PEACE. DEALING WITH STRESS.

I've been pondering the contradiction 'peace and goodwill' wished to all mankind at Christmas time, and yet the stress that rises because of the sudden accumulation of events and unavoidable encounters with people and situations that cause anything but peace and goodwill. I wrote a book called PEACE in response to the high-stress levels and accompanying illnesses so common today.  God has answers in Scripture. Just thought I'd share an excerpt with you from the start of the book.

 

Phil (Message Bible) 4:6, 7
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

‘Worms eat you when you’re dead; worries eat you when you’re alive.’ Jewish Proverb

When James writes to the twelve scattered tribes of Israel around the world, he tells them that the strife in their relationships springs from the strife in their personal lives.

When stress morphs into panic, our ‘fuse’ shortens. Anxiety drains patience from our soul, so we cease ‘coping’. When the nagging hag of anxiety swamps our thoughts, our potential to solve problems dumbs down. Stress is a mind freezer and talent crusher.

John Wesley, "I dare no more fret than curse and swear. To have persons at my ears murmuring and fretting at everything is like tearing the flesh from my bones. By the grace of God, I am discontented at nothing. I see God sitting on His throne, and ruling all things."

‘Don’t worry, Be happy’, was the 1988 hit song from Bobby McFerrin, urging the obvious, that worry steals your happiness, therefore stop worrying and be happy.

Joyless living steals our strength, leaving us unequal to our days.

This would be great to simply declare to ourselves, ‘All right, from here on in, I’m simply not going to worry. I’m just going to be happy’. However, I’m not sure about you, but I’m cynical about my ability to pull that off. Anyone alive knows this is simply not that easy. Worry goes with living. Whether we are a chronic worrier, or we just fret about a few things, it’s inevitable we all have to deal with anxiety all our lives.

Worry, like pain, alarms us to what could be a problem, but like all emotions, it needs management. If we don’t get on top of worry it will get on top of us.

The song states the obvious. You can’t worry and be happy at the same time.

Worry kills any joy we have, dragging us down into depression, Pilgrim’s ‘slough of despond’.

Worry releases a whole factory of the wrong chemicals into our fragile frame. This inhibits our immune system and prevents the ‘good’ chemicals which promote well-being into our system.

Worry slows down the synapses of our brain, so our ability to remember, deduct, envision and imagine a positive future, are all seriously darkened.

‘Mild anxiety can sabotage a leader’s relationships and hamper work performance by diminishing the brain's ability to process information and respond effectively.  A good laugh or an upbeat mood, on the other hand, more often enhances the neural abilities crucial for doing good work.

Good and bad moods tend to perpetuate themselves, when people feel upbeat, they see the positive light in a situation and recall the good things about it, and when they feel bad, they focus on the downside’

Worry infects those around us with the same fear. Like the flu, anxiety spreads. Someone sneezes a worrying thought into our ears and we catch fear. Entire populations are affected like this from the media. When the marketplace feels fear, stock markets crumble. In the same way, when confidence is strong, they rise.

Fretting immobilizes people. Frozen in time, whole organizations become stuck in yesterday, swamped by bolder, younger, unworried people moving forward. Either this or completely the opposite, so that instead of doing nothing they rush to poor decisions. Panic makes us irrational. We make rash commitments to the wrong things. We can marry a person for the wrong reasons, leave good jobs, sell our house because of overwhelming anxieties, believing there’s no other way to solve the problem.

We are never going to have a problem-free life here on Earth. How we respond to the problems that come our way determines the quality of the life we live.

God is fully aware of the damage anxiety brings to our emotions, our bodies, our minds, our relationships, and circumstances. He takes pains to provide the antidote again and again in Scripture.

It’s important to know these Scriptures, to think them, pray them and speak them to ourselves. The power of the Word of God cannot be underestimated

Let me repeat the Scripture we started with;

Phil (Message Bible) 4:6, 7
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.