How to Enjoy a Stress Free Christmas Season
Being “stressed out” is a relatively new concept, entering contemporary usage in the late 1920’s. In many respects, the notion of being stressed is an idea promoted by modern media which tells us all the things we must do to experience perfection and then commiserates with us as we consistently fail to achieve it. In particular, the multitude of expectations surrounding the Christmas season can set us up for stress, if we don’t make conscious decisions to be “in the world but not of it.” Let’s first define stress and then move on to removing it from our lives.
What Is Stress?
According to Merriam-Webster online, stress is “the burden on one’s emotional or mental well-being created be the demands on one’s time.” Put simply, stress places demand on one’s resources that exceed the available supply of those resources; be it time, money, emotions or physical capacity. But wait. As Believers, who is our resource and who is our supply? Stress is the inevitable response when we allow ourselves to become disconnected from our Source. Let’s redirect our attention to our Supply and Source.
As A Man Thinks, So Is He
How do we know that we are stressed? Some telltale signs are worry, fear, irritation and weariness. Often we experience physical symptoms including a rush of adrenaline, and perhaps feelings of breathlessness or overwhelming fatigue. But I believe the main way that we know we are stressed is that our minds become occupied with it. We think or even say “I am so stressed out” or “I don’t know if I can take this much longer” or “How will I ever get everything done?” and so on. It doesn’t take too long for our thoughts and words to bear fruit – the unwanted fruit of stress. But there is an antidote to physical symptoms and troubling thoughts. There is a Name that is above stress.
The Name Above Stress
If you have been dwelling on the demands being placed on your finite resources, take a deep breath and focus on your infinite Supply and Source. God needs many names to describe the multitude of his perfections. Here are a few of His names that demonstrate His superiority over finite supply – which is at the root of stress.
This name describes His perfection as our supply: Jehovah-Jireh means the One who sees our needs and provides for them. Do you have a need? Is your supply lacking? Then behold and meditate on Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord your supplier.
Another name that describes God’s role as provider is The Lord My Shepherd. Psalm 23 tells us that we shall not want for any good or beneficial thing. Do you need more time? Fewer things to do? The Lord your Shepherd is your faithful provider.
When we are in the middle of situations that outstrip our supply, we often feel that we are alone. One of Satan’s craftiest tactics is to create a sense of isolation from each other and from our Source. But God has another name that addresses our temptation to feel alone: Jehovah-Shammah. This name describes how God will never leave us nor forsake us. Psalm 139:8 states the ever-present quality of God like this: “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
Stress robs us of our peace. “Absence of trouble” is the world’s idea of peace. In other words, external circumstances dictate whether or not we are at peace. But God always has a better way. Jehovah’s shalom penetrates our spirit man. In the midst of trying situations, we can shape our circumstances from a position of supernatural peace that comes only from God.
There are many more names of God that speak to his desire and sufficiency to supply our every need. When feeling stressed, it’s good to remember that “the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
What’s Our Part In Reducing Stress?
In addition to meditating on God as our Supply, we need to ask Him for help to honestly evaluate the demands on our resources. God doesn’t honor laziness, but He also has a spirit-directed plan for how each of us use the resources He has given us – particularly time.
God has promised wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5). We can ask for and receive wisdom to know what to commit to and what not to commit to. If you are prone to overextending yourself, ask God for wisdom in this area.
Isn’t it interesting that when we are under stress, the first thing many of us skimp on is time with the Lord – BIG mistake. We must go to the Lord and seek His wisdom at the first sign of stress. Ask Him to show us His way that we may walk in it. Ask Him for discernment in requesting help from others.
To Sum It Up
Make a conscious decision to be “in the world, but not of it.” There is no family or societal tradition that is more important than loving God and honoring Him. Let this be a year that you and your family experience a Christmas season free of stress.
The most important way to reduce stress is to spend time in the presence of the Lord. Meditate on the names of God, Your Supply and Source.
Do your part to minimize stress by honestly evaluating your commitments.
Wise choices will watch over you. Pro 2:11 NLT
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