These days many of us live with tremendous pressure: we feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and exhausted. It’s not uncommon for our lives feel completely out of control because we’re just too busy to keep up with everything.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Four out of five Americans report that they need to reduce stress in their life. Doctors tell us that stress is one of the major causes of mental, emotional, and physical health problems in our nation.
Stress is serious business. It may impact us physically in the form of ulcers, migraines, memory loss and irritability. Statistics show that 75 percent of all people reporting medical issues in the hospital are stress-related.
So, what exactly triggers stress? Our own expectations are one of the most common causes, but deeper stress is usually rooted in relationship issues and our own internal anxiety.
It’s possible to trade your stress and anxiety for God’s perfect peace.
God’s word reveals clear answers that address our anxieties and relational issues. His word can help us identify what really matters in this life. We need His word in order to live out of His strength and to remind us of our identity in Christ.
Philippians 4:6-7 gives instructions on how to overcome our stress and anxiety. Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” God’s word promises us that that when we pray and lay down our worries, cares, and our stresses to God, the Lord is faithful to help us carry these things. In return, we get peace … and relief from anxiety.
Ask yourself: Am I depending on my circumstances and relationships to align in a way that will make me happy? If you are waiting for the “happenings” in your life to bring you personal peace and contentment, then you’re setting yourself up for more stress and unhappiness.
The truth is we have very little control over the circumstances in our life. We don’t get to choose our genetic makeup or whether a tornado hits our town or the next. That’s why we need an eternal perspective. In Philippians 3, Paul reminds us that our citizenship – which is where we really belong and what really matters – is in heaven.
When we examine the causes of our anxiety in the context of of eternity, things come into clear perspective. We can acknowledge that Christ has everything under His control.
In this week’s upcoming series, Less Stress, we will talk about what stress is, what causes it specifically, and how it affects us. We’ll identify practical, Biblical tools that relieve anxiety and diffuse the pressure in problem relationships. In essence, we’re equipping ourselves to learn how to stop stress before it starts. My prayer is that you will experience God’s power in ways that help you recognize and overcome the stress-producing anxieties in your own life.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip