Finding a Stress Reducer

Is there a stress reducer — a magic pill that will make stress just disappear? Is there something I can do to eliminate stress altogether? There are three stress reducers that, if properly developed, can enable a person to nearly eliminate the experience of stress.

When we considered the causes of stress we suggested that stress occurs from the inside rather than the outside; it is an inner reaction to outer stimuli. In fact, we suggested that stress can be attributed to deficiencies in a person's relationship with God. Specifically, they are:
    • Lack of confidence
    • Lack of a goal
    • Lack of security
This is not to say that, if you are stressed, God is not important to you. It simply means that there is a deeper knowledge and fellowship with God that you can experience. Here's the good news: there is a stress reducer for each of these causes of stress.

Stress Reducer #1

When we face familiar situations we rarely become stressed. There are, however, many "unknowns", and even "unknowables" in life, and when we face these we can easily become stressed. When things in our work or family are sailing smoothly along, we are generally free from stress. But stress can arise when we must start a new job or face a family crisis. We need confidence in something, or someone, that is dependable.

We can employ the stress reducer faith when we face the unknowns and unknowables of life. And we're not referring simply to a generic faith, as in "keep the faith, baby." Nor are we referring to the popular "faith in yourself." We're talking about a faith in God that comes from a knowledge of, and relationship with, God. If we will take the time and make the effort to develop a deep and intimate relationship with God, we will possess a very effective stress reducer when we face the unknowns in our day-to-day lives. Confident faith in God's provision and protection is nothing more than simply depending on him.

Stress Reducer #2

Few people would get stressed out about the past, but many people get stressed about the future. And not just because it's unknown, but rather because it's out of our control. We need to know that there will be a future for us, and that it will be positive — something we can look forward to and not fear. With all of the disappointments that come in life, we need something that will assure us that our future is certain as well as favorable. We need to be able to work toward a goal that is real and valuable.

Hope is another great stress reducer. And we're talking about hope in where we're going, as well as assurance of some control over how we'll arrive. And again, a relationship with God and a confident trust in the truthfulness of his promises are the necessary foundation for this kind of hope. In the Bible we read the promises of God assuring us, that through faith in Jesus Christ we can enjoy the sure hope of eternity in God's presence. And, in addition, there are promised to those who are faithful, regardless of the cost, even greater joy and benefits in God's presence.

Stress Reducer #3

Treasured moments in the company of those who love us unconditionally are far from stressful. But when we must deal with people who are competing with us for love and attention, we can easily feel the stress that accompanies insecurity. It is my observation that we all struggle with insecurity to one degree or another. Often those who are the most focused upon gaining the acceptance of others are those who are suffering from the greatest feelings of insecurity. Feeling insecure in any relationship can lead to stress.

Since we cannot exit from every relationship, we need to know how to feel secure even when we don't feel loved or appreciated. Love is a great stress reducer. And by this I mean the feeling of confidence we enjoy when we know we are loved. If the most important person our lives has communicated and demonstrated that he unconditionally loves us, we can learn to feel secure no matter how anyone else may treat us. Here is God's assurance of love for his children:
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

A Stress Free Life — Is it Possible?

The words of the Bible exhort us not to fear and not to worry. But to simply tell yourself to stop feeling these things is a useless endeavor. Victory over these stress responses can only come from a genuine relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. And even for those who have believed in Jesus as Savior, this is not automatic. If you want to adopt the attitudes of God toward the unknowns, the future, and interpersonal relationships, you need to spend time fellowshiping ("hanging out") with God.

If you're looking for a stress eraser or a stress reducer, here's good news: God wants to show you how. He wants to fill you with faith to overcome the stress that comes from lack of confidence. He wants to give you hope to overcome the stress that comes from living without a future that is sure or a goal that is worthwhile. And he wants to assure you of his love to relieve you of the stress that comes from the insecurity and hurts that we have all experienced in human relationships.

If the concept of a stress reducer like one of these — or all of them, for that matter — sounds a little out of reach to you, may I invite you to consider what faith in Jesus Christ is all about?