Stress, worry, and anxiety are conditions we all are too familiar with. Day in and day out we are presented with uncertainties in our lives, that initiate concerns that spiral into worry. While worry is common to all mankind, it is NOT the will of God for His children.
Out of everything God created, human beings are the only creation that worry.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26
What jumps out at me whenever I read this passage is, “your heavenly father” feeds them… If He is concerned enough to take care of a bird that He created, how much more concerned is He to provide for His children? He’s the creator of the birds of the air but He’s the Father to you and me. What God is saying to us is that if we know that He’s God enough to care for the fish in the sea, to feed the birds in the air, and clothe the lilies in the fields; then we’ve got to know that He will take care of us.
It’s not your job to worry, it’s your job to ask.
Kids don’t worry, kids just ask. When your child comes to you to ask for something, they’re not worrying about how you’re going to make it happen. No, they just lay it down and leave it there. Well He is your father, if you’re not asking Him for anything, you’re acting as if you’re a spiritual orphan. The bible says that every hair on your head is numbered. He knows everything about you and everything you need. He promised in His word that He would care for you even until your old age. And there’s thousands of promises that God has given to us, His children, assuring that He will be with us no matter where we are, and no matter what happens.
Proverbs 12:25 tells us that worry in a man’s heart weighs him down. It was never God’s intention for us to carry more than we can bear. Cast all of our cares upon Him because He cares for you. 1Peter 5:7
Cast means to literally unload. It means to dump and that’s what this verse tells us to do. The ultimate solution to stress and anxiety is to take the things that cause it—doubts and fears—to God. He is eager to help us deal with these common emotions in the right way so that we can experience true peace in our hearts and minds. Prayer is a key to a stronger relationship with God and to stress management.
Worry about nothing and pray about everything…
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.
Paul is teaching us here, that when we go to petition God to make sure that you’re asking with a grateful heart. Every petition to God should be wrapped up in a blanket of Thanksgiving and praise. And while you’re praising God, you can rest assure that He is already working it out on your behalf. So, lose the worry and keep the peace!
Our peace is a direct result of the thoughts we think. Where the focus goes the power flows. The war against worry and stress is won or lost in your mind. If you want peace of mind you have to control what you let in. Remember, your mind is not a freeway. Therefore, you can’t allow any and everything to drive through. Whatever you allow in your mind, is what will come out in your life.
Paul gave us eight filter tests in Philipians 4:8 to help us with the process of eliminating thoughts that did not come from God. Ask yourself these questions every time a thought begins to run repetitively through your mind.
1. Is it true?
2. Is it honest?
3. Is it right?
4. Is it pure?
5. Is it lovely?
6. Is it admirable?
7. Is it of good report?
8. Is it praiseworthy?
If you answer no to either of these questions, then you know that thought did not come from God. Reject it and cast it out immediately.
I encourage you to follow the steps from Paul’s stress management recipe and watch God give you the strength to work our way into a stress-free life. Whatever it is that has hold of your life and is stressing you out today, let me encourage you to go to Jesus. Unburden your heart. Put your requests before Him – and leave them there! You will find He is the greatest therapist in the world. And you will experience peace that goes far beyond any human comprehension.