Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Well, I sure Didn’t Expect That!

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How do you react when the unexpected hits? I’m not talking about finding a million dollars unexpectedly. I’m talking about finding out you have cancer. Finding out you or your spouse have lost their job. Finding out your power bill tripled, but is still due in full on the 1st. Finding out your child won’t advance to the next grade in school. Finding out your friend is cheating on their spouse..with your spouse. Going to start your car in the morning on the way to a job interview, and it’s dead. Finding out your child used the internet on their cell phone 24/7 in the last billing period and went over the data allotment by a landslide, leaving you with an outrageous bill to pay.

What do you do?

Do you call everyone you know? Do you post it on Facebook or Twitter immediately? Do scream and throw a fit? Do you punch a wall?

Or do you stop dead in your tracks, look up, and say, “Lord, help me.”

“Lord, I know You have a plan to turn even this for good.”

“Daddy, I’m in big trouble. I’m scared. I’m feeling very alone. But I know You’re here, and that You won’t leave Me. I believe You will make a way where there seems to be no way. I know that with You by my side, all of my battles are already won. And so, I will leave this situation at your feet, and continue to strive for the upcoming victory.”

It’s easy, when the unexpected slaps you upside the head, to deal with it in the flesh. I know, I’ve done it frequently!

But, does dealing with it in the flesh solve anything?

Does complaining to your friends, and posting sympathy inducing status updates on your social media feeds help anything? Is the problem solved now? Do you have peace now? I’m thinking not. Why?

Because you can’t find peace when you’re constantly focusing on, and elevating, the problem. Peace doesn’t exist in the flesh, it exists in the spirit.

Peace comes when we give our cares to Him. (Matthew 6:25-34)

So today, make a conscious decision: When the unexpected hits, I will look UP instead of out/down. I will call on His mighty name, instead of screaming my woes to the masses.

Let me say, also, there’s nothing wrong with sending out a request for prayer to friends. I’m not saying there is. But notice the difference in the two following prayers requests..

1. “PLEASE PRAY FOR ME! Stephen found out today (on payday no less!!) that he’s lost his job, then the vet called saying that the dog needs surgery and it “can’t wait”, the car is on “E”, so now I have to WALK to pick up my kids from school (how embarrassing is that?!), because the bank account is empty and I can’t fill the car up..AND, here’s the kicker, I have no food in the cupboards!! I don’t know what we are going to do. I don’t know why God is doing this, we’ve been faithful tithers, we are good people, we help others! I thought He wasn’t supposed to give us anything more than we could handle! Well, HELLO, I CAN’T HANDLE THIS!! Life sucks.”

2. “Friends and family, I’m writing to ask that you please keep our family in your prayers. We are fighting towards victory in a few situations, and would appreciate the “back up” of your prayers. Thanks so much! We look forward to sharing the praise report with you! As always, we will continue to lift you up in prayer as well. God is GOOD – ALL the time!”

Notice the difference? One screams of panic and drama. The other speaks softly, but directly, with power and belief for a better day to come. One says my God isn’t big enough. The other says my God is good, and my victory draweth nigh!”

One says, I choose to worship Satan in this affliction. The other says, I choose to worship my Savior God in this situation.

Choose wisely today, my friends! He loves you dearly. Give Him center stage. He deserves it. And He won’t disappoint. Life gets hard, just as He promised it would. But your story doesn’t end here. These earthly troubles will pass away. Your destiny involves dancing on streets of gold!

You are blessed! Focus on the victory, not the trial. In doing that, you give God the glory! My love to all of you as we continue on this journey to growth together! It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it!

– Sarah

Tired but Soaring

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*photo credit: http://www.godlivesandloves.tumbler.com/page/7

I found this devotional so comforting, especially right now. I’m tired. Physically and emotionally. But my spirit is soaring. And that’s because I know that I’m not alone. That no matter what the world brings, as long as I’m with Him, I will soar on wings like eagles.

Do you know that? That you’re never alone? That He’s always there with you? Ready to hold you through the night? He is. Always.

You are blessed,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Are You Tired Lately?
By Tiffany @ www.teawithtiffany.com/

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently.

Everyone I talk to is tired. Tired of daily stress. Tired of busyness. Tired of summer heat. Tired of financial or health problems. Tired of praying. Tired of their loved ones. And tired of even trying.

Last week, my college-aged son and his two friends were in a ugly car wreck. Their lives were spared by only a second or two. Wow, as a mom that was hard to see. Thank God, they are not hurt. Anyway as I stood nearby the accident, one of the moms said, “I’m just so tired,” And as tears fell from her eyes, she repeated, “I’m just so tired.”

I understand because I’m tired too.

Lately I’ve thought things like, why bother and who cares. I’ve even considered about giving up on my dreams and running away from my responsibilities. You name it, I’ve thought it. I know this isn’t faith-filled thinking. More like destruction waiting to happen.

So how can we keep the faith when we are beyond tired, when weariness hits hard?

I think I found a clue as I reread a chapter in Isaiah. It’s chapter 4o, which is subtitled, “Comfort for God’s People.”

Who doesn’t need a little more comfort these days?

I know I do.

I won’t post the whole chapter here, but I will share the last several verses for your encouragement.

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Did you notice our God never grows tired or weary?

What comfort.

These verses also remind me that I cannot find new strength on my own or in anything. But I can renew my strength by hoping again. And not just any hope, but hope in the Lord. What a relief because hoping in Tiffany isn’t working.

Feeling hopeless is dangerous territory.

So today I’m focused on hope again.

Everlasting God, I’m comforted by reading that You never tire or grow weary. Please renew my strength as I once again place my hope in You. In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Thankful and feeling a little less tired,
Tiffany from Tea with Tiffany

Cancel the Pity Party

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The pity party is on my nerve. I think it’s high time we all stop complaining, and start giving praise.

Yes, life gets hard.

But who do you serve?

If you serve The Lord God Almighty, you have reason to praise in every situation. He’s a GOOD God, and will turn every evil thing into good for those who love Him. That’s a great reason to praise! He didn’t bring your hard times, the devil did! Personal choices may have even played a roll. But He is not to blame. He desires good for you. His plans for you are good, and not involving destruction! So stop feeling sorry, and start praisin Him!

It’s time to stop giving our attention to the enemy, and singing his filthy praises. Whenever we complain, we sing the enemy’s praises. YUCK! We’ve got to get out of constantly dwelling on ourselves and our trials, and instead get our eyes on helping others, and being a light in this world.

So, today, lets all commit to seeing how long we can go without complaining or thinking of ourselves. Maybe even keep a tally of how many times throughout the day we catch ourselves in “self pity”. Counteract those thoughts by instead doing something for someone else. For example, if you catch yourself feeling “so sorry” or “so upset” about something, counteract that feeling of pity by sending a note of encouragement to someone!

In other news, I won’t be able to post again until next week. So let me encourage you to enjoy this week to congratulate yourself when you notice growth, and don’t give up on yourself when you miss a step. Just keep on keepin on, brothers and sisters!

We’ll chat soon..

Sarah

————

Today’s devo selection:

Saying ‘No’ To Self-Pity
By: J.M. Farro

“The bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she (the virtuous woman) will not eat.” – Proverbs 31:27 AMP

I recently went through some difficulties that got me so discouraged that I found myself wrestling with feelings of self-pity. Years ago, I might have played some sad songs and cried my eyes out, deriving a sort of perverse satisfaction from my misery. But this time, I prayed and asked the Lord to help me resist these negative emotions. That’s when He reminded me about some teaching I heard years ago about self-pity. I once heard a godly man say, “God is concerned about your hurt, but He doesn’t want YOU concerned about it.” This man went on to say that the reason self-pity is so destructive is that pride is at the root of it, and it causes us to focus too much on ourselves. I looked “self-pity” up in the dictionary and found the following definition: “A self-indulgent dwelling on one’s own sorrows or misfortunes.”

