The American Stress Institute reports that 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Thirty-three percent of people feel they are living with extreme stress, and 48% feel their stress has increased during the past five years.
This probably isn’t a shock to you. Stress seems to be an unfortunate epidemic in our society today, and many times it leads us straight down the path of depression. But though we deal with many reasons to be stressed on the daily, God gives us a way out. His blessing always comes to those who choose His peace over panic.
In John 16:33, Jesus tells us that we will have reasons to stress. He says, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”
We can overcome stress by recognizing and remembering the sovereignty of our Father. But we do have a part to play. Stress will come or go based on our decisions. God gives us the answer to choosing to combat stress and depression in Psalm 62:8-10.
The first part is that we can combat stress and depression by obeying God with our time. Verse 8 says, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
God gives us priorities in Scripture that He wants us to follow. When we prioritize things like Bible reading, church, prayer and building godly relationships, we keep stress at bay. Also, when we don’t live distracted but intentional, God honors us. Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Verse 9 gives us the second key when it says, “Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.” We will avoid stress when we obey God with our relationships – when we allow God to direct us to those He wants us in relationship with, and when we prioritize those relationships well. God first, then spouse, kids and then extended family and friends.
Finally, Verse 10 shows us that to leave stress behind, we must obey God with our money. It says, “Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” God has a plan for us to handle money wisely, and if we follow it, not only will we see an increase of blessing, but we will also see a decrease of stress.
The truth is that so many of our problems are created because we have limited understanding of God’s goodness and His sovereignty. Let’s trust Him with our time, relationships, and money, and watch the good that He will do!