By Jill Briscoe
At one time or another all of us experience stress. A practical formula I have used to handle stress is:
Stop – even if it causes you more stress than keeping going!
Think – through your stress-inducing ‘to do’ list. When can you take time out with God? Mark it on your calendar. Make it soon. Keep your appointment – 15 minutes will do.
Reflect – when you make it into your still point – reflect on something peaceful, something pleasurable, something poignant, or something precious. Read Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Philippians 4:4,6,7 “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness and everything working together for good will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Empty – your stress box of other people’s expectations – then – refill it with expectations of God’s company, compassion, and calm.
Sing – a soul song or a calm quiet favorite hymn. Make it a prayer. A favorite hymn of mine is:
“Drop thy still dew of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.”
Smile – at God, yourself, and others (you can do this in your mind). Then smile at your stress (stress hates being smiled at) and go out in His strength to tackle the rest of the day!
Formulas can help, but only if they restore your focus. Make sure you are ‘full of the spirit,’ fixed on God's Word, and focused on the Father. That will make the old stress Grinch run squealing away.