One of the keys of stress free living is learning to be flexible. You’ve got to be adaptable, adjustable, and go with the flow. Too many people today get bent out of shape and stressed out when their plans don’t go their way and things don’t work out exactly as they would like. We must understand, we cannot control everything. We can’t control the weather, etc.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Stress Free Living
Stress Free Living
Ephesians 6:13, Hebrews 10:35-36, 2 Corinthians 2:14, 1 Samuel 30:3-4, 1 Samuel 30:6, Acts 16:25-26, John 5:5-6, John 5:8-9, Psalms 51:10
I want to talk to us today about LEARNING TO LIVE MORE STRESS FREE. Off the top, I have not conquered what I will be talking about, but I am working on it and I know it works.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to STEAL AND KILL AND DESTROY; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
One way the thief steals and destroys life from us is with stress. Stress will make you physically sick and eventually kill you. Did you know “up to 90 percent of the doctor visits in the United States may be caused by a stress-related illness?”Our society is full of stress and many suffer from “chronic stress.” We all have daily opportunities to live uptight and on edge. You can’t get rid of all the stress in your life, but you can learn how to control it. If something has the ability to cause stress that doesn’t mean it has to. If you will handle it with the right attitude, it won’t have it’s negative effect on you.
One of the keys about learning to live stress free is learning to be flexible. You’ve got to be adaptable, adjustable and go with the flow. Too many people today get bent out of shape and stressed out when their plans don’t go their way and things don’t work out exactly as they would like. We must understand, we cannot control everything that happens to us. We can’t control the weather. We can’t control the traffic. We can’t control what other people do. You might have your day all lined up. You planned to do some specific things. Then a relative calls. He’s having a big problem and you have to go help. Maybe you planned a nice quick trip and get stuck in traffic and now your trip is messed up. Life is full of surprises and inconvenience and most of them can bring stress, but God did not create us to live life all stressed out. God wants you to live in peace and joy.
If you are not going to allow stress to control you and make you sick, you must realize not everything is going to go your way. Your plans are not going to work out exactly as you scheduled. Go ahead and settle that. If or when your plans do work, rejoice, but when inconveniences happen, you must make a decision and that decision is you are not going to allow the inconvenience to upset you, steal your joy, or mess up your day. You pre-decide. You have to learn to be adaptable, adjustable and to go with the flow. You learn to do that. It doesn’t come natural. When you learn this, you can make the most of your situation and not stress out.
One of the best lessons we can learn is we don’t have to have our way to be happy. If we can make up our minds to be happy whether our plans work out or don’t work out, we will have much happier and healthier lives. We’ve got to decide we are going to enjoy each day no matter what happens – flat tire, traffic, didn’t get that promotion, something changed my plans, someone didn’t come through with a promise, etc. If you have this attitude, the things that stressed you will not be a source of frustration any more. You don’t have to have your way to be happy. Don’t pout. Don’t stress. You can have your way next time.
Life is too short to live it stressed out. Stress, over time, will damage your health. Don’t die early because of traffic. Don’t live with knots in your stomach because some person is not doing what you want them to do. It’s not worth it. Be more flexible than that. We need to learn and develop a more easy-going attitude.
Think about this: ten years from now most, if not all, things you are allowing to stress you will not matter. Many of them will not matter tomorrow, but ten years from now, you won’t remember the fact you got upset with that person who cut you off in traffic. It simply won’t matter then. That means it really doesn’t matter now.
People are different. We each have different personalities, so we handle stress in different ways. My personality type is extraverted. That means I show my feelings externally. When I laugh, I laugh loudly. Everyone knows I am laughing. It’s the same when I’m upset. I show it outwardly and everyone knows I’m upset. I don’t always want people to see, but it’s difficult for an extraverted person to hide feelings. I’m very goal oriented. I have specific things I want to accomplish every single day and if something interrupts my plans it upsets me and could stress me. I had to learn it’s not the end of the world when my plans are altered. There’s tomorrow and I’ve learned if I handle it correctly, God will help me make it up easily. A good thing about my personality type is I’m over things quickly, so I don’t internalize much. I do pretty good at going with the flow after the first fifteen minutes, but I had to learn those fifteen minutes were killing me.
I enjoy getting up early in the mornings to pray, study and prepare our lessons. I don’t want anything to bother me from about 7 am until about noon. I want to focus, but usually that’s impossible. Every day something interrupts me. I get phone calls, need to go to meetings, appointments, people stopping by, etc. It used to stress me out. I didn’t feel I was accomplishing my goal. I would get so upset because my phone rang or someone knocked on my door. The truth is, I handled it all wrong. I should have gone with the flow and realized God was in control. I have to remind myself every day to go with the flow.
Sunday mornings are great opportunities for me to stress, especially when we encountered obstacles. I had a great opportunity last week to stress when three air conditioners went out, but I thought I handled that pretty well. Of course, I knew this week, I was beginning this series (kidding). My face used to dry out badly and even get red like a rash especially between my eyebrows and under my eyes. I found that when a person stresses, one of the first signs is the skin. Think about this. We sweat. Nerves stitch. Hair turns grey or turns lose. Skin will rash. What is happening is we weep through our skin. The body is trying to force out the stress junk on the inside. The Garden of Gethsemane was the most stressful moment of Jesus’ life. He was about to be arrested, convicted, beaten, and crucified. Jesus tried his best to hold his stress in, but it came out.
