The problem with worry and stress
Have you noticed that as Americans, we seem to be more stressed, and more anxious than ever? It seems that every magazine I read has an article on dealing with stress and worry. Television talk shows overflow with one "expert" after another bringing their own "cure" for worry and stress. Why are we so stressed? We have more money, more comforts, more stuff, and a more secure lifestyle than any other nation on the planet. So what's up with this?
I'm no psychologist (thank the Lord), nor have I done much in depth research on stress and anxiety, but it seems to me that the more we get our minds off God and on the world and its stuff, the more stressed we are. Pastors are not immune. In fact, one article that I recently read cited stress and worry as the number one reason Pastors leave the ministry. Believe me, anyone who thinks that pastoring is easy and worry free has never been called on the carpet in a deacon meeting or blessed out by the sweet little matriarch of the local congregation. Satan is a master at having disgruntled members meet the pastor at the door of his office just as he going to Sunday morning worship. It is hard to preach when with an angry or stressed out spirit!
So, what's the answer? Paul tells us to be anxious about nothing, but in everything make our petitions known to God. Forget the magazine articles and the pop-psychology of this unbelieving age. Prayer alleviates stress! It is amazing how much peace and calmness there is to be found in quiet moments with God. Prayer is so effective in battling stress because it takes our mind of the temporary and trivial and places it on the eternal and significant. We cannot pray without our minds and hearts being drawn to God. Isaiah tells us that those whose hearts are set on God will kept in perfect peace. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed and stressed out - stop and spend some time in prayer!