"Help, I'm stressed!"

We are needy people before a God who meets us in our struggles.
It's okay to ask for help in our stress.

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Handling Stress.

God meets us in our situations and internal heart struggles.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

— 1 Corinthians 10:13

Steps for handling stress:

Deadlines and demands press in on us. Things go wrong. We fear drowning under the weight of pressure. “I can’t handle any more!” Our vision blurs. We lose perspective. “Everything’s wrong!”

In reality there may be a handful of pressures causing our stress. Or perhaps there’s one that’s most important to us.

Listing our pressures is a way of regaining perspective. Write them out one by one. Despite how it seems they’re not endless. This brings clarity to what we’re facing.

How do you feel stress? Learn to spot the signs. It may be our body tensing up, a short fuse as anger rises, being unable to really listen to those speaking to us. We can fixate on imagining our worst case scenario, experience tension headaches or try to escape on social media or find comfort in food or drink.

It’s very helpful to be able to step back and say, “Aha, there’s a red light on the dashboard!”

Stress often runs deeper than external pressures. If we dig a little deeper we can see that God is out of the frame. We forget his faithfulness to us in testing situations. Things feel like they are more than we can handle. 

When this happens someone or something has edged God out of our hearts and hijacked his place. What is it that you’re wanting, needing, craving, expecting or demanding? Is there a deeper fear intensifying your stress?

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 identifies us with God’s people wandering in the desert. Christ was with them but they failed to see it. Their hearts drifted away. Verse 13 packs a punch. Whatever pressures you’re facing, they’re common. God is faithful to you. He won’t test you beyond what you can bear. He promises you a way to withstand the testing.

Apply v13 to yourself completing this resource: The Enemies Lies vs God’s Truth.

Go to your Father as the one who is with you in testing. Tell him about the pressure you’ve been facing. Tell him what’s been hard. Tell him about your tendency to forget him and feel like the world’s on your shoulders. Ask him to show you his way out so that you can endure stressful situations. Ask him for what you need to meet the deadlines of today leaving tomorrow’s demands with him.

Created in June 2019 by Jeremy Ward with insights from David Powlison,‘What Good is Don’t Worry in Times Like These?’
Jeremy works as a Pastoral Counsellor at The Joshua Tree and Ashfield Presbyterian Church.

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Jeremy is available to help process an experience of stress that you might be experiencing. During COVID-19 he's available to speak on the phone or online via video. He can be reached on 0417 062 919 or at jeremy@thejoshuatree.com.au.

If you would like to explore further resources we wholeheartedly recommond David Powlison's mini book, 'Stressed Out: Becoming Peaceful on the Inside' ($6.99 on Kindle). We also recommend a series of conference talks on anxiety available for purchase from CCEF (links below).

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