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When you’re at the end of your rope, read this prayer for stress, as well as practical tips and Biblical Truths on how to deal with stress as a Christian.
Have you ever noticed that when you are really stressed, everything seems to go wrong? When it rains, it pours, right?
That’s because stress itself causes all kinds of other issues! It affects your physical, mental, emotional, and your spiritual health.
Symptoms of Stress
Stress can make you gain weight, even if you’re doing all of the right things to be losing those extra pounds. It can cause headaches, disease, an upset stomach, insomnia, and make you feel tired all the time. It makes you more irritable, restless, anxious, sad, and unmotivated. It can cause you to pull away from friends and family and drive you toward addictive behaviors…and the list doesn’t end there.
For the past two weeks, I have been dealing with quite a bit of pain from TMJ. Conveniently, it hit at exactly the same time as a bunch of other stressors – quitting one of my jobs, unexpected medical bills, car problems, overwhelm at work, and that’s just to name a few.
Now, I try hard to prevent and manage my stress. I run a few times a week, I have quiet times with the Lord almost every morning, I put on happy music while I cook, and I walk my adorable border collie regularly.
So, when the TMJ hit, I was still surprised. I woke up one morning and could barely open my mouth. I couldn’t talk normally, it hurt like the dickens to chew anything, it felt like my back teeth were bruised, and I couldn’t even smile without pain.
TMJ happens to be yet another symptom of stress.
We may feel like stress is purely in our minds, but it comes out in a wide variety of ways in our body, our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
Our bodies were built to handle stress, but only for short amounts of time. That hyper-alert state of fight or flight was never meant to be our normal! We live busy, fast-paced lives that keep us in a constant state of stress.
Sin not only separates us from God, but it also causes lots of stress on our bodies and our souls. Sin may feel good in the moment, but it leads to hiding, sneaking, damaged relationships, guilt, shame, and more. All of those things are incredibly stressful!
When we hide our struggles out of shame or embarrassment, it isolates us from other people. It’s easy to believe that you are the only one struggling with that one thing. That if others knew, they would reject you. Surely nobody else would understand. It makes you feel alone, bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders all by yourself.
In our social media world, it is so easy to constantly feel like you don’t have enough. You don’t have enough money, enough friends, enough time, enough knowledge, enough fun. It is so stressful to feel like nothing you have and even who you are just isn’t enough.
What God Provides Instead Of Stress
Now, in contrast to the stressors above, God offers you something different. Take the examples David writes about in Psalm 23.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (vs 2-3)
God created us to, yes, work hard, but also to rest. Not just every once and a while on a special vacation, but to rest regularly.
We need to sleep every single night. We have weekends for a reason. We have a Sabbath, a day specifically devoted just to rest.
When we overwork our bodies, they start breaking down on us with injuries and sickness. When we overwork our minds, we get overrun with anxiety and eventually they shut down on us, too.
The rest God offers us is more than just physical rest, like sitting down for a while or taking a nap. I don’t know about you, but I can be sitting down and still have my mind going at a million miles an hour. That’s not exactly restful!
God offers us rest for our souls. The kind of rest that refreshes and restores our weary minds and bodies. A “be still and know” kind of rest that permeates every part of your mind and body and allows you to fully relax.
“He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (vs 3)
Where sin separates us from God, following His guidance keeps us safely close to Him. This is where we trade our guilt for His grace. When we choose to follow Him, there is no need to stress.
On our own, we get sucked into the daily stressors of big and little things, but God has an eternal perspective that we can’t see. He is always weaving circumstances together for our good. He loves us more deeply than we can fathom and, because of that, we can always trust His guidance.
And He wants us to hear His voice and follow Him! It’s by God’s side that we can experience peace.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (vs 4)
God never promises us that we won’t go through difficult things in life. There will be valleys.
He does, however, promise us that we will never be alone. Every valley we walk through – no matter how deep, no matter how dark – God will be with you.
In His presence and His protection, you can find comfort that you are never alone.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (vs 1)
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (vs 5-6)
Do you live as if you lack nothing? I sure don’t! It’s so much easier to see all of the things I don’t have than to be content and grateful for what I do.
In verse five, David describes God as a generous host, pouring blessings on you by anointing your head with oil and making sure you not only have enough but more than enough with an overflowing cup.
God will provide for your needs (and beyond!). In the stressful moments, trust that what you have right now is more than enough.
How would your stress level be impacted if you trusted God’s character in these things?
Prayer for Stress
Thank You for being everything You say You are.
I have tried so hard to do my best, but it never seems to be enough. Everybody always needs more of me and there is never enough time. It’s too much.
I’ve tried to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, but it’s gotten too heavy and I can’t do it anymore.
Lord, I need You.
You are the only One who can bring rest to my weary soul. Please, lead me beside still waters, Lord. Teach me to be still in Your presence.
Remind me that my productivity does not define my worth. Help me to choose to walk the path of obedience and to choose Your grace over guilt.
When I am deep in the valley, getting lost in the darkness and stuck in my anxiety, remind me that You are with me and You will never leave me. I am not alone and You will protect me fiercely.
Help me to always trust that You are my provider and see that You always abundantly provide for my every need. Give me faith eyes to recognize the blessings You are constantly pouring out on me.
I lift myself up to You as a living sacrifice. Calm my body, my mind, my heart, and my soul as I learn to rest in You.
Teach me to seek Your rest intentionally and consistently.
In Your Son’s heavenly Name I pray,
Practical Ways to Deal With Stress
God is the only One capable of bringing rest to your soul, but there are practical ways you can use to relieve your stress, as well.
There is no one-fits-all solution here, so read over the list and give them a try. Figure out what leaves you feeling more relaxed and refreshed and do more of those things!
These practical tips are not one-time-use stress relievers or things you only turn to when you’ve reached the end of your rope. Do these things regularly!
- take a walk
- take a bubble bath
- put on soothing, calming music (The Piano Guys are my favorite)
- light candles
- go on a coffee date with a friend
- have a family dinner
- plan a game night (we love Ticket to Ride, Bananagrams, and Code Names!)
- say no to unhealthy commitments
- go outside
- play with an animal
- call a family member
- put a heat wrap on your neck & shoulders for 10 minutes
- drink a mug of tea
- chew gum
- host a movie night
- cuddle – hug, kiss, hold hands
- stop and take a few deep breaths
- have sex
- memorize a Bible verse
- practice being present
- start a gratitude journal
- massage your feet with a tennis ball
- eat a healthy meal or snack
- take a nap
- soak your feet in warm water
- play with children
- read a book (I highly recommend Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist!)
- have a pajama day
- try Bible journaling
- blow bubbles
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