Why are people so stressed these days?
No doubt you’d roll your eyes at that question. After all, for most of us, stress is just as much a part of life as waking up every day.
Yet I hope you also pause – yes, pause – and think about it: how did life get so fast and relentless all of the sudden?
The day-to-day life you live may hardly afford you the time to breathe, let alone think. Maybe you work long days and late hours, without so much as an acknowledgement that you even exist.
Or maybe you constantly shuttle your kids from one activity to the next. School here, soccer there, ballet somewhere else, and somehow a karate class in there, too. You race home for a few minutes to eat dinner before heading to the next practice or event.
When you finally come home and fall into bed that night, you feel exhausted and on edge, like the day isn’t really over. We all need to know how to take a break from that stress, to give our souls a chance to stop and breathe.
See what I mean?
So how can you intentionally find peace in the middle of your crazy life without simply squeezing it in?
Here are three ways you can take a break from the panic of pressure-cooker living, and enjoy a more peaceful life each day.
Pause to Pray
You and I have a choice every day: to fret or to pray.
You can carry your concerns and try to fix them yourself, or you can cast them at the foot of the Cross – fully confident that God knows and cares about your troubles and fears, and that He is with you.
I suggest you take Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:6:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Pause to Praise
Did you notice in the verse above that Paul not only prayed, but he prayed “with thanksgiving”?
And did I mention he was also in a jail cell at the time?
When stress and worry start to overtake you, turn your eyes upon Jesus, as the old hymn goes.
If the apostle Paul could find reason for thanks in a jail cell, persecuted for his faith to the point of facing death, then we can find reason for thanks in the midst of our day.
There’s always something in every day to give him thanks for.
Look fully into the wonderful face of your Good Shepherd, and thank him for something today. Then watch your troubles grow strangely dim.
Pause to Gain Perspective
Whenever I feel myself starting to worry, I quote Scripture. This often occurs at night, when I’m lying awake and all the concerns of the day rush on me at once. But as I mull over God’s Word and remember his past faithfulness, I can pillow my head on hiis promises and sleep like a baby.
Train your thoughts, as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8-9:
“If there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things … and the God of peace will be with you.”
As you hit the pause button to pray, praise, and gain perspective, you’ll learn to exhale all that ails you and breathe in God’s peace.
Your soul will find rest and revival – and your body will thank you for the break.