The minute I told my sweet friend that I had written a book called Stressed-Less Living, she told me to watch out.
Watch out for the enemy’s tactics. Watch out for the problems that he would throw into my path. Watch out for stressful situations that were sure to rage into my life, threatening to cause me to stumble in my quest to live the stressed-less life.
And she was right.
For the past ten months, a myriad of situations have stormed into my life like hurricanes on a mission. Some have increased gradually, while others have blown in from out of nowhere.
But one thing every circumstance has in common, is that they came with a boat load of stress.
I decided I could do one of two things.
I could be mad at God for allowing these stressful situations to happen – all while I’m trying to write a book about stress, in the hopes of ministering to others in Jesus name, for goodness sakes! After all, shouldn’t God be protecting me, instead of allowing more stress in my life?
Or, I could allow my heart to view these circumstances as gifts from God. Gifts that would give me more hands-on training in finding calm in the chaos of life. Gifts that would further equip me to help others discover peace, when peace seems unrealistic. Gifts that would help me to understand what James 1:2 really means, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,”.
Fortunately, I chose the latter.
But don’t we all get lured into thinking that negative way at times? We think that our good Christian service, or our daily prayers, or our commitment to daily devotions or going to church every Sunday, should create an invisible force field around our life, shielding us from any stressful storms that threaten to come raining down upon us.
Unfortunately, although God is fair and loving, life is not always that way. Although God is compassionate, not all people are. Although we don’t deserve difficult trials, trials are part of normal life. And each and every experience is a “test” of our faith in one way or another, for our long term benefit.
We can never be “good enough” to prevent life from happening, no matter how hard we try. Yet, we can learn to trust in our God whose will and ways are always perfect, even when they are stressful.
In Tony Evan’s book, Between A Rock and A Hard Place (2010), he said this:
“He tests you, and me, because He wants what is best for us. He tests us because He is getting ready to do something amazing in our lives. The way that He tests us is by putting us in a stressful scenario. God puts us on a treadmill. He designs a unique treadmill test to measure and reveal the real condition of our souls.
Of course, no one likes a trial. No one wakes up in the morning, stretches, and says, “Ah, what a beautiful day for a trial! I think I’d like to have a trial today!” That would be an unusual person who would do something like that. Yet, no matter how much we want to avoid trials in our lives, trials are inevitable. No one is immune to trials”
Trials – some more stressful than others – will always come. We all have to make a choice. To either prepare our hearts to handle the stress, or allow the stress to damage our hearts.
The key to stressed-less living is not living a stress free life, but learning to trust God and embrace His joy and peace in the midst of our stressful lives. It requires accepting and believing that somehow, someday, some way… God is teaching us to trust Him, and seek peace from Him, and Him alone.
Has God ever used a stressful trial in your life to groom you for something amazing, teach you how much He loves you. or equip you for His great plans?
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