Quick Help: Shrinking Stress
This series provides one-page sheets to help us deal with the emotions brought about by the COVID-19 challenge. Find links to the rest below.
As strange as it sounds, stress is not your enemy. It’s a gift that God built into us to help us navigate difficult times.
Tip 1: It’s okay to feel stress. Feeling stress is not sin.
When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane before the Cross, He experienced the most severe form of stress the body can endure: sweating. If it’s okay for Jesus to feel stress, then it’s okay for you, as well.
But take note of what Jesus did to process His stress. He did not push it away. Instead, Jesus used stress to focus His prayers.
Tip 2: Don’t try to push stress away. Let yourself feel it — then take control of it. Stress is a warning light on your dashboard. It lets you know something is going on under the hood. When the warning light pops on, you don’t cover it up. You take a look under the hood.
Some of you know immediately why you’re stressed. Others might need to pray through it. Do whatever you need to figure out the root of the stress.
Once you know, take it to God. Tell Him exactly why you’re stressed. If you can identify the root feeling, say that too. It could be “It feels like I have no control,” or “This situation just feels hopeless.” Or, as Jesus did, you might dread what’s coming, so you ask God to let this cup pass from you.
Tip 3: Once you’ve said it all, ask God to give you His truth. He may bring the perfect Scripture to mind. Or you might simply sense Him near.
Stress is a gift. It shows you where you need God’s truth most. So we follow our stress, ask God for His truth, and let Him renew our minds (Rom 12:2).
Tip 4: Cast your cares on God — then leave them there. We all need help. It’s okay to ask for it. Ask God specifically for everything you need. Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Then — as Jesus did — pray for God’s will to be done, if it’s different from what you asked for.
When you ask it helps you feel heard. When you leave it in God’s hands it helps bring peace. He will carry these burdens. You don’t have to (Isa 53:4).
And Tip 5: Go for a walk. Seriously. The fresh air, exercise, and escape from your everyday surroundings will boost your mood and provide a healthy release.
This Quick Help sheet is part of a longer series. Find quick help for other emotions here: