March 2, 2016

The 4-Step Cure for Stress

Like many of us, my life is full of situations that I want changed as soon as possible. Some of them have been around for my whole life. A few have been thorns in my flesh for the past few years. Other events pop up from time to time as fleeting crises that demand plenty of my time and energy.

I have ongoing challenges with my health, finances, and children that I want to disappear immediately. The constant fights are unfair and exhausting. If it weren’t foreign to my personality, I would scream in frustration as I tore my hair out.

The truth is that life is full of trials. When one trauma is overcome, another will soon take its place. If some challenges are easier than others, we may get a temporary break. Yet, what if that’s not the case?

What if the trauma keeps pouring down like Niagara Falls? We have two choices: stress or stay in peace.

The Four Steps to Peace

As Joyce Meyer tells us, peace is not about circumstances. It’s a state of being within ourselves. In fact, if we refuse to be peaceful until our lives are perfect, we aren’t likely to ever achieve that happy state. Here are the four steps she lists for combating stress:

1.Trust everything to God.

What looks like a total mess to us may actually be part of His grand plan. He sees the end from the beginning; we don’t.

2. Pray.

God won’t always answer our prayers by completely getting rid of our problems. I can vouch for that. However, He can strengthen us and enable us to deal with our challenges. Prayer can also help us to endure everything with a good attitude.

3. Know when to be quiet.

Uncontrolled yelling and anger give the devil entrance into our lives. Mark 27:12-14 tells us that Jesus didn’t defend himself to his accusers. He kept quiet.

The gospels also tell us that Christ didn’t speak much when he was on the cross. He made a total of seven statements, or 41 Greek words. They would have taken about one minute to speak. He wasn’t about to let negativity in at that crucial time.

I have noticed a difference between people that I offend on the road. Some people honk, glare, and yell at me when they think I’ve delayed them for a few moments. Others are kind and patient even when we’ve been in an accident. Which type of person do you think is the most content and mentally healthy?

4. Quickly forgive.

Let’s face it, the taking and giving of offense is stressful. It just is. Resentment is often more harmful to the person feeling it than to the one against whom it’s directed. Please see more on this topic in my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds.

My Conclusion

Inner peace is not related to circumstances. It is a state of being that we cultivate despite what’s going on in our lives. The good news is that there are steps we can take to achieve a feeling of contentment in all situations.

How have you chosen peace?

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