May 23, 2023
The Antidote to Worry
Do not worry about anything. But pray and ask God for everything you need. And when you pray, always give thanks. And God’s peace will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The peace that God gives is so great that we cannot understand it (Philippians 4:6-7 ICB).
Friend to Friend
Stress management is a spiritual discipline that begins with diligent preparation in every area of life – mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. We must be ready to deal with stress before we are required to deal with stress.
Dealing with stress is an ongoing daily battle that will not end on this side of Heaven. To win that battle, we must be prepared. While there is no single secret to handling stress, God’s Word is filled with many truths that can enable and empower us to deal with stress in a healthy, productive, and God-honoring way.
Sometimes the most familiar passages of scripture are also the most overlooked. Psalm 23 is one of those passages. I often find myself rushing to this psalm for peace and comfort in the aftermath of a stressful situation. However, I have discovered that Psalm 23 is also a powerful tool for dealing with stress on an everyday basis.
If you are like me, I tend to handle the major calamities in life better than the mundane, ordinary but definitely stress-inducing minutiae of daily living. A study of Psalm 23 has led me to believe that it is often the small pebble in my shoe, rather than the massive boulder on my path, that causes the greatest stress in my life. Life is so daily! Fortunately, so is God.
While I cannot imagine my world without the presence and power of Jesus Christ, I am often guilty of living as if He does not exist. The result is a stress-filled life.
A trial comes and I try to handle it on my own.
Loneliness empties my heart and instead of reaching out to Him, I withdraw into the darkness where stress is waiting to fill that emptiness with anxiety and fear.
Still, God is faithful.
His peace is a soothing balm that leads me once again to the manger and away from stress. Emmanuel, God with me! He steps into my life and changes everything. When He comes, stress is stripped away, and tranquility is given in its place.
“Do not worry about anything. But pray and ask God for everything you need. And when you pray, always give thanks. And God’s peace will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The peace that God gives is so great that we cannot understand it” (Philippians 4:6-7 ICB).
When I find myself wishing I could have been there that holy night when Jesus was born, He gently reminds me that I had my own manger experience, when God became a personal reality in my life. I have my own holy moments each and every day as I reach out to Him and He is there, right in the middle of my common, ordinary, and often smelly circumstances.
Stress has no place in a heart that kneels before the manger. Stress is powerless in a life that continually seeks God and chooses to surrender to His love and care – like the sheep surrender to the love and care of their Shepherd. Psalm 23 describes the intimate, personal, and trusting relationship between sheep and shepherd, between child and father, and is not only a beautiful portrait of God’s complete and faithful provision, but an arsenal of stress-busting truths and principles that, when embraced and applied, will empower, and equip us to live a life of peace and victory.
Father, thank You for Your unconditional love and forgiveness. Help me focus on You and Your presence in my life each day. I pray that any stress in my heart will be swallowed up in the reality that You are faithful and in control. I know You are not surprised by anything that comes my way and will transform the good into better, the unthinkable into the unstoppable, and the unbelievable into fact. I praise You for the amazing way You guide me and lift me up when I fall. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Are you afraid of what the day holds? Do you dread facing whatever comes your way? Or do you focus on God and His promises? Make the choice today to walk in faith, peace, and victory.
More from the Girlfriends
Stress is one of the enemy’s favorite weapons to use against me. I constantly have to bring my heart and mind back to God. I know how hard it is to stay balanced and at peace. Need help? Check out my book, Escaping the Stress Trap, to discover nine steps you can take to manage stress…instead of allowing it to manage you.
© 2023 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.