Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31
The word “stress” originated as a construction term meaning as applied to a building or structure and how much stress it could tolerate before collapsing. Just like a building, your body can only take so much pressure before the stress is too much and things start to break down.
Have you ever felt stressed and exhausted? Most of us have at one time, or sometimes, all too often, have periods of time when we are exhausted by the very stress of daily life. Our wonderfully-made bodies will give us clues when something is going on. We need to learn to tune in and listen for our bodies signal that we need a tune up.
We all have the ability to handle some stress, however, when you apply too much stress, our bodies start to show signs and symptoms of distress – a type of warning signal. Stress is an enemy to our bodies, and we need to take the time to deal with it. Satan loves to see Christians defeated and sick. It is not okay to continue in stress as it will cause damage to your temple.
Below are a few symptoms of stress or ‘stress indicators” in your life:
- Forgetfulness or scattered thoughts
- Short temper and frustrations
- Chronic Fatigue and over tired
- Cynical and sarcastic
- No sense of accomplishment (feel like you are doing a lot of things but not getting anything done)
- Feeling like a failure and unhappy with your life
- Constant sickness or illness
- Tension and pressure
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Joint pain
As stress has been documented causing many diseases and cancers and is simply all around unpleasant and joy-stealing, it is important to kick it to the curb. First, we need to determine the source of our stress. Here are just a few to think about:
- Uncertainty – Letting “What if’s” control your thoughts and being fearful
- Unresolved Conflict – Being angry with others and fighting or holding a grudge
- Unrealistic Comparisons -Thinking we should look a certain way, have better hair, skin, more money, or look like so and so.
- Guilty Conscience – Not forgetting your past
- Finances – Money woes and/or spending more than you earn.
- Overweight – Carrying too much weight will cause stress on your bones, joints, organs, and emotions.
Do any of these sound familiar? There are thousands of reasons we could be overwhelmed, but identifying the cause will be the first step in decreasing them, or in eliminating them altogether. It is time to take back control and not let the enemy steal our joy for even another second.
Here are some suggestions or tools to help:
- Talk to your “what ifs” and answer them. Do not let fear have power over your emotions. Meditate on the right things, the good things, and turn your negative “what ifs” into positive ones. What if I ran out of money? Well, what if you won the lottery? Taking control of your thoughts will change your thinking. For every negative thought, there is a positive one to use in its place.
- Write things down and stop trying to remember everything or have unrealistic demands of your brain. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
- If you have a conflict with a friend or a family member, resolve it; the longer you hold onto this, the more it will add stress to you, which will affect every area of your life. Romans 12:17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.
- Do not compare yourself to others, being unrealistic about your self-image, your finances, or any area of your life causes stress and makes things unattainable in your life. Keep your focus on you and your goals. Stop trying to please everybody and keep your focus on making yourself and those around you happy. Do not compare yourself to other people! Do not belittle yourself or think you should look like or act like someone else. Be the best you that you can be! The grass is not greener in someone else’s backyard. Romans 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
- Forgive yourself. So what if you ate the donuts, or spent too much money, or lied to your best friend. Ask forgiveness and move on. Stop allowing it to control your emotions and stop beating yourself up for it because you cannot change it. What you can change is how you handle it and what you will do next. Isaiah 43:18-19“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
- Stop spending more money than you have and get a plan. Make a budget, know what you have to work with, and develop a plan for your finances. Enroll in a finance workshop; they are often free. Just make a decision to do it. The change will only happen if you take action. Proverbs 16:3 Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.
- Exercise, make little choices to eat healthier and do not try to overhaul your self-image overnight. Many times we decide we are ready to diet and lose weight, but have unrealistic time goals. We spent years overeating and abusing our bodies, so don’t expect a couple of weeks of exercise and healthy eating to miraculously make us thin. We unrealistically expect miraculous results overnight. If you are consistent at making healthy choices every day, you will see real change over time, and that is the kind of change that will stay. Read books about healthy eating, exercise, join small groups and stay focused on getting healthier each day at a time. Galatians 6:9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
- Doing something occasionally will not bring desired results. You must apply intense consistency over a period of time to get results! If there is one tool I can teach; is consistency is the key to success or failure. It is your choice. You decide. You can consistently make the right decisions – or the wrong ones – but, remember, they will both yield results.
Your body will respond to your emotions and how you treat it. You only get one life and one body. You would not put Drano in your car and expect it to run; you can’t expect it to stay clean and run well if you never change the oil. Our body, the temple God gave us, is no different. If you consider your body as your vehicle in this life, you will respect it and keep it tuned up and running well.
Maintain your emotional health, spiritual health, physical and financial health. Be realistic about how long it will take before your life is running like a new car again and love yourself every day!
Psalm 34:19 – A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them ALL
Malachi 4:2 – But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
Romans 16:20 – The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Philippians 4:6,7 – do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:6,7 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Also published on Medium.