Psychiatrists have an interesting name for people who habitually indulge in self-pity–it’s “injustice collector.” These are the folks who are constantly dwelling on their hurts and hardships – whether real or imagined – and they enjoy thinking about them and talking about them. They lovingly collect and number each and every offense that others commit against them, and they search out people who will sympathize with them and commiserate with them. All this keeps the focus on themselves, which is what they want most. But this isn’t God’s way. He instructs us to walk in the God-kind of love, which is “not self-seeking,” and which “keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV) This is not to say that we should ignore or deny when we’re being mistreated, but that we should take constructive action to see that we’re treated with proper respect, or remove ourselves from harm’s way, rather than sit idly by, feeling sorry for ourselves.

Self-pity isn’t just nonproductive – it’s destructive. It can lead to bitterness, unforgiveness, and resentment. It doesn’t bring people together – it divides them. And these are some of the reasons why Satan works so hard to get us to focus on our wounds, rather than the cure – which is the love and wisdom of God. Throughout the pages of the Bible, God tells us again and again that He wants us to bring our hurts and sorrows to Him, so that HE can comfort us. He not only wants to be our Comforter, but our Vindicator. (Psalm 135:14) If we’ll let Him, He will defend us and fight our battles for us, leading us to victory every time. He tells us in His Word: “I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering…” (Isaiah 61:8 NLT)

A good antidote for self-pity is forgiveness. As we forgive those who offend us, we can let go of our negative emotions and ill-feelings toward others, and we can receive the comfort and healing that can only come from God. Scripture says: “In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them. In His love and mercy, He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.” (Isaiah 63:9 NLT) God hurts when we hurt, and He wants to be our Deliverer. But we can block His efforts to comfort and rescue us when we insist on holding on to our feelings of resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness. As we choose to forgive, we open the door to God’s involvement, and all the blessings and provisions that entails. Another good antidote for self-pity is thankfulness. The Bible says: “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP) No matter what is going on in our lives, we always have reason to give thanks to God and praise Him. Nothing is more offensive to God than our dwelling on our misfortunes and losses, and neglecting to recognize and enumerate all of the blessings He bestows on us daily.

Helen Keller said, “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world.” We have been chosen by God, not just to live eternally with Him in heaven, but to make a difference for Him while we’re still here on earth. Let’s not allow self-pity to neutralize all the good we can do in this world in the name of Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord, please alert me whenever I begin to feel sorry for myself. Keep me from being overly-sensitive and self-absorbed, and teach me to bring all of my hurts and hardships straight to You. When I do, heal and comfort me the way that only You can. Give me the grace I need to forgive others quickly and thoroughly, and to praise You in all things. Thank You that as I resist self-pity in the power of Your Spirit, I will be rewarded by a gracious and grateful God!

Reeeellllllaaaaaaaaxxxxxx already! (Note to Self)

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It’s time to stop, relax, and look up! He’s right there, ready to calm your soul in the midst of the storm. Trust in Him to do so. He won’t let you down! But, there’s a catch…you have to let go of the stress in order to receive His peace. Are you willing?

Have a great weekend!

Love and blessings,

Sarah

—————

Today’s devo selection:

Relax!
by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Matthew 8:26-27 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Whew! What must the disciples have felt back then as they saw the waves crashing against their boat? They we’re being swayed from side to side in the deep dark sea. They were afraid for their lives! But our Lord was there all along. He just wanted them to trust.

So often we find ourselves in that same boat, don’t we? “Lord, are you there?! Don’t you see these waves about to consume me?!

But He does! He sees all, hears all, knows all. He is the same Lord that calmed that storm two thousand years ago and He can cause the winds and the seas, and the trials of our lives to become calm in an instant! Ahh, but it’s usually in the storms that He will display His awesome power!

Let’s renew our trust in the Lord today. God has great plans for those who will put their trust in Him.

No More White Knuckle Living!

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Freedom comes when we let go of the “safety bar” and let God do His job in and through us. You can trust Him with your future.

Have a great day!

Blessings,

Sarah

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Letting Go Of the Safety Bar!
http://www.seedsofthekingdom.com

A few months back I did something really brave that I haven’t done for years! I rode a roller-coaster! No, it wasn’t one of the kiddy ones at a fairground – this was a full-grown adult, scary version!

A friend of mine (who is a seasoned rollercoaster rider) ‘bullied’ me to go on it, with a good dose of friendly, harmless, peer pressure. Did I enjoy it? Not a chance! I hated every second of the 4 minutes that I sat with my eyes shut tight, hands gripped white to the safety bar, as we twisted and turned, upside down, dropping death-defying heights… to me it was sheer torture! My friend on the other hand sat giggling and laughing all the way through, her hands waving in the air – apparently she found the whole thing marvelously enjoyable! When they eventually let me off, my hands ached from gripping hold of the bar, my legs felt like jelly and for days after, every muscle in my body complained from the 4 minutes of extreme stress I had put it through!

I’m telling you this because the Lord has challenged me over the last few years, that for some of us this is how we live our lives with the Lord. We say we’re happy to let Him be in control and we walk the paths He sets for us, but we don’t fully surrender and rest in Him, knowing that He is Lord.

He longs for us to fully surrender to Him our cares, so that we can experience a peace that surpasses all else. A peace that comes from fully knowing He is in control and we don’t have to be. We don’t need to grip hold of the safety bar of life and prepare ourselves for the ‘inevitable crash’, because God’s path for us (wherever it leads) is secure. It takes practice though! Just like riding roller-coasters, with your hands raised in the air (going against your natural instinct to hang on tight), so we have to practice letting God be in control and learn to rest, secure in Him.

I would encourage you today to fully surrender to your Heavenly Father the cares and concerns in your life. Laying them down at the foot of His cross, hands off the safety bar, resting secure in the knowledge that the life God has for you is the very best and He is faithful.

Prayer: Father God, I’m sorry for the times that I have said you are Lord of my life – and yet in my heart I have failed to truly trust and surrender to you. Lord, I choose to surrender to you today – to your plans and your purposes for my life, knowing they are the very best for me. I take my hands off the safety bar and I rest back in you, and give you chance to prove yourself faithful once again in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stress..It’s Enough Already.

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It’s been a stressful week! My walk hasn’t quite met up with my talk. Do you ever go through that? Where the more you try to be positive, the worse you get? I’m thinking I’m not alone in this because, I’ve found scripture to back it up. That tells me my issue isn’t new on the scene!

Romans 7: 15 – I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.

Well, there’s also another scripture that works for my situation, and it says:

Romans 8:1 – So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Because of that scripture, I know that when I fail, and my attitude sucks, I am not to allow condemnation to seep into my veins, poisoning my being. Instead, I need to turn away from that attitude, choose joy, and walk in the freedom I’ve been given. Easier said than done? Sometimes, yes. But if it were easy, there would be no growth to be had. And I want to grow!

Another great scripture:

Lamentations 3:22-23 – It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.

So yesterday’s stress and failures are just that, yesterday’s. I will not allow them to poison my today. Today comes with fresh grace and mercy. I plan on immersing myself in it! You should do the same. 🙂

As you will see in the devo selection below, Jesus’ life is the perfect example of how to handle stress. Here’s to being more and more like Him every day.

Blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Dealing with Stress Like Jesus
Written by Patty Wysong

There is just no getting around stress, regardless of the time of life we’re in. We may think things will be easier at some point, but we only trade one stress for another. It’s never ending, but we have a great God who understands us!

