You finally turn in that paper you’ve been agonizing over for weeks, you’ve crossed off your last to-do item on your mile-long checklist, and maybe you’ve finally found the courage to have that hard conversation with a friend you’ve been avoiding. You breathe deeply and promise yourself that you’re done with being stressed. Even more than that—you’re ready for a stress-free life.
Trust me, I’ve been there. My life is often a series of stress cycles—worrying over one thing just in time to panic over the next obstacle life throws at me. Then, I start stressing about my stress—vowing to kick it to the curb completely. Only, inevitably, life happens again, and then I’m right back where I started. But what if that struggle didn’t have to be our story? What if there’s something better—and less stressful—than a stress-free life?
Now, let’s get things straight. There’s no magic formula to erase stress forever. Stress is an emotional, sometimes panicked response to situations your brain views as threatening. And that can actually be a good thing, because it can keep you from danger, motivate you to make a better decision, or help you make a necessary change. But when stress starts taking the reins of our lives—that’s when we’ve got a problem.
So, maybe we shouldn’t ask how to stop stressing out. Ask a better question: How can we reframe the way we interpret and deal with stress? Too often, we can view stress as something we just have to deal with, but Jesus actually offers us freedom from stress through His peace. Here are three things that will help guide your reaction to stress.
- Don’t let stress run your life. Allow healthy stress to guide your decisions, but don’t allow stress to cloud your judgment. Ask God to give you clarity about whether your stress is causing you to miss out on opportunities He is giving you.
- Release control. Nothing feeds stress like control. Jesus offers us freedom from heavy burdens. But here’s the catch—we’ve got to come to Him. Go before God and lay your stress down. The cost is control, but the reward is freedom, peace, and rest.
- Ask for wisdom. Ask God if there’s anything your stress can teach you about the way you’ve been operating lately. Are there situations you need to stop handling on your own? Have you overcommitted yourself? Ask God to gently correct you, guide you, and redirect you to the heart of your stress, then ask Him to replace your stress with His strength.
Maybe the goal isn’t a stress-free life—because we’re all humans after all—but rather a life that learns from and lives with stress successfully. As you continue to reframe your perspective about stress, read and learn from some of the Bible verses I used when writing this post that helped me find freedom.