Theme of the Week: Stress
Bible Verse: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:34
Contrary to popular belief, not all stress is bad. When we work out, we put our muscles under stress. That stress forces adaptation, growth. Mental stress is a physiological response that lets us know something important needs attention. Stress crosses the line from growth-inducing to detrimental when it leads to feeling overwhelmed and/or it starts to negatively affect the body. A stress-free life is not necessarily the goal; learning how to handle stress in healthy and productive ways is.
This week we’re going to explore stress and talk about healthy ways of viewing and handling it. By stress, we mean the physical and emotional responses we have to pressure; when uncertainty meets expectations.
Handling stress is how we toe the line between the comfort zone and panic zone; it’s how we attempt to remain in a learning zone. It allows us to rise to the occasion and not succumb to overwhelm.
Thankfully, our rich faith tradition gives us a wide variety of paradigms, images, stories, and examples to learn from on ways to see and confront stress.
This week we will cover:
- Breathing over chaos
- Broadening the context
- Withdrawing often
- Give the heart a voice
- Structural solutions for growing problems
Monday and Tuesday’s devotionals offer quick tools to help handle stress in the immediate. Wednesday & Thursday are about practices that cultivate a life that helps to better deal with stress. Friday is about big-picture changes we might need to make for long-term sustainability.
Prayer: Jesus, life is hard and there are so many things that can be in and out of my control. Thank you for walking with me in the circumstances that I face. Help me to rest in your presence and to listen for the voice of your Spirit. Help me stay in the learning zone for all the lessons you may want to teach me.
Reflection: For today, bring some awareness to God who is faithful to see you through and invites us to cast anxiety and worry upon him. Talk to him about the areas in life that are bringing you stress. Be honest. Tell him what it is and how it makes you feel.
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