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Less Stress

February 11th, 2009

“Come to Me, all who are weary and worried . . and find rest for your soul.” Matthew 11:29 NIV

“Worry can be exhausting to your body, soul, and spirit.”

My thoughts today are about “less stress.”

There seems to be a common problem for many people, young and old – being worried and feeling wearied. Those words are not only similar in sound but are connected at their source. Both are the product of what you face that you can’t control and/or can’t change. If you are looking for the trigger for either, look no further; it’s stress!

There appears to be plenty to worry about, if you are inclined to worry. Take your pick – international tensions, national financial crises, local job uncertainty, sliding property values, the ever present, personal wear and tear of everyday life, or a combination of any or all of the above. And then people wonder why they are tired. Worry can be exhausting to your body, soul, and spirit.

Here’s a small part of the result of my “googling stress.” Stress is a biological term, referring to the aftermath of any failure to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats, whether actual or imagined. Stress is a normal part of life that can help or hurt you. Stress can increase productivity – up to a point, after which things rapidly deteriorate, and exactly when and where that happens differs for each of us.

“It’s much like the stress or tension on a violin string. Not enough produces a dull raspy sound and too much creates an irritating screech, or snaps the string altogether – but just the correct degree of stress creates a beautiful tone.” Paul Rosch, MD, F.A.C.P. What sound comes out of your life most often?

Now there are a lot of very practical coping mechanisms recommended to help you with your stress level – such as physical exercise, relaxation and reflection, adequate rest, a healthy diet, and loving, supportive relationships. Things as basic as simplifying your life and slowing down your pace through regular down time and managed schedules can help.

But let’s simplify all of that even more, shall we? Here is what Jesus has to say about this, “Come to Me!” How simple is that for anyone to do? “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.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV. Read Jesus’ words slowly and thoughtfully, thinking over each word and phrase.

There is a depth of soul-rest that can only come from prayer, reading of Scripture, Biblical meditation, a vital faith, meaningful Christian fellowship, and regular church involvement. This is not rocket science. I am not oversimplifying this to say that your relationship with God can be the greatest, single factor in your experiencing less stress.

Instead of trying to manage your stress, why not try giving it to Jesus? “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you . . Do not be anxious about anything, but pray about everything . . and the peace of God . . will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” 1 Peter 5:7 NLT/Philippians 4:6 NIV.

My prayer for you is this: find perfect rest in Jesus – less stress, less worry, and less weariness.

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