What to do When You Feel Stress

wide-eyed-man

Everyone reading this post feels stressed out. We live in a fast pace culture. We wear stress as a badge of courage. If we are not busy or stressed we are not significant or important. I am no exception. I remember a good friend of mine once told me that your ability to handle stress will determine how far you go in life and how much money you will make. I agree. So how do we get better at handling stress? I believe you have to 1. Recognize it’s source 2. Embrace the solution.

What is the source of stress? We live in a fast paced world with lots of things going on it’s very easy for us to point at things that our outside of us as the source of our stress. I have found that in me and those I know well stress is an internal problem with exterior consequences. Stress most often is a result of me wanting something to much. I want to have it all. I want to be thought of as a good worker, I want to be seen as a good father, I want to feel like a good husband. Stress is most often the byproduct of my striving to be what I feel that I need to be so that I will be significant. If we all are honest it is often times the by product of me getting good things the wrong way. It’s me trying to earn what I feel that I deserve. Stress is the byproduct of our idolatrous hearts.

So what is the solution. In  Colossians 2 Paul is addressing the idolatry of our hearts. How we set up rules to regulate what the heart wants and Paul says plainly that practical solutions alone are powerless to save us. He then goes on to describe what the solution is  

Colossians 3:1-3

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

The solution is not three pragmatic steps to have a better life. It’s a continual, constant reorientation of our affections. It’s us setting our mind on things above, being hidden in Christ who is our peace. When we practice what Francis Shaffer calls active passivity. Being hidden in Christ is not running from our problems it’s facing them with Christ. We step out actively and face our problems but rest passively know that the results are up to him. We rest in Christ who is our peace. Our striving ceases our activity does not cease only our striving ceases.

I love how Pastor Brady Boyd puts it in his book Addicted to Busy:

And so the Sabbath – an invitation, a gift, a small taste on the tongue of peace. In the Jewish tradition, there is a name for this: “Shabbat shalom” – literally, “may your day of no work be peaceful.” One person would say this as a greeting to another, and that person would respond in kind: “May your day of no work be peaceful as well.”

Because God is not only the inventor of peace but also himself Peace, another way of saying it is, “May you find God in your rest, and may you rest only in God”

We can be free from stress because Christ has become our peace. Our life is hidden in his and when our significance is wrapped in who he is we are free to enjoy the gifts of, work, family and friends without our person-hood ultimately tied to any of them because our life is hidden with Christ in God. We can live a life free from stress not because life is easy but because we are his. Because we are his we have nothing to fear, nothing to lose, and everything to gain. “Shabbat shalom”

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