Are you struggling with managing stress?
Stress is a killer we feel we can’t escape. Our days include distressing situations of all kinds. But my question to you today is, how do you handle stress?
Many people try to escape their anxious feelings with medications, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, or anything that brings relief. But none are truly effective. The ultimate solution comes only from God. Thankfully, He has freely provided it to every one of His children.
I know this solution works because I have been through a quite challenging and stressful time in my life. I was trying to do things that were beyond my capacity, as a result, I got tired and run down. It was during this time that God taught me how to handle stress. The answer is not found in a bottle of pills, but in times of solitude with the Lord.Jesus at one time also experienced stress, but He knew exactly how to handle it.
On one occasion, after feeding a multitude of five thousand, Jesus sent His disciples away in a boat and went up on the mountain by Himself to pray as written in the gospel of Matthew chapter 14 verses 22 to 23. In fact, seeking solitude with His Father was Jesus’ customary practice, especially after dramatic situations. We also see this example in the Apostle Paul’s life. In the book of Galatians chapter 1 verses 17 we see that after he was dramatically saved, he headed for Arabia to seek solitude with God. Time spent alone in prayer with God is vital.
Spending time alone with the Lord sets us free from stress. This kind of isolation is different from loneliness. Solitude is a choice to be alone—to voluntarily separate ourselves from others. Loneliness is a painful inner emptiness that results from feeling disconnected from others. Loneliness involves a sense of not belonging.
The purpose of solitude is to privately commune with God. The goal is not to study the Bible or to bring our petitions and concerns to Him, but to simply be with the Lord. The chokehold of stress will be broken, and our tensions will subside. This doesn’t mean we’ll never experience stress again, but solitude teaches us how to deal with it in God’s way.
The Lord wants us to be alone with Him for two primary reasons, primarily for a relationship; As indicated in the book of Genesis chapter 1 verses 26, God created us in His image because He wanted to have a relationship with us for all eternity. In fact, God loved us so much that He was willing to send His Son to die for us in order to break down the barrier which sin created. Yet despite all this, many Christians don’t have time for Him. But we won’t be able to relate to the Lord if our minds are preoccupied, and our schedules are full. Solitude is the only way this intimate relationship with our Creator becomes a reality.
Secondly, for preparation; solitude is also God’s way of preparing us for the day ahead. That’s why we should begin every morning with time alone with Him. Although reading the Word and spending time in prayer are very important, the primary purpose of solitude is to experience God’s presence. He wants to be alone with us because that’s when He’s able to reveal Himself so we can know Him intimately and feel a sense of belonging.
How do you handle stress in your life? Well, as you still think about your response to this question, I have a tip for you. Try as much as you can to eliminate distractions in your life. To prevent our minds from drifting, we should find a quiet place that is free from distractions. The goal is to be still and quiet so we can give the Lord our undivided attention. Then, as we enjoy sweet fellowship with Him, all our worries, fears, and stress will drain away. And we’ll be left strengthened to handle whatever comes.
The author is a graduate student of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, a Communications Specialist, and a preacher of the Word of God.