Why stress over things we can not change?


The believer’s self-life is composed of the habits, attitudes, and relationships he or she is unwilling to surrender. Keeping those things from the Lord gives us a sense of independence—highly prized in our current culture. However, by following the “self,” we interfere with God’s purpose. He wants every aspect of our lives to be submitted to His will.

Jonah mistook rebellion for freedom. The fourth chapter of his story paints a vivid picture of the prophet sweltering in the sun—and in the heat of his hatred. His blood boiled when God showed mercy to the Ninevites. In chapter 4 verse 9 he rants “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” God had used him to save more than 120,000 souls, but Jonah was angry because he desired their destruction.

Freedom is not the same as autonomy. Walking in full obedience to the Lord is the only true liberty. Jonah obeyed with his body but not with his heart. And his bitterness shows that stubbornly clinging to our self-life is a snare for the spirit. Unhealthy routines, like thick weeds in our paths, prevent us from moving forward. So God is determined to break us loose from any hindrance.

When we try to do everything in our own strength and leave God out of the equation, we just get worn-out and frustrated by our mistakes and failures. But when we lean on God, we actually enter into His rest and can enjoy our lives, no matter what our circumstances may be.

God wants us to enjoy our everyday lives. John 10:10 (AMP) says that Jesus died for us so we “may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”. But it seems so many people who say they believe in Jesus are not really enjoying their lives. It’s tragic to think that Jesus paid the price for our sins, that He suffered to make that sacrifice, and yet there are Christians who are struggling just to get by and make it through each day.

I came to discover that the stress in life is caused by the way we approach our circumstances and the attitude we have toward them. It will literary be a turning point for you the day you realize that the world will probably never change, but you could learn how to change the way you go about handling situations that are challenging.

It is paramount to know that as believers in Christ, we are partners with God—we have a part and He has a part in everything He calls us to do. When we try to do His part instead of ours, that’s when we live stressed-out with worry, fear, anxiety, frustration, no peace and no joy.

The reason this happens sometimes is because we think God needs our help. We meditate on the problem—rolling it over and over in our mind, worrying, trying to figure out how things should work out. It’s like we’re telling God, “I kind of think you need my help, and I’m not sure you can take care of this situation, Lord.”

We need to realize that worrying is useless! It’s like sitting in a rocking chair, rocking all day, wearing yourself out and getting nowhere. Trusting God means we give up worrying, reasoning, and anxiety and we enter into His rest with simple childlike faith—we live by grace through faith!

So, just as Jonah resisted the Lord’s every attempt to crack his pride, believers have the right to choose self over submission, but the cost is high. We may steep in emotional turmoil like the prophet. Or God might deny us opportunities. Whatever the consequences, one thing is certain: Autonomy will cause us to miss the blessing of intimacy with the Lord—and nothing is worth that.

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.