Are You Tired And Worn Out?
– by Ken Costa
Stress is a major issue of our time, in the UK 40% of workplace illness is stress related. We live in a 24/7 world, stress is all around us and it impacts us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. When we’re stressed, we move God off-centre in our lives, and that’s wrong. Matthew 11:28-30 gives us Jesus’ insights “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” I have found these stress busters help me minimise the stress:
1: Stay healthy
We need to look after our bodies by taking regular breaks, eating well, and taking exercise. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and need to be looked after. This is simply common sense, but in times of stress and deadlines, it can be the first thing to go.
2: Fight fear
Psalm 112:7 says the people who trust the Lord ‘will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast’ and 1 John 4:18 tells us ‘perfect love casts out fear’. If you believe in Him, you can trust Him for the future and face those fears. It doesn’t mean we won’t face bad news; we just don’t need to fear it.
3: Take joy seriously
Small things can make a big difference to our mood. It is valuable to build up a reservoir of the specific ways in which God has helped us in the past to remind us that God is real and that He is good. In times of stress, we need to look around us and focus consciously on what brings us joy.
4: Take an emotional break
When I feel I am losing my sense of perspective, I often make a phone call to a friend or write an email that has nothing to do with work. It restores my sense of humanity to connect with people in different situations from my own.
5: Take control of our thoughts
In times of high anxiety, it’s easy to be negative and my thoughts easily spiral downwards. When this happens, the first thing I try to do is to reject the thoughts that are without substance. The mind is a gateway, which we control. With God’s help we can choose to open it to good and close it to fear, uncertainty, and self-righteousness.
6: Pray and read the Bible
As a Christian I find the most important way to gain perspective in times of stress is through prayer. There’s a phrase that says ‘Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray’. We never know when the storms of life will hit us. We therefore need to build up our memory bank and to be prepared.
We know stress will come, but with these pointers I know I’m in much better shape to face the unexpected stress when it comes.
JOY! Magazine (July 2017)