Isaiah 40:29 TLB
Sports Illustrated magazine says, “Stress fractures begin when the shocks and strains of playing game after game create tiny cracks in outer layers of bone. When those cracks become large enough to cause severe pain, they are known as ‘stress fractures.'” If you’ve ever had a stress-fractured mind, you can relate. It eats at you by day and keeps you awake at night. And when you try to “medicate” it with alcohol, or drugs, or an affair, or overeating, or a hyperactive lifestyle, it gets worse. What should you do? (1) Change your focus. “Come to me…and I will give you rest…Let me teach you…and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT). “He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:29-31 TLB). Instead of struggling alone with the burden, share it with the burden-bearer and let Him strengthen you. (2) Lighten up! “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Don’t make such a big deal out of everything! Lighten up and laugh more, especially at yourself! Do you even remember the last time you enjoyed a good laugh? Accept your imperfections. Let some stuff go. Stop trying to be Wonder Woman or Superman. Get away for some fun. Yes, you need fun too! Cancel some of your not-so-important meetings. If you want things to change, you will have to change them. Today talk to God; He knows how to heal stress fractures.
Soul food: 1 Tim 4-6; John 5:31-47; Ps 126; Prov 24:10
Psalm 55:22 NIV
When we feel stressed, we can try and find distraction and comfort in things that might actually make our situation worse, such as food, back-to-back TV shows, endless scrolling through social media, and making ourselves really busy. All these things are used to take our mind off what we are feeling, but they don’t deal with the problem. But God doesn’t want us to live our lives crippled by stress. So what can we do when we are feeling stressed out? Firstly, we need to take it to God. The psalmist writes: ‘Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you.’ To make it through times of stress we need to let God sustain us. He knows we are going to feel stressed and weak sometimes, and He promises to give us the strength we need. Instead of struggling alone with the burden, let’s share it with the burden-bearer and let Him strengthen us. Secondly, we need to remember that we are not God. Sometimes we can think that everything depends on us, and that causes stress. But we are not called to fix every situation or be everything to every person. We are called to put God first and let Him direct us. Thirdly, we need to be prepared to make some changes to our lifestyle. It might mean taking a temporary break from social media, scheduling in some more times to sit in God’s presence, writing gratitude lists to help us focus on the positives, or asking for help in the areas where we are struggling. Even the smallest change can make a huge difference. So let’s not allow stress to rule our lives, and instead bring it to the One who can bring peace, strength, and life to us.
1 Tim 4-6; John 5:31-47; Ps 126; Prov 24:10
Mark 3:14 NIV
Don’t try to do it all yourself. One of the reasons we get stressed out is because we think that everything depends on us. Not Jesus. He enlisted, trained, and empowered twelve others so they could share the load. He delegated His work. He got other people involved. So why don’t we do that? Two reasons: (1) Perfectionism. We think, “If I want a job well done, I’ll do it myself.” That’s a nice idea, but often it doesn’t work well because there are just too many things to be done. We simply don’t have the time and talent to do everything ourselves. It’s really an egotistical attitude that says, “Nobody, but nobody, can do it the way I can!” Do you think Jesus could’ve done a better job than His disciples? Of course, but even knowing that, He still let them do the work. Why? Because we need to let other people make some of the mistakes in order for them to learn, the same way the disciples learned. Don’t rob others of an education. (2) Insecurity. “What if I turn this responsibility over to someone else and they do a better job than I do?” That possibility is threatening to many of us. But you won’t feel threatened if you know who you are, who you’re trying to please, what you want to accomplish, and the one thing you need to focus on. In order to be effective you must get other people involved, because you can’t focus on more than one thing at a time and do it well.
Soul food: S of Sol 1-4; Matt 25:41-46; Ps 3; Prov 21:4-8
Luke 4:43 NIV
Another way we can reduce the amount of stress in our lives is by learning to focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes we can feel like we are being pulled in different directions. People constantly tried to do this to Jesus and distract Him from His goal in life. The Bible says, ‘At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them’ (v. 42 NIV). Jesus was about to leave, but they tried to make Him stay. Here’s how He responded: ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom…to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ He refused to be distracted by less important matters. People tried to interrupt Him, because they had other plans for His life. But He was focused on His goal – fulfilling God’s purpose for Him. And He kept on doing what He knew God had told Him to do. He was determined. He was persistent. He was focused. We can learn from this. When we have a load of different things to do, we need to pick the most important one and stick with it until it’s complete. Then pick the second most important and do the same thing, until we have completed the list. When we diffuse our efforts we are ineffective; when we concentrate our efforts we are more successful. Jesus didn’t let interruptions prevent Him from concentrating on His goal. He didn’t let others make Him tense or stressed or irritated. And He is our example.
Gen 24:1-51; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1
Luke 4:43 NIV
Focus on one thing at a time. Are you being pulled in different directions? People constantly tried to do this to Jesus and distract Him from His goal in life. The Bible says, “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them” (v. 42 NIV). Jesus was about to leave and they tried to make Him stay. Here’s how He responded: “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom…to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” He refused to be distracted by less important matters. Indeed, He was a master at this. Everybody tried to interrupt Him. Everyone had a Plan B for His life. But in essence He responded, “No, I must keep moving toward my goal.” And He kept right on doing what He knew God had told Him to do. He was determined. He was persistent. He was focused. So when you have a dozen different things to do, pick the most important one and stick with it until it’s complete. Then pick the second most important and do the same thing, until you’ve completed the list. When we diffuse our efforts we’re ineffective; when we concentrate our efforts we’re more successful. Diffused light produces a hazy glow, whereas light that’s concentrated produces fire. Jesus didn’t let interruptions prevent Him from concentrating on His goal. He didn’t let others make Him tense or stressed or irritated. And He is your example!
Soul food: Gen 24:1-51; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1