Dealing with Stress
We’ve been dealing with extra stressful times for quite a while now, but you don’t need me to tell you that. We’re faced with situations that don’t seem to have good options and scenarios where the results are beyond our control. When it comes to facing stress I have found a great deal of wisdom in the “Prepare Enrich” program that I use for premarital counseling. Prepare Enrich tells us that stressors are events that cause an emotional or physical reaction. Stress can be positive or negative but either way it will have an effect on us. The question isn’t whether if we have stress in our lives or not, rather the program asks is “Do you control stress in your life or does stress control you?”
Managing stress can come down to our priorities: what issues are the most important to us? Also there’s the question of control: what issues can we change and which can we not? Here are four questions we can ask ourselves about the stressors and issues we face:
1) For High Priority Issues You Are Able to Change: What changes can you make?
2) For High Priority Issues You Find Difficult to Change: How do you place to cope?
3) For Low Priority Issues You Are Able to Change: Are you spending too much time on low priority issues?
4) For Low Priority Issues You Find Difficult to Change: Can you accept or forget about these issues?
These questions won’t solve all of your problems, but they can be a helpful start to facing your problems and issues. Scripture also speaks to us about stress and issues that we face. One of the best approaches comes from Paul, writing to the Philippians:
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Prayer can be a wonderful way to combat stress. Again, prayer isn’t magic, but it does help us know that we are not alone and it can give us peace. Whatever stresses you are facing and whatever issues lie before you, I hope and pray that the peace of God can be in your hearts and that it can help you through difficult times.