Pardon me, but I am not an expert in the field of ‘relieving stress’. I have lived a full life and that may qualify me for some of you who like ‘rockin’ chair’ help. Through the years I have developed some simple ideas that work for me. Save your doubts and ha ha’s, until after you give them a fair trial. Forgive me for generalizing too. Preachers and columnists are good at doing that. It tends to support their cause when the argument is weak.
Mental tensions and pressures have been realities for people since the Garden of Eden. Freedom brings inherent demands of both privilege and responsibility. There is a basic difference in stress (worry, anxiety, etc.) and genuine concern, the later deals with matters over which we have some control. Stress that comes from worry and anxiety is a robber, a thief. It steals away the past that is good, robs you of the present hour of life and speaks only death of future days. Genuine concern is that which moves us to deal, not only with privilege but also with responsibility. Now, lean back in your high back rocker, take some deep breaths, and center your heart-mind on the tremendous blessings you now enjoy.
Some authorities believe that sixty per cent of all illnesses begin with a worried mind. More than 50 per cent of all patients in hospitals, rest homes, etc., could be dismissed if we could find a cure for what’s ‘upstairs’. Things that we allow to place abnormal amounts of stress on us can lead to physical, emotional and spiritual loss. List the things that can happen, in school, marriages, work, or playing golf. The slate of factors is almost endless.
We continue to fight a losing battle with crime, drugs and divorce. What bugs us today is snarled traffic, choking pollution, angry bosses, screaming children, fast foods and burnt toast. America is worn out with drugs, suicides, humanism, empty church buildings, divorce and broken hearts. We have kids, marrying kids and bearing kids, when many who begin this process can mature the first and basic relationship.
So much for the bad side, let’s get on with some simple solutions.
Build a front porch and buy yourselves a couple of good solid high back rockers. Spend time together (generally later at night), sitting in the light-dark, talking with each other. If a marriage is secure, and divorce is ‘off the table’ lasting stress will be hard to find. We joke with one another about the occasional thrill of seeing a car pass by.
Turn the word faith into the word trust. Faith has become an accommodative word, to be used in any way we choose. Faith is not the answer. You don’t believe in what you believe. You don’t hook an anchor to an anchor. You hook an anchor to a rock. Faith is a good Bible word, but its intent is to take us to God. Therefore the quality of our faith is not as important as the object of our faith. That means, trust God. Birds do it. The lilies of the field show it. Jesus said, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Rid your vocabulary of “me,” “my,” “mine,” and begin the outreach policy. Paul said, ‘For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, therein to be content” (Philippians 4:11)
Begin each day with a song. Make up your own originals. Sing and be happy.
Wake up and go to bed with a song. Sing songs of hope and love and trust. Try a few hymns along the way, like, “Only trust Him, only trust Him, and only trust Him now”. How about humming the tune, “Tis’ so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word.” Go ahead, sing it and burst into praise and see how stress is dissolved. I know this sounds over simplified, but give it a genuine try. Save a few doctor bills.
Pick out some of your favorite verses in the Bible. Write them out. Post them here and there. Say them over and over again. Most thoughts that are stressful must be replaced with powerful positive thoughts. Read from the Psalms. Try the first one or the twenty third one or maybe thirty seven. “Fret not thyself because of evil doers . . .Trust in the Lord, and do good . . . Delight thyself also in the Lord . . .Commit thy way unto Him . . . Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him . . . Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” and that’s just a part of the first eight verses.
Let the Word of God be the repository of all undue stress, worry and anger.
The apostle Paul puts it succinctly, ‘don’t worry about anything whatever, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7). Prayer is always helpful when we trust God to give the answer.
Make these simple rules your habit and stress will be out the door