DEFINITION: Stress is a physical, mental, or emotional response that causes physical, mental, or emotional tension.
FACTS ABOUT STRESS:
Stress can be internal, resulting from an illness, a medical procedure, and negative emotions like fear, anxiety, and worry. Unconfessed sin can cause spiritual stress.
Stress can be external, resulting from the environment or social situations.
Stress can result from both positive and negative circumstances. Things like a geographical relocation, a new job, a new baby–though positive experiences, may also be stressful. Negative circumstances such as a prolonged illness, the death of a loved one, a poor working or living situation may also cause stress.
Stress is related to other conditions including depression, high blood pressure, unresolved anger, etc.
Stress results from a lack of trust in God. If you trusted really Him to take care of your circumstances, you would not be stressed out about them.
DEALING WITH STRESS:
Analyze why you are stressed. Like David, question yourself: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” Then, whatever the reason for your concern, tell yourself by faith: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you …” (Psalm 42:5-6)
Boldly declare that the Lord will help in any situation causing stress. He is your source of strength (Philippians 4:13). “So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be seized with alarm-I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6, TAB).
Cast your cares on God. The Bible says to cast your cares on the Lord (Psalm 55:22). The word “cast” implies a continuous action. You may cast your cares on God, yet stressful thoughts return. When they do, cast again!
Pray instead of thinking about stressful circumstances. The Word says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Turn every stressful thought into a prayer.
Praise and worship God. It is impossible to remain stressed when you give yourself wholly to praise and worship. Put on some meditative Christian music and give it a try!
Take practical actions. If there is something you can change that will alleviate the stress, do so. For example, perhaps you could trim some of your commitments or seek a job change.
Replace stress with the Word. The Word of God is effective in dealing with stress. Following are some excerpts to get you started. In addition, go through your Bible and mark all of the promises of God and His faithfulness. Review these when you feel stressed.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT STRESS:
Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:5, NKJV)
Do not fret–it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)
I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. (Psalm 37:25, NKJV)
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you … (Psalm 42:5-6)
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:19)
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)
The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1)
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31)
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:28-34)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthews 11:28-30)
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. (Luke 12:22-23)
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (Luke 21:34)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
(See also “Anxiety and Worry” and “Fear” in this database, as these are often causes of stress.)