In a stress study, the American Psychology Association found that nearly 8 in 10 adults say the pandemic has been a significant source of stress. Add this to stress brought on by work, family responsibilities and political issues, and they found that 77% of adults say that stress is affecting them physicially and emotionally. This causes tension, difficulty sleeping, anger issues, and mood swings. Life is full of struggles. It’s easy to let the pressure build until a breakdown seems imminent. How do you identify negative pressure? Are you always in a hurry, busy, have to get sick to slow down? Do you feel that if one more thing happens or is added to your schedule, you’ll break? If so, then you are likely experiencing high levels of stress. Many of us take on too much. Many find their identity in their work, their accomplishments. We often feel our worth is defined by what we do rather than by who we are. This mentality goes against God’s Word. How do we find our way back to God’s design?
Scriptures – Ja 1:18; Ec 3:13; Lk 4:43; Mt. 6:21, 28-30; Ps 55:22; Ga 5:25; Ro 3:28
Verses – He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” (Ja 1:18) “Come to me, all you that are wear and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.” (Mt 11:28-30)
Thought – To de-stress and de-pressurize our lives we must realize that God has defined our worth. James 1:18 says that we, out of all creation, became his (God’s) prized possession. There is nothing to prove, and no amount of accomplishment will ever be enough to satisfy. Only in Christ do we find contentment and satisfaction. Jesus calls us to rely on him, to allow him to carry our burdens. Jesus says in Matthew 11, “Take my yoke upon you,” which doesn’t sound like a stress-reliever. But it is actually an invitation to allow Christ to partner with you in life. A yoke was used to harness two animals together for the purpose of labor. The two share the load. It is far better than having the burden be upon only one. To be yoked to Christ means to relinquish control. This is difficult when you have the mentality that it all depends on you. The fact is, your control is far less than you think it is. When you partner with Christ, you allow him to lead and guide. It takes off much of the stress when you give your life into his care. When you are yoked with Jesus, he directs your path. Jesus also says, “learn from me.” What better way to learn than to be yoked, connected, doing life in sync with the most powerful partner in the universe. Jesus promises that in so doing, “you will find rest for your soul(s).” That’s a promise I don’t want to miss out on!
Questions – What do you feel you need to control? What is your greatest stressor right now? Do you feel that your stress is affecting your mental and physical health? How can a person be a Christian and still be yoked to many things of this world? What are some first steps to unyoke from the world and yoke with Christ? What is most difficult for you to relinquish to Christ? What have you relinquished to Christ, and how is that working out?
Response – Determine what is causing the greatest stress/pressure in your life. With God’s help begin surrendering it to Christ. It isn’t easy. It’s a process, but baby steps are better than no steps. You will never know the relief you can find in Christ if you don’t make a decision to give God control.
Prayer – Gracious God, thank you for wanting to walk with me even when I try to stray from your path. Help me to allow you to lead. I know your way for my life is the best way. Guide my steps each day. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.