Stress – what if it is not “out there” in the circumstances of life, but it’s “in here,” in me? If that is true, then the solution to my stress is not trying to control or even change what are often unchangeable circumstances. Control freaks are seldom relaxed. Probably never. There is always one more thing that will need to be controlled in order to feel in charge and safe.
When I feel stressed out by not being able to control the chaos I perceive around me, I find I have forgotten two things (and more):
- It is not my job to control the circumstances of life that surround me. Should I act responsibly and wisely? Of course. Should I be a good steward of the resources I have to do good in the midst of suffering and evil? Absolutely. Am I responsible for a changed outcome? Not so much. Actually, maybe not at all! Here are two verses I often go back to when I forget and feel the stress of ownership for outcomes.
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” (Proverbs21:31). This helps me separate my part from God’s part. I get the horse ready. I do it well. Responsibly. But the outcome is not dependent on me, it belongs to the Lord.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21). This reminds me I have to hold my plans, my desired outcomes, in an open hand. No closed fists allowed.
- I forget how close the Controller of all things is to me. Here are my go-to reminders that help de-stress me:
“The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:5,6).
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him…” (Psalm 34:7).
“…for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
And then there are so many things I forget about the Master Controller. He is trustworthy. Gentle…He knows my limits. He is a source of stability…a rock I can stand on. He is my protector…my refuge. When I am stressed, my list grows long.
YOUR TURN: What are you trying to control that is stressing you? What would it help you to remember? Are there things you need to let go of and trust the one who is trustworthy?
BE A FRIEND: You and I are surrounded by friends who are stressed out. Stressed out because they are looking for solutions to stress in all the wrong places…not aware that we are filled with inner breeding grounds where stress can rear it’s ugly head. Pass this blog along and help expose them or remind them of the One who is really in control – for our good. Lets spread the good news.