Trouble and Stress. We all experience them from time to time. Some of us experience them more deeply than others; some experience them only when certain triggers rear their ugly heads. But, whenever and however trouble and stress occurs, it is not pleasant. We might overeat or not eat at all. It may cause us to erupt at someone we love or shout at our boss. We may desire to close ourselves up in a dark room and sleep all day and night. We might over-medicate or under-medicate ourselves. We might consider suicide or we might get professional help.
The fact is that we all react differently. But, let’s look at how stress (from our troubles) affects our body, mood, behavior, and spiritual life.
The Mayo Clinic states many ways stress affects us.¹
The Most Common Effect of Stress on Your Body are:
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach upsets
- I Sleep problems
The Most Common Effects of Stress on Your Mood are:
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
The Most Common Effects of Stress on Your Behavior are:
- Overeating or undereating
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Tobacco use
- Social withdrawal
- Exercising less often
Stress comes about when we feel overloaded or the pressure to continue at our current pace seems overwhelming. The modern life we live creates stress. We experience information overload from too many responsibilities, too much technology, too much television, and too many bad experiences.
Recently one of my friends lost her daughter who was found dead in her apartment. She told me the incident left her numb, unable to sleep, experiencing unbelief. But, along with the shock, she was automatically thrown into planning a funeral service and all that it entails. Stress was building upon stress.
Unfortunately, life happens, and we are left to pick up the pieces and move on.
How to Handle Stress
In 10 Tips to Manage Your Stress, WebMD suggests the following tips:²
- Relax your muscles
- Deep breathing
- Eat well
- Slow down
- Take a break
- Make time for hobbies
- Talk about your problems
- Go easy on yourself
- Eliminate your triggers
These are great ideas if you can follow them, but what about the spiritual side of dealing with stress?
Stress not only affects our physical, emotional, and mental health; it also affects our spiritual health. It’s easy for some to say we lack trust in God when we experience stress or anxiety. But, that is not necessarily the case. It could be that we are tired, sick, or not able to balance our work/home life adequately. Our circumstances may be in disarray and no solution seems feasible.
As believers in God, we need to remind ourselves that God is a go-to remedy to help with our stress. As Christians we are not immune to marital stress, family stress, personal stress, health stress, job stress, technology stress, or just “living in the world” stress. In addition to the medical advice above, let’s not forget that our faith can be the anchor that holds everything together during the tough and stressful times we encounter. We must lean on the strong arms of Jesus to get us through.
Biblical Suggestions to Help in Troubled Times
- Pray, meditate, and interact with God every day;
- Call out for the Holy Spirit to help you;
- Read the Bible seeking out verses to calm your fears and anxieties;
- Follow Biblical guidelines by trusting in God’s Word (even if you don’t feel like it);
- Express gratitude to God for the things He has already done for you;
- Keep surrounding yourself with the body of believers through church and fellowship;
- Listen to Christian music, and
- If you haven’t trusted Jesus Christ yet, confess your sins, and put your faith in Jesus, and accept him to be your Lord and Savior.
This week I took an online test on Facebook titled, “What Song Will Be Played at Your Funeral?”⁴ I was truly humbled (or should I say humiliated) when the site suggested My Way, written by Paul Anka and popularized by Frank Sinatra, as my funeral dirge. The theme of the song My Way is, “I did it my way.”
My Way (Frank Sinatra’s version)³
And now the end is near
So I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exception
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
Oh, and more, much more than this
I did it my way
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fails, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh, no, no not me
I did it my way
For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words he would reveal
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
While I really don’t take stock in online tests, I wasn’t particularly pleased this was my chosen funeral song. I don’t want to do everything my way. As I go through life, I want God’s way as I face stresses, challenges, and hard circumstances.
I visited this week the cemetery where my grandparents are laid to rest. I glanced over to the left of my grandfather’s grave and noticed a marker that proclaimed , “I DID IT MY WAY.”
As we encounter stress in our lives, through our body, mood, behavior, and spirit, my prayer is that we will face life “God’s way”— never forgetting the spiritual component of getting well. If we don’t, someone might put, “THEY DID IT THEIR WAY” as our epitaph!
Patti Greene, Member Inspirational Writers Alive
Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses taken from the NASB.
Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
You are good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes. (Psalm 119: 67-68)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Lord, I am stressed. I snap at people. I get so easily frustrated. I react too quickly. My burdens are too much for me. I see the signs of stress affecting me. I need You to show me the way I should walk and how to relieve my stress and anxiety Your way. Thank you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
¹ “Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior.” Mayo Clinic. Web. 18 March 2017.
² “10 Tips to Manage Your Stress.” WebMd. Web. 18 March 2017. www.webmd.com.
³ “Lyrics, Sinatra. “My Way.” Warner Chappell Music. Sinatra Lyrics. Web. 18 March 2017.
www.bing.com. [Fair Use for Instruction]
⁴ “What Song Will Be Played at Your Funeral.” What Character Are You? Web. 18 March 2017.