Stress and anxiety also have an impact well beyond the physical realm. Mental and emotional health influence our quality of life and the way we engage with our world, including relationships and work.
Jesus has made peace and joy available to us, but we often forfeit His promises for what we think we control with worry, resulting in heightened stress and increased anxiety. We all experience the challenging elements of living in a fallen world and among other imperfect humans, but stress and anxiety don’t have to rule our existence.
Strategies to overcome stress and anxiety.
We can have a different outcome than what stress and anxiety prescribe. God has given us authority and an invitation to live a different kind of reality. We can partner with the Holy Spirit to apply our faith in overcoming stress and addressing anxiety.
While we hold to God’s promises to make positive changes in our lives, faith doesn’t stop with believing alone. We can also embrace principles and practices that reflect the abundant life and total wellness Jesus came to give.
While God has created us to experience greatness with Him, even in the present, our vision is obscured by the volume of commitments vying for our attention. Often, we miss out on the blessing of the here and now because we are constantly running.Fueled by what we think life is supposed to be like, that is, having or doing a little more, we lose the joy of simply being with our Heavenly Father to busyness. It takes strength to let go of the frenzy. It takes God’s grace to embrace and adapt to a pace that is sustainable and life-giving.
It may seem difficult to recognize when our responsibilities seem to mount and our stress along with it, but there is a gift in slowing down. We probably notice it most if and when we take a vacation, or perhaps when we are recovering from illness.
Our bodies will let us know when we need to let go, as they shut down, announcing the need for a time-out. We often don’t realize how much we need to adapt to a different pace until we are forced to stop. Although not ideal, heeding the cues from our physical and mental states can signal where to incorporate lasting changes.
Removing or reassigning excess activity from our schedule makes room for us to revisit our mindset about stress and anxiety. It may be important for us to not only look at what we’re doing but expose the addiction to the mindset that fuels stress and anxiety.
Could it be our sense of inadequacy that keeps us hungry and unfulfilled? Do we fear not being enough, and therefore press ourselves to do and have more, though without satisfaction? The fear that stokes insecurity can often convince us to overextend our boundaries and overspend our resources, in hopes that what we do will validate us and make us seem or feel affirmed in how much we accomplish.
Instead, we feel vacant, spent, and resentful. Stress and anxiety take a toll on our souls, and we pay with our lives when we don’t learn to slow down or schedule our priorities.
When we create space, we need to reconfigure our plans with intentional times of relaxation, but also reflection. When we assign time to prioritize what matters, we place boundaries around it to protect it. It enables us to partner with God to shift our time, energy, and attention to those areas nearest to our hearts.
Rely on supernatural support.
God certainly blesses the works of our hands, operating in the supernatural to do what we cannot. Yet, sometimes we suspend our ability to experience the full life He intended.
We’ve cluttered our minds with doubt and our lives with distraction. We plug our schedules full of activity. As a result, we lose time, squeezing out the margin that is required for us to reset before we see and feel symptoms of burnout.
We need to seek God for His wisdom and direction, receiving the grace for what is possible only with Him. Sometimes, we don’t discover that until we have frazzled ourselves by pursuing a pace that doesn’t align with God’s heart. We can do all things by His power and in His strength, but that doesn’t mean that we should attempt to do what is beyond our assignment.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13, NASB2020
Let’s be clear that He graces us for His will, nothing less and nothing different. This can free us from being bound to the world’s frenetic pace or performing to its unsustainable standard of success.
Make small beginnings.
Our world is hungrier than we realize (Romans 8:19-21). People need what God has placed in us, but we cannot offer it when we are operating empty, starved for the presence of God to surge through us. When we are overwhelmed and hurried, we miss the opportunity to bring heaven’s solutions for earth’s problems into the family, neighborhood, community, and world around us.
Revisiting our schedules and our lives to edit what doesn’t serve can seem drastic at first consideration. Courage comes, however, when we reimagine ourselves taking each grand step by initiating a small one, right where we are, strengthened and empowered by the Lord.
Adapting to a pruned schedule is an adjustment. It may feel unusual, perhaps even dull in comparison to the hectic life that we normalized. We are among many witnesses who experienced God using the mundane and trivial to build faithfulness and other essential character traits (Galatians 5:22-23).
However, these small beginnings represent transition and preparation (Zechariah 4:10). We always retain the option to rejoice or not, to trust or disbelieve as we go through experiences, and even the discipline of revising a schedule that doesn’t necessarily elicit excitement (James 1:2).
Sometimes, our push to consume ourselves with entertainment and busyness indicates a deeper need. Perhaps, distraction causes us to miss where God wants to connect and fulfill us. He has something waiting beyond the overflowing calendars and volume of commitment that we currently experience.
Could it be possible that God is inviting us to experience something new, different, and energizing, as we intentionally release our hold on anxiety and stress?
Embracing the strength to let go.
Over time, we have stuffed our schedules, generating more chatter and buzz. Instead of further drowning out God’s voice, let’s respond to His call in times of stillness. The Holy Spirit invites us to reallocate energy, time, and attention to simply be.
Savoring what satisfies in the Lord’s Presence fills our voids. Instead of provoking a need to please and perform, resetting during time with God gives peace and direction to navigate us deeper into rest, wisdom, and grace.
While you may have been controlled by the fear that fed your experience of stress and anxiety, this doesn’t have to remain your reality. Take the time to reassess and consider meeting with a therapist to make some changes, even if you start small.
You don’t have to do it on your own, but rather find a supportive and empathetic professional on this site to guide you as you go. The help you need is available, and the strength you need to let go of stress and anxiety is already inside.
“Watching the Fog”, Courtesy of Mitchell Hartley, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Overwhelmed”, Courtesy of Luis Villasmil, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Yoga”, Courtesy of Jared Rice, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Walking Down the Road”, Courtesy of Emma Simpson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact one of our counselors for further information.