Luke 22:44 And being IN ANGUISH, he prayed more earnestly, and HIS SWEAT WAS LIKE DROPS OF BLOOD falling to the ground.
Even Jesus had to deal with stress. Our bodies pay a huge price when we stress and worry. When things do not go according to the way we want, we must stop, collect ourselves, pray more earnestly, and make the decision this is not going to mess up my day, steal my joy, or damage my body.
Some of you are doing exactly what I used to do. When things don’t go your way, your blood pressure goes up, your stomach messes up, you get a migraine. You get irritable making everyone else upset and stressed. Remember, because something has the ability to cause stress doesn’t mean it has to cause you stress. Remind yourself…
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
It doesn’t say “all things are good.” It means when our heart is to please God, God himself will take what appears negative and work it for our good. Sometimes we don’t know why things happen, but there is one thing we should know. Whatever happens, if we handle it correctly, God will work it out for good.
Judy was on a trip once with some other women. When leaving, some of the women were a little late getting ready. Some of the other women got a little stressed, but on their way back, the interstate was shut down. A large storm hit just ahead of them with high winds causing several crashes. Cars were off the Interstate, spun around and people injured. They realized they would have been in the middle of that storm and possibly injured had they left on time. If you will learn to trust God and go with the flow, God himself will make all things work out for you.
I want to challenge you. When your plans don’t work out, don’t get negative and sour. It could well be God protecting you from something down the road (literally). God always knows what’s best for us. Make a decision today to stop allowing inconveniences to stress you out and steal your joy. Do your BEST and trust God to take care of the REST.
The Apostle Paul was told, by the Lord, he would stand before Caesar (Act 27:24). He was placed on a ship to be taken to Rome, but the ship ran into a hurricane. Days went by when they could not see the sun or moon. The ship ran aground and broke up. They swam to shore on some remote island in the middle of nowhere. Paul could have become stressed, but instead his attitude was “no big deal. God’s in control. As long as my heart is to please God, he will take care of me and get me to where I need to be.” On that island, Paul gathered sticks for a fire. As he threw the sticks on the fire, a poisonous snake bit him. The snake was hanging on his hand. Everyone said, “He’s done. He will swell up and die,” but Paul shook it off and kept going with the flow. When Paul didn’t die, they thought he was a god and Paul got to explain to them who God was. He began praying for all the people and God had a mighty move on that remote island of Malta. The point is God used what seemed an interruption to save and heal people. That’s what we need to begin looking for. When things don’t go our way, instead of getting stressed, we need to look around. We need to ask, “Ok Lord, what is it we are doing here? What do you want me to do?” Usually, that’s the farthest thing from our minds. We get so stressed, we miss God.
I was working on my boat trailer a while back. I ordered a part, but when it came in, the holes didn’t line up in the brackets. I was a little aggravated, but decided not to let it get to me. I took the brackets to be re-drilled. The owner of the business and his son knew me. I was able to talk with and pray with one of them about a marital issue his friend was experiencing. Later, the other began asking me questions about the Bible and I was able to share God’s love, God’s plan, and God’s kingdom with him. I realized, God allowed my “interruption” to minister to some people. They both thanked me for talking to them and you know what? They didn’t charge me anything to do the work.
It rarely fails. If I will keep the correct attitude, trust God, and go with the flow, I find that God’s in the middle of the things that stress me and already worked out something for me. When you have the opportunity to stress, don’t give into the temptation. Instead, FIND JOY.
(NLT) Psalm 119:143-144 AS PRESSURE AND STRESS BEAR DOWN ON ME, I FIND JOY in your commands. Your DECREES are always fair; HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND them, THAT I MAY LIVE.
Stress will bear down on you. Its desire is to take you out. However, you can FIND JOY. There are times you must FIND joy and stressful times are one of those times. God will help you understand and instead of stress killing you, you will live. Stop, step back, compose, make the decision, relax and go with the flow.
Proverbs 14:30 A RELAXED ATTITUDE LENGTHENS LIFE; jealousy rots it away.
If you want to have an abundant life, learn to live more stress free. Trust God. He is probably up to something. Be adjustable and flexible. You don’t have to have your way to be happy. You cannot control everything, but you can control your attitude.
I want to challenge you today to make a decision to enjoy every day no matter if you get your way or not. Make a decision you are going to be happy no matter what slow driver gets in front of you tomorrow, even if the waitress takes 30 minutes too long bringing your order, even if you have to wait in that long line. Ten years from now, none of that will matter. It’s not worth having a heart attack. Some of you don’t even remember how it feels to be at peace and relaxed. If you don’t make a decision to change, many times your body will force you to change. Make a decision. The next time you have the opportunity to be stressed relax instead and go with the flow.
Ask you one closing question. If you found out today you only had one month to live, how many of the things that stress you out today would you even give a thought? Let’s pray.
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