Choosing to give our stress to God

Published 5:50 am Sunday, October 15, 2017

It may seem insensitive, but the idea of stress being an issue we can control is worth considering. Many within the medical world agree that stress is not a monster that forces us to be afraid but rather our worries originate as a response from within our own mind. Thus, if we can learn how to re-wire the way we think, we can begin to walk in victory over the stress which we blame for ruining our happiness. In some way or another, we’ve heard about going to our “happy place” a seemingly magical location where we can take shelter from whatever is threatening our security. But just what is this well-intentioned advice really talking about? It can mean different things to different people but to many, it’s a place in the deepest part of our conscience where we can commune with God and embrace the safety and joy of His presence. I remember a movie where a young girl was experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks whenever a stressful situation would present itself. Her family would lovingly remind her to go to her happy place, and she would close her eyes and begin to control her breathing. As she blocked out what was happening around her and focused on comforting thoughts, she would eventually calm down and return to a peaceful state of being. As Christians, we are reminded that Jesus is a type of strong tower where those who are afraid can run into Him and be safe. Psalm 91 also encourages our faith, “They who dwell in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God in Him will I trust.”

Anxiety, fear, tension, stress, and worry are caused by thinking too much about the future, while guilt, regret, resentment, sadness and all types of unforgiveness are established by concentrating too much on the past. I was listening to a sports commentator the other day as he was explaining how a positive mental state for any sports team is a crucial factor when it comes to success. He mentioned a particular football team which had recently lost a game by barely missing a field goal with no time left on the clock. The intensity of this gut-wrenching defeat was multiplied by the fact they had been defeated by this opposing team 30 years in a row. He was sympathetic yet making the point that if they could not get past this heart-breaking agony, this discouragement could possibly cause them to lose their next game. Living in the present means not allowing the disappointments from our past to prevent us from accomplishing the victories that are waiting for us in the future. Consider this wonderful passage of inspiration found in II Corinthians 4:8-9. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed.”

Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author and community outreach chaplain.

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