I love the holidays. There is an excitement that comes with the anticipation of Thanksgivng, Christmas, and the thought of a brand New Year! However, all of the activities surrounding holiday celebrations can bring an added degree of stress into our lives. A lot of “stuff’ gets added to our already busy lives.
As you approach this holiday season, here are a few stress reducing tips from scripture that can help you reduce your stress level, be thankful, and and enjoy your time with family and friends.
Philippians 4:6-9 (ESV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
1. Quit Worrying – Paul says “Do not be anxious about anything.” When you are filled with worry, your stress level goes up and it is almost impossible to have an attitude of thankfulness and joy.
When you think about it, worrying doesn’t fix the past and can’t shape the future. Worry simply messes up today! Worrying is unreasonable and unhealthy!
2. Make prayer a priority – The passage says … “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” So often, when there is a lot going on, or we are stressed, the last thing we do is ask God for help. We try to handle everything on our own. Have you ever heard someone say, “I have tried everything, I guess all that is left to do is pray?” The scriptures tell us the FIRST thing we should do is pray! Matt. 6:33 says to “Seek first the kingdom of God,” and then the rest of life works.
3. Change our thinking – Paul provides an example of the kinds of things we should think about:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. So often when we get stressed, we begin to allow negative thinking to begin dominating our thought life. As we dwell own negative things, the stress and anxiety in our lives increases. Paul provides great advice and tells us to change the way we think!
Finally, Paul shares the result of dealing with our stress God’s way …
Philippians 4:7 (ESV)
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
He says God will give us a peace that is beyond our own comprehension, and He will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! Now that’s exactly what I’m looking for!
The holidays are such a great time of year and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to be thankful, and to experience the joy the season should bring. I have decided that I’m not going to worry, to make prayer a priority, and to change the way I think … what about you?
I feel better already!