THANKSGIVING God’s Strategy for Reducing Stress
Ever run across a can that said, “Warning: Contents under Pressure.” I thought that should be a warning label on some people that I’ve met. We meet a lot of stressed out people. There have been times in my life when it describes me. Did you know that the stress level goes up significantly during the holiday season?
“May you always be joyful in your life in the Lord.” Philippians 4:4 (GN)
Is that possible? Is it possible to always have joy, no matter what the circumstance? Yes it is.
How can we survive seasonal stress?
1. STEP ONE: STOP WORRYING
Philippians 4:6a (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
That’s usually easier said than done.
Facts about worry: Dr. Walter Calvert did a study and discovered that -
40% of your worries never happen.
30% of your worries concern the past.
So far 70% of your worries are useless.
12% of your worries are needless health concerns.
10% of your worries are insignificant and petty issues.
So, according to all this, only 8% of your worries are actual, legitimate concerns.
According to this recent study 92% of all the stuff that we worry about, stress out about, bite our nails over, pull our hair out over, get new wrinkles over, lose sleep over – either aren’t real or significant enough to worry about! In other words: Don’t open your umbrella until it starts raining.
2. STEP TWO: PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING.
Philippians 4:6:b“…“When you pray, tell God every detail of your life.”
You say, “I don’t have time to pray.” Let me ask you a question: Do you make time to worry?
1 Peter 5:7 (JB) “Unload all your worries on Him since He is looking after you.”
I like that translation – “unload.” Ever tell someone: “man, that person just unloaded on me.”
The difference between God and man is He doesn’t mind, He can handle it, as a matter of fact He tells us to unload on Him. Unload what? Your burdens, cares, concerns, worries!
1 Peter 5:7 (Phillips translation) “You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon Him for you are His personal concern.”
3. THIRD STEP: THANK GOD.
Philippians 4:6b “When you pray, pray with thanksgiving.” (GN): “Always asking Him with a thankful heart.”
FACT: The healthiest human emotion is not love but gratitude.
It actually increases your immunities. It makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness. It’s the healthiest emotion.
People who are grateful are happy. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied and nothing ever seems good enough.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you…
Notice it does not say “Give thanks for every circumstance.” It says give thanks in every circumstance.
In every circumstance, no matter how bad it is, you can give thanks to God because:
(a) I know He has a purpose bigger than the problem.
(b) He’ll give me the power to overcome the problem, and
(c) I’ll grow through the experience if I see beyond it.
This month we’re celebrating Thanksgiving. Why do we do that? Because thanks and giving go together. The way we express thanks is by giving. And the most giving people are the most thankful people.