Doing Life Together

distress woman“I’m stressed out, tired, exhausted.” From moms to executives, these words reflect a growing state in which many women feel they live. Women in all walks of life are no exemption. Pouring our lives into others often leaves us feeling depleted with little to give. If you feel overwhelmed by the demands of family and work, you are not alone.\

Stress is a byproduct of our postmodern life. We feel we have too little time, too few resources and a lack of control over most things in our lives. Stress can be generated by an event such as death, illness or even a board decision. Some events, like the birth of a baby, are predictable. Others, as in the case of natural disaster, are not.

Stressful events can be ongoing or resolved quickly. They can be related to life transitions, the environment, our individual growth, need for healing and/or our perceptions of things. Stressful events may be avoided or unavoidable, and rated mild to severe.

Stress can also be a response to events. Things happen. We react. How we react is the key to keeping stress in check. If we carry stress in our bodies, in our minds and worry about the lack of control we feel over certain things, this disrupts our sense of well being and the rest that God promises. To be “anxious about nothing” becomes an unreachable ideal rather than a directive. Unmanaged stress can lead to the development of anxiety disorders, depression and physical symptoms.

Because stress is inevitable, pause and take inventory because your ability to cope with stress is related to the resources you have. We typically think of money, education, power and support as necessary resources to accomplish what we need. However, the most important resource we possess is our standing with Christ. Here’s why.

Resources can be depleted over time. People let us down, control is elusive and time moves forward. For example, maybe you began with an adequate volunteer staff for your fund raising banquet, but eventually people dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Or maybe the board support you thought you secured for an upcoming women’s conference didn’t materialize. The point is resources are usually limited. But God is an unlimited resource that can be continuously accessed. His promises never run out. And His faithfulness will never fail.

Because we are joint heirs with Christ, we have all He has. Best of all, we have Him. So in times of stress, remember where your help really comes from—who it is that is dependable and present. God is not only our present help in times of trouble, but the God of more than enough, El Shaddai. Call on Him. Ask Him to supply the need. In our culture of self-sufficiency, we often forget to access the endless supply of provision we have through Christ. Instead, we rely on ourselves and eventually feel exhausted.

If you are tired and stressed, make an appointment. Schedule your God spa time of refreshment and relaxation. It begins with the one who nourishes us as the Living Water and the Bread of Life. Intimate time with God is our greatest resource to managing stress. The promise is that if we dwell in the shelter of the Most High, we will rest in His shadow. And right now, a little rest is what is needed to move us from stressed to refreshed!