1 Peter 5:6-7, Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Stress. Just the word alone has connotations that evoke a sense of worry.

Many of us, especially if you’re a woman, like to be in control. For instance, if someone is creating havoc in our life, then“they need to change.” Without ill intentions, we may begin to manipulate a situation—we think, “If I’m nice to that person who is causing me stress, maybe they won’t be critical of me anymore.”

When we allow control to rule our life and that someone doesn’t do something we want him or her to do, it can quickly lead to anger. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it takes more power to refrain from anger, than to respond with anger. God did not create us to control other people and their actions—not even God controls us, because He has given us the power of choice.

The only kind of control God has given to us is self-control. Galatians 5:22-23.

What is a trigger for stress for you? I think it is vital knowing ourselves, because if we can recognize certain triggers, then we can oftentimes stop stress before it consumes us.

One of my triggers is perfectionism. I think, “am I good enough?” “Is this paper written well? “Am I a good wife?” “What can I do to be better?” I can become crippled with the unrealistic demands I place on myself.

I’ve learned that my greatest strengths used in the wrong way can become my greatest weaknesses.

Stress can take a toll on our bodies. Some people overeat, binge on Nexflix, lose weight from not taking care of themselves, or live in blissful denial. Me? I like to live in blissful denial and pretend there is nothing wrong. Regardless of the coping mechanism a person chooses to deal with anxiety, if the thing that is causing stress isn’t taken care of, then it could have long term effects on their physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Cortisol is the hormone released when we are stressed. It’s interesting; there are cortisol receptors throughout our entire body, so chances are, if you’re stressed, your body will respond. This hormone zaps energy, causes headaches, leads to weigh gain, and dehydrates the body (making a person tire easily). The side effects of cortisol will lead to even more stress.

This is why it’s important to know our triggers. What makes you stressed and what can you do to bring relief to yourself?

Is the stress you’re feeling self-inflicted?

  • Do you get stressed because you’re always running late? If so, try waking up thirty minutes earlier?
  • Are you stressed financially? Try writing a budget at the beginning of every month and learn where your money goes. Limit how much you spend on entertainment and eating out. My husband and I started doing this and it’s been an incredible journey.

Is the stress you’re feeling from external circumstances?

  • Is a family member ill?
  • Is your child unsaved or backslidden?
  • Are you single and waiting for God’s promise for a spouse?

Not too long ago I was reading an article online and the author said, “We need to grow our stress capacity.” I understand what they are trying to say, but as a Christian, I disagree.

God has intricately designed our bodies and He did not create us to carry spiritual burdens ourselves. Here are a few scriptures that will help you on this journey:

  • Psalm 34:4-5: I sought theLord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
  • Isaiah 26:3: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
  • Matthew 6:34: 11Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
  • Luke 12:7: Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
  • Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  • Psalm 42:5: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

If there is a situation out of your control in your life, give it over to the Lord. There isn’t any better place to be than in the middle of a circumstance that only God can change—that’s when he demonstrates His power. If casting our care upon God wasn’t important then there would not be so many scriptures on the subject. Whatever it is that is creating anxiety in your life, God is more powerful and more than able to help you through your situation.

Angela Overton
Author

Angela Overton is a lover of words, nature, and coffee. She is an ordained minister with the UPCI, has a Masters Degree in Theology, and loves to teach Bible studies. She and her amazing husband, Michael, pastor in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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