Should Life Be This Stressful?
Every single time this world starts to make me feel anxious, worried or stressed, I ask myself, “should life be this stressful”? The answer is no because “He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Stress is something that has made itself comfortable in our lives for a number of reasons. Here are some of them:
- Trying to control your life: in my last post, I said that only God can tell us what we were made for; as our Creator and that until we understand that, life will never make sense. So if you’re the type of person that’s always ‘making moves’ that aren’t ordained by God, you are undoubtedly going to feel stress because you’re trying to control a life that is not yours.
- Focusing on the gravity of your problems and not the size of your God: we serve a God who is greater than any temptation the enemy throws our way. He is also bigger than any sin or failure in your life. You failed first and second year in uni, so what? Stop talking about your mountain, instead, talk to it! David didn’t let the size of Goliath scare him, he focused on the size of the Living God (1 Samuel 17:45).
- Keeping everything to yourself or taking on too much responsibility: I am super guilty of this one. I used to hate asking for help because I thought it would make me look weak. Back then, I would help everyone around me with whatever they needed and it got too much for me that I wasn’t resting well and would sometimes get sick. You need to be able to say no to people when you’re swamped. We need to apply Godly wisdom to every task we take on.
- Trying to explain yourself to people who don’t want to hear your explanation, but just want to argue: I get stressed out over the things people say to me and how they say it. I live in my head so conversations play over and over and over again. Now, just because someone has an opinion about you or something you’ve done does not make them an expert over your life. As humans, we have a natural tendency to judge people and comment on their character without having the backstory. I’m not saying don’t listen to criticism or generally, the things people have to say about you. I’m however saying that you need to be careful whose words you accept. If you are someone who is quick to condemn others with your words, you need to start rebuking in love like Ephesians 4:15 tells us to. And to people like me who get stressed over words, remember to fix your eyes on God (2 Corinthians 4:18) because He is the one we will spend eternity with in Heaven and His opinion is the only one that really matters.
It’s true that God gave us human emotions but, He does not want them to enslave us. If life was stress-free, we wouldn’t need God. Think about that. Everything that causes us to be stressed out is there to remind us to pour out our requests to God. In doing so, we reveal the reality of our faith rather than its absence. I read somewhere that stress is an indicator that we have stopped depending on God for daily strength. This is so true because if we truly surrender all to God, we wouldn’t struggle with Him for control, we would speak boldly to our problems, we would rely on the wisdom of God and we would remember that it is the voice of God and not the voice of the critic that matters.
How do we deal with stress? How do we make life less stressful for ourselves?
- Meditate on the Word: Read verses like Romans 8:28 and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus to get you through your challenges. Psalm 73:26 reminds us that our flesh is weak but we can find strength in God. So whenever you feel buried under the pressure of coursework, projects and a to-do list, ask God for the strength to complete your tasks. Isaiah 43:2 also reminds us that God is always with us, always for us and is closer than our next breath.
- Spend time praising God: this is my go-to! Praise does something to me, it takes my mind off myself and whatever I’m going through and it refocuses my mind on God. When I praise God, I’m reminded of all the things He has helped me accomplish, all the things He has done for me and all the things He shielded me from.
- Use your secret place: when the issues of life are creating storms in your life, you need to run to your secret place. Spend uninterrupted time with God and seek cover under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1).
- Ask for help: When most people are stressed out, they shut down and isolate themselves. I know because I used to be like that. Doing this doesn’t help, if anything, it intensifies the feeling of helplessness. You should reach out and seek guidance (Proverbs 11:14) from people you trust. Ask for help from your family, friends, a support group or spiritual advisors. Something as simple as sending a prayer request to your Bible study group chat could go a long way (Matthew 18:19).
Life should not be stressful because our Father owns the whole earth (Psalm 24:1) and so everything you will ever need is in His hands and is available to you if only you will trust Him, be committed to Him and wait patiently on Him (Psalm 37:3-7). Come to Jesus now and surrender your life to Him, this and this alone, is the only way to live a stress-free life.
Here’s a song for you:
Put It On The Altar – By Jessica Reedy