James 1:2-3 –My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Stress exposes and develops our character. Stress exposes what we do (and should do) to deal with stress. We must take a look at how we cope with stress and make adjustments accordingly.

Stress will affect our feelings, thoughts, and actions.  Therefore, we must address each area:

  1. Feelings. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  Emotions inform you about the problem you’re experiencing.  Beneath every behavior there is a feeling.  Beneath every feeling is a need.  And when we discover that need we can treat the cause of our stress and instability.  Our emotions can get the best of us. If we do not keep them under subjection then we will experience additional stress.  Put words to your feelings to make them understandable.  Figure out the cause and then address the underlying issue.
  2. Thoughts.  Read 2 Corinthians 10:5 and Philippians 4:8.  Think about your thoughts.  See your thoughts clearly by slowing them down. Examine them in the light of Scripture. Submit them to the Lord, and then turn your thoughts to those things which are honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, and praiseworthy.  Reject things which are based on lies, impurity, hate, negativity, immoral, or blameworthy.  Work through your thoughts by retreating into silence or solitude or by “thinking through your mouth” and verbally process your thoughts with a trusted friend.
  3. Actions.  Thoughts lead to actions.  Read Galatians 5:22-23 and 6:7-8 (and read this article for more info).  The governing principles of our lives are summarized in Galatians 5:22-23.  We should demonstrate the “fruit of the spirit” by evidencing love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”  Stress can deteriorate any or all of those virtues.  Determine which ones are affected and lean on the Lord to help you.

After taking inventory of your thoughts, feelings, and actions you will want to solidify these habits to remain ready for daily life and to be resilient in stressful situations. 

Stress can happen any day and come in many ways.  Stay ready and resilient by following the “4 + 2 Plan.”  This nicely packed prescription will help when you need it most!

4 Actions to Stay Ready Every Day

  1. Thankfulness – for life, for opportunities, for all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  2. Bible Intake – You give out what you take in (1 John 1:5-10)
  3. Physical activity – eat, sleep, exercise appropriately (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
  4. Accomplish your mission before rewarding yourself with leisure or complaints (Philippians 2:14); especially with regard to your boss, peers, subordinates, and family.

2 Actions to Stay Resilient in Stressful Situations

  1. Check to see if you are mad, sad, or had.  Understand what made you angry, discouraged, or manipulated.  Find a trusted person, such as a peer or friend or spouse, who will listen and show empathy in your time of distress.
  2. Treat the source of your wounds.  There’s an underlying cause for everything you’re experiencing.  Find it and fix it.  You’ll know it is fixed by investigating your feelings, thoughts, and actions (just as explained above).

Stress exposes character.  Stress strengthens character.  Let patience have her “perfect work” so you can experience the growth that the Lord intends.  Otherwise, its just stress that leaves us mess.  Let the stress lead to being blessed!

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Read more devotionals at Learning the Way of Wisdom


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