“Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:67 NLT
During the holiday season we are busier than a one-legged man in a rear-end kicking contest. Sometimes I think I’m going to meet myself on the highway going the other direction. It’s sad to say, but everyone I know is in the same boat. We all are trying to slow down and enjoy life, but we keep on accelerating and just trying to hang on and survive. For those of you who feel like a gerbil in a round wire cage, here are 36 Christian ways to reduce stress:
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say “No” to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you to do, then do it, and let go of the anxiety. If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget about it.
12. Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in your garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the kid in You every day.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough exercise.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write thoughts and inspirations down.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until it’s time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite Scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good “Thank You, Jesus!”
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but yourself not at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36. Every night before bed, think on one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for before.
Stress is a killer. It will mess up your body chemistry and make you sick. It will even make you fat by stimulating fat-producing hormones. That’s enough to make you want to chill, isn’t it?
God never intended His children to live at this pace. Jesus never got in a hurry, and yet his mission was far superior and much more pressing than ours. Stress will shorten our lives and distract us from the things that really matter, like our relationship with the Lord and with one another.
Let me ask you something: Is what you are stressing over today going to matter in eternity?
Kenny Ashley is pastor of The Journey, which meets for worship on Sundays at Oakridge Middle School. Visit thejourneyatlakewylie.com for more information.