How can we know that God understands us? Just look at Mark 3:5-22. Jesus had so many people following Him, and so many needing things from Him that He called for a small boat to keep from being crushed.

Have you felt like you were being crushed?

Everyone wanted a piece of Jesus, a touch of Jesus. Things were so crazy that He couldn’t even eat a meal. Sound familiar?

But that’s not all. Not only was He under crushing pressure from the people all around Him, but the church leaders had turned against Him. They were ready to do Him harm. Jesus knew well the pressure and stress that came from the religious sector—the church.

Multiply that by the stress Jesus must have felt because His family didn’t believe Him and they certainly didn’t support Him—they thought He was crazy. Family pressure magnifies everything—and Jesus was no stranger to it. You know the feeling, don’t you?

Jesus had a to-do list like no one else. His included dying on the cross for me and bearing the wrath of God. For me. Talk about a weight to carry. So much more than I could ever bear!

We’re told to ask “What would Jesus do?” and this is one of those times when we can see what He did and how He handled all the stress in His life.

Jesus had a place of solitude.

After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. ~Mark 6:46

The pressures of life have a way of bringing us down, but we can choose to go up and spend time with God in solitude with Him. We have somewhere we can go! The next time you feel like you’re not enough and don’t have enough, go up to the cross, go to God.

Jesus had a place to pray.

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. ~Luke 6:12

In Jesus’ life, days of power followed nights of prayer. The same can be true in our lives. He went to a solitary place to pray. Relieve stress and handle pressure with prayer.

Jesus had people to share His load.

And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons. ~Luke 3:14-15.

Jesus shared the burdens, and so can we. His chosen men came alongside Him in prayer and care and they shared His load. Carefully choose a few to share your burdens with so you can lift each other up in prayer. When we try to do it all by ourselves we set ourselves up to fall apart. It’s much better to “come apart” to God than to fall apart.

So when the stress is rising like a flash flood, remember how Jesus handled all the stress in His life. He had a place of solitude—a place of prayer—where He met with God the Father. He also had people who prayed with Him and for Him and helped Him shoulder His load that way.

*Sermon notes from a recent message by Pastor Mike Cash.
*All Scripture quoted from NASB.

Always on the Run!

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It’s been a crazy week, and it doesn’t look to be letting up anytime soon. I’m sure many of you can relate! But even in the crazy times, we can take a moment to pause and refocus our eyes on Him. Because with and in Him all things are possible. We can do anything with Him by our side. So as I get ready to run around like a chicken with my head cut off today, I’m gonna do it with a smile, knowing that I’m not doing any of it by myself. I have my Savior with me! I encourage you to do the same. I think if you do, you’ll notice you don’t mind fulfilling those pesky obligations nearly as much. 🙂

Blessings,

Sarah

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Are You Too Busy For God?
By Emily Riley

Most people know the importance of spending time with God. But in the midst of life, sometimes it’s just hard to find the time. Schedules fill up quickly, work consumes our thoughts at night, family and friends vie for our attention, and then there’s this thing called sleep. How do you fit it all in? What do you let “drop”? What do you do when you simply need 36 hours in a day instead of 24?

There can be many reasons and causes for our busy lives. But, no matter the season, no matter the busy schedule we have, God demands our worship. The sisters, Mary and Martha are a good example of this. Its easy for me to relate to Martha… busy with serving… busy with something good, but missing what was most important.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are) anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

I want to grow in that faith that Mary had… faith to rest and not be anxious. The wisdom to see what is most important. Faith to trust in God to provide and to be able to simply rest there.

Prayer: Father, Help us to look to you, no matter how busy our lives may be. Be our number one priority and help us to in faith, trust you to provide the needed strength for the other events of our day. You are all powerful and you care for us. Help that truth to increase our faith and trust in you. Forgive us for where we are anxious. Thank you for the reminder that if you care for the needs of the birds of the air, you care for us.

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