KEEPING STRESS FROM BECOMING DISTRESS

The reality is the problems that produce stress are universal, they just manifest themselves in different situations and circumstances. Elijah's life shows some timeless ways to overcome stress in your life.

First, rest your body. Elijah had expended a great deal of energy fighting for God. I Kings 19:5 tells us, “He lay down under the tree and fell asleep. After he rested, an angel touched him and awakened him and told him to get up and eat.”

Elijah did not just fall asleep, God allowed him to relax so that he could sleep. Out in the middle of the desert Elijah found a cake of bread and a jar of water. Where did that cake of bread and jar of water come from? God provided it. God wants to provide for you. He wants you to rest. He wants you to replenish yourself. Overcoming stress begins with resting.

Another insight we find in Elijah's story is that to cope with stress you need to release your frustrations. Elijah poured his heart out to God. “I have been zealous,” he told God. “I have been working hard for you.” Then he went to tell God how alone he felt: “I am the only one left. Everybody else has deserted you. I am the only one.”

Release your frustrations and pour out your heart to God. Holding in your frustrations will only make you sick. Frustrations build and will manifest themselves in unhealthy ways.

A third way to cope with stress is to refocus on God. The Lord spoke to Elijah and said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord. Then a great wind blew and an earthquake shook the mountain. Then after all the violence, there was the gentle voice, the whisper of God's voice.” God was getting Elijah focused back on Him.

Sometimes in the midst of the busyness of life with its stress, burdens and pressures, you lose your focus. You need to refocus on God. When you put your focus on God, you see the power of God and the grace of God. When you focus on His greatness, His love for you, His care for you, then your focus is right.

Refocusing on God will help you develop a proper perspective on your problems so that you attack the problem and not the people. Stress is a part of life, distress is not. Relieve the distress so that you can live healthy and well.

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