We all have bad days. Some worse than others. But there is nothing worse than having a problem resting on your shoulders, making you worry, stressing you out. You lie awake a night wondering what you should do. Sometimes stress and anxiety may been seen as something that you don’t discuss with faith, maybe you even feel embarrassed that you are stressed. In this post we are going to look at what Christianity has to say about Stress and anxiety.
But first lets define stress and look at some statistics. Stress as defined by Anxiety UK:
The word stress is usually used to describe the feelings that people experience when the demands made on them are greater than their ability to cope. At such times people can often feel overloaded, under tremendous pressure and very tense or emotional. Stress affects everyone, young and old.
Here are some statistics on Stress and Anxiety taken from http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/anxiety/anxiety/anxiety-facts-and-statistics.html
- Anxiety affects around 16% of the population at any one time.
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (see Types of Anxiety) affects 2-5% of people but accounts for 30% of the mental health problems in people seen by GPs (Source: Department of Work and Pensions).
- In our Uncovered report we found that 67% of the British population state that money worries cause them anxiety.
- 34% of the UK population agreed that they use alcohol for this purpose. Broken down, this relates to 37% of men and 30% of women admitting that they are likely to turn to alcohol to cope with low mood, anxiety or depression.
So as we can see from the statistics that stress and anxiety are a big issue in a busy modern day way of living. We have family commitments, work takes up more and more of our time and with the frailty of our economic system, we have financial concerns on top of that.
the world would say go on holiday, have a break go for a spa weekend. But at the end of the holiday and the spa, the financial worries are still there, the only thing that has happened is that you have been distracted from them.
So what does Christianity have to say to stress.
First off God takes stress seriously. Secondly if you are suffering from stress you are not sinning, it is not a sin to be stressed. Finally God is not ashamed of you and he hasn’t turned his back on you. With this in mind lets see what the gracious loving God of the Bible has to say about stress.
Stress is never mentioned by name in the Bible, but the effects of anxiety are. Jesus talks about it. The worries that lead to stress, the worries which keep you up at night. Jesus says:
Matthew 6:34 (ESV)
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Jesus says here that you should expect to have anxieties, that we will encounter them. That we should not trouble ourselves with more than we can handle. We tend to in our busy lives try to solve all our problems in one day. Because of this self induced pressure with unrealistic personal deadlines.
Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.
So you may be thinking well what can God do?
Clearly nothing, apart from telling us not to worry.
Well not quite. Jesus also says:
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
28 Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
This may leave you confused, especially as a believer struggling with stress, you may be thinking “I believe, why is my burden still there?” But I ask you the question, have you given your worries to God? Have you trusted that Jesus will deal with it? This is a difficult thing to do. But worthwhile. On the road to becoming more Christ-like, we want to do what Christ did and give your problems over to God. Jesus prays continually for guidance and intervention from The Father. If Jesus did, why cant we? Is your problem to big for God to handle? Give it over to God to trust that he will equip you to get through the problem and that he will take the stress away.
Giving your problems over to God may not immediately solve your problems and worries. What then do you do as you are lay in bed at night awake?
Focus on our great hope.
Having given your problem over to God, think of the future hope that you have through Christ.
Revelation 21:3-4 (ESV)
3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
The great hope that we have in Christ is that all of the worries that you have now. All the problems, financial, emotional, family. All those problems will be gone. No more tears shed. No more pain.
There is hope in Christ.
In these uncertain times, of worry and stress. Take comfort in Christ. Take comfort in the hope.
I do hope this helped.
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