Today's Devotional Thought
June 24, 2010 by Rachel Piferi
Stress has become a major health concern for adults today. The American Psychological Association reports that one third of U.S. adults feel extremely stressed. And, according to the National Health Interview Survey, 75% of the general population reports “some stress” every two weeks.
Stress has been studied extensively and it is well accepted that stress is a common experience in life. And, we cannot avoid having some stress in our lives. But, even though stress is somewhat unavoidable, we must learn how to manage excessive stress or it will lead to numerous emotional and physical health problems. Research has shown stress to be related to depression, heart disease, cancer, and many other emotional and physical ailments.
In examining your own stress level, it is very important to realize that stress is a part of life and that stress can come from both good and bad events in our lives. In fact, a wedding can cause stress in our lives just as much as demands at work or problems in our relationships can cause stress. And, the key is that stress emerges when we have too many demands upon us, whether they are from good or bad events, and we are struggling to keep up.
So, how should we approach the stress in our lives?
First, we need to acknowledge that we will all experience stress in this life. Some stress in life is unavoidable. If a loved one dies, a friend needs our assistance, or our child is sick, then we will be faced with the stress of those situations and will have to cope with them. But, it is important to acknowledge that other times we have created the stress we experience by trying to do too much. The truth is that many of us have created the stress in our lives by over committing ourselves. We are bad at saying “no” and thus we have overburdened ourselves with too many obligations.
One of the keys to coping with stress is understanding what stressors we are bringing on ourselves and which ones we truly cannot prevent. As you look at the stress in your life, have you created it? Are you overcommitted or accepting too many responsibilities? If so, then I encourage you to prevent some of the stress in your life by reducing the number of things in your life that you are attending to. We all must be good stewards of our time and spend this resource on the most important things in our life. If we fail to prioritize and fail to select only the things that are God-honoring and important, then you will become overcommitted, overburdened, stressed, and honestly ineffective for God.
We can learn a lot from Reinhold Niebuhr's, Serenity Prayer, "Grant me the courage to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I can't change, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Change the things today that you can change that are causing you too much stress. Be a good steward of your resource of time and do not toil unnecessarily or labor in vain. The Lord does not desire for us to be unnecessarily stressed. Examine your stress today and ask God to help you reprioritize your life so that you can reduce the stress that may be interfering with your relationships and your witness for Him.