out on experiencing God’s grace instead of a sense of joy and contentment to meet each day’s issues. We’re plagued with stress and anxiety, fear, doubt and sometimes depression. I like what the Bible says in Philippians 4. Rejoice in the Lord always, let your gentleness be evident to everyone, the Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Is there any value in having a gentle attitude? It certainly is a radical alternative in a world where gentleness is often mistaken as weakness or softness. But the Apostle Paul maintains we should pursue this instead of verbal or physical abuse.

The power of gentleness

Many people are angry today, and hostility pours itself out in many ways, we read about them in our newspapers and on social media. Becoming gentle actually means responding graciously to people because we look at life differently. We know that God is in control of our world and in control of our lives. Therefore, we don’t have to become angry or violent towards other people.

Everything will be OK because our God knows what He’s doing. Jesus is our Lord and our security. And this knowledge frees us from the need that I’ve always got to be in control. If Jesus indwells your life, you’ll know that his spirit helps to keep you calm in times of uncertainty. We can trust him for everything, even the small details of life. There are three common words that cause stress. They are should ought and must.

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Now, these words, when you think about it, have caused more stress than any others. How often are we guilty of saying them not just to others, but to ourselves as well? Can I say this morning that the Christian faith offers help? I have read books by Rabbi Harold Kushner and he said, ‘My religious faith satisfies me. It’s the most fundamental human need of all.’

Another good way of calming down those stressed feelings is to take prayer seriously. Here’s Philippians 4:6 in the Bible – “don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything.” Tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.

Prayer is that simple conversation with God. We talk to him in a natural way about anything that bothers us. We don’t have to withdraw from the world to meet with God in prayer. You don’t even have to go to church, but it’s being open to him every minute. It’s meant to be a natural process of allowing your best friend Jesus to share your life.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father. Here’s a problem trying to stress less. Lord, I know I need your help, and I need your gracious touch to calm me down. In moments of worry and stress and anxiety, you have a message for all people. We don’t have to do this alone, but instead with your help throughout it all. Amen.