How do we deal with the stressful times in our lives? The 23rd Psalm can help us.
Let God be your Source.-“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not be in want.”
Not only has God promised to supply our needs, but He is the One we can look to for affirmation. Nothing has ever been purchased at a higher price than you were. Jesus died for you. When God has attached that kind of value on your life, that kind of price on you and your potential, don’t look to anyone else to give you an estimate on what you’re worth. Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I lack no affirmation and need no other voice to approve of me.
Submit to God’s rest.-“He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.”
When we are tired, life’s challenges and our inabilities are magnified. Fatigue will add stress to our lives that won’t be profitable to us in any way. If you need to unload stress, you need to get some more sleep and some more time for relaxation and “down time.” God made us to work and to be fruitful, but He also created us with a need for rest. He has rest to give.
Give God total control-“He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
In Proverbs 3:5-6 we’re told, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Doesn’t it just take your blood pressure down to think that you can relinquish control to Someone who is better at being in charge than you are? It’s not difficult to make a convincing argument that God ought to be the One guiding.
Refuse Fear “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
Faith isn’t the absence of fear, but it is trust that even though we are afraid and things look bad or impossible, we believe God will prevail and we will do what God asks of us despite how we feel about it.
Receive God’s Comfort- “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
A shepherd’s rod was a weapon that a shepherd would use to kill attacking beasts. It is a symbol of protection. The Lord is going to protect us as we move through this life as long as we are in His care. If we are straying away into other pastures, we won’t be near His rod and staff. If you want to eliminate the stress in your life, move closer to the Shepherd.
Relax Securely-“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
I love the picture the Psalmist paints here of a meal being prepared for us, of our head being anointed with oil and our lives being blessed to overflowing. I love sitting down to a prepared table. Anytime something is prepared for me, I love it. I feel so pampered. It doesn’t matter what is on the menu. If someone else prepares it, I can relax. The picture here is of a feast. God wants to spoil us. He wants to pamper us. He goes to some effort to create something special for us and while He is serving us whatever He has prepared with one hand, He is beating off our enemies with His rod with the other hand. What a mighty God we serve!
Having your head anointed with oil was a custom reserved for special guests back in that day and time. Perfumed oil was poured on the head of special and distinguished guests. Can you entertain the thought this morning that God wants to host you, spoil you, and nourish you?
7. Rejoice in what is following you and in what awaits you- “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
One way final to let go of stress is to speak out God’s blessings with confidence. When you get up in the morning, it wouldn’t hurt you one bit to look in the mirror and say to yourself, “You are blessed and highly favored. You are the daughter or son of a King and good things from God’s hand are following you around.” Do you realize you don’t have to wait until you reach heaven to experience God’s blessings? God wants to bless you right now. And because I know that I can reduce my stress by walking with Him, I will stay in communion with Him every day of my life. And what is better than to know that Heaven awaits?