Stress happens. Stress is a fact of life. What happens immediately following stress is what determines whether you will know peace or experience more stress. There is no way to avoid stress. But what you can avoid is the pain and disorientation of continuing stress. In the midst of stress, you can either turn to God and his word or you can rely on your own judgment and watch the stress and confusion grow.
Trust in God and his ways leads to peace. Like oil and water, trust and stress do not mix (See Matthew 6:19-34). When you attribute short, curt answers and a contentious spirit to stress, you are demonstrating that the stressful situation has overcome you. There is much in life that can be overwhelming. But God remains in control of his world. We don’t have to be driven by worry and continued stress.
Proverbs 3:7-8 teaches that our bodies don’t do well when we trust ourselves, that is when we rely on our own understanding. Trusting God and purposely loving him in all that we do brings health to our soul and stability to our walk. Trusting our own understanding leads to a troubled spirit, to a lack of stability and more stress. Loving God in every area of your life means an intentional awareness of obeying AND trusting him.
Proverbs is talking about much more than just saying God’s name when things get challenging. Trusting God, fearing him and turning from stress brings peace to our minds and health to our bodies. Stress can also indicate fear of man instead of fear of God.
Continued, growing stress is the time to take a deep breath and to ask God for clear direction from his word. When you worry about the future or if you think there is no way out of your problem you will be dominated by stress.
God has promised he is always faithful. His word is always true. These are not things you can say about your own judgment. When I trust my own understanding it does not go well for me. When you are overcome by stress reach out to God. Trust his understanding over your own.
Model this for your children. If you see stress and uncertainty in their lives consider whether or not your lack of trust in God may be a contributing factor. The promise of Proverbs is a rich one. Show its beauty to your children and to those God brings into your life.
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.