Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Strategy To Cope with Stress

“So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” (Psalm 143:4-5 NIV)

I’m starting to see smiles and hear sighs of relief as students finish their final exams.  Days and weeks of stress and anxiety as approached the end of their semester are beginning to abate.  The relief is palpable.  

It is always this way at the end of a semester or school year.  Students are relieved and, for the vast majority of students, they do well in their classes.  But when the next semester begins to draw to a close, the same anxiety and stress once again arises.  It is difficult for them to remember that they managed to do well in previous semesters.  It is a vicious cycle of stress and anxiety, and then relief.  

David employed a strategy that students, as well as the rest of us, would be wise to emulate.  When he became stressed, he focused on the Lord—His greatness and His faithfulness.  He would remember how God had protected him and rescued him before. He let the past experience with the Lord inform his present.  Can’t we all do the same?

When I see the checking and savings accounts are becoming lean, my instinctive reaction is to begin to panic.  How are we going to pay all of our bills?  Where’s the money going to come from?  But I can calm myself by remembering that we have been in financially tight situations before and the Lord has always provided.  More than a decade ago, when I found myself without a job, I dealt with that stress by remembering I had once been in a similar situation after completing grad school.  I remembered how the Lord provided me with a ministry position.

Stress and anxiety will always be a struggle, but the best way to handle it is to employ David’s strategy—remembering the Lord’s faithfulness to us.  He brought us through difficult times before; He will do it again.  He can be trusted.  Today, remember that.

© Jim Musser 2016

No comments: