Be Anxious For Nothing… (Phi 4:6)~
“I’m stressed” seems to be a pretty standard greeting these days, much like, “I’m busy.” And if we’re honest, we can often use our stress as a source of pride. Saying we’re stressed can make us feel important because even though we may not like the feeling stress gives us, we like the status boost it brings.
In our fast-paced culture, stress is seen as the norm. It’s losing its negative connotations and has instead become associated with hard work, ambition, and success. We assume successful people are stressed people, so we strive harder. And a lack of stress can make us feel lazy or unmotivated.
The result? We’re constantly trying to do more and be more, which brings—you guessed it—more stress. We’re overcommitted because we can’t say no; we’re settling for superficial connections online instead of carving time for meaningful conversation; and we’re building stress into our identities.
But stressed-out, maxed-out lives are not what God had in mind for us. Jesus said that our enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That seems extreme, but stress can steal from us. It steals sleep. It steals happiness. It steals our mental capacity. And all the busyness that fuels our stress could leave us so distracted by the small stuff in life that we miss out on the big plans God has for us.
In contrast, Jesus said He came to bring us life and life to the full. Jesus came bringing peace and abundance, which is the opposite of a stressed (or drawn tight) kind of life.
So it’s time to reevaluate our stress. Let’s stop giving stress power. Let’s stop using it as a bragging right. Instead, let’s use a lack of stress as an opportunity to stand out, to be different, and to share our faith.
When the world around us is drowning in stress, we will choose to stay calm, be still, and remember that God is God. When others constantly compete and compare with one another, we’re going to celebrate and cheer for one another. When other people are overwhelmed and hopeless, we will be people who carry such hope that unbelievers look on and ask us why we have the hope that we have.
We can find freedom from our stress when we stop giving it power and start turning toward the source of all power—our God. So let’s stop living in stress and instead take Jesus at His Word and live full lives.