The Antidote to Stress - Peace & Contentment
Most fitness plans never address the adverse effects of stress. Some studies state that as many as 75% of all doctor visits are really because of stress. Stress doesn’t only effect you emotionally, it also effects you physically. Too much stress can cause depression, heart problems, difficulty sleeping, stomach issues and so much more.
You will never reach optimal health if you are under constant stress and worry. If you want to reduce the stress level in your life you need to trust God. I’m not talking about just saying the words because it’s what a Christian is supposed to say, I’m talking about complete trust that leads to peace in all situations.
The only way you can trust like this is to draw closer and closer to God. When you fully grasp that God loves you, He’s in control and He has a plan for your life, you will feel more peaceful in all situations.
Stress can creep into our lives for different reasons. For many of us it comes from lack of contentment. We want more, we fear we won’t have enough, we push harder to make more. The desire for more is robbing us of joy and causing us stress.
One of the greatest Christ-followers ever, Paul, said “… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12)
Now that’s a lifestyle you should strive for – contentment in ALL situations. The word “contentment” has gotten a bad rap. Too often contentment is paired up with settling. If you are content, you have settled. Actually, contentment doesn’t mean you have settled it means you are settled.
Contentment can also be connected to “boring” which is so far from the truth. When you’re content; your life can actually be more exciting! Some people think when you follow Jesus you live a boring life – not so! Ever since I decided to allow God to lead me, my life has been so much more exciting. Every day my life has purpose. When you have the Creator of the World guiding your days, you know some amazing things will happen!
I have found the best way to remain in peace, is to remain connected to the vine. The closer you are to God the easier it is to cast your worries onto Him. It’s also critical to have scripture memorized that you can recall when you are going through tough times. Here are a few scriptures that bring me peace.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Philippians 4:6,7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:6,7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Psalm 121 ( love the whole thing!)
I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
The Bible is full of comforting words. Pick 2 Verses that bring you peace that you have not yet memorized and put them to memory. Write them down on a notecard and carry them with you.
**What is causing you stress at this time? What can you do to replace stress with peace. What is causing discontentment in your life? How can you release it?
I read this quote regarding contentment years ago and it has alway stayed with me, “covet nothing that is your neighbors except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners” (Henry Van Dyke)
Something to think about: My Drive to the Hospital
One night I was at the local high school working with the poms team that I coach. They were going to perform during the halftime of the basketball game. As well, the elementary school kids who had attended our poms camp that week were performing, 32 little girls would be arriving in a few minutes. My daughter, Denika, and my son, Neal, were both getting ready for their basketball games that would start in any minute. My husband, Jeff was in the Dallas airport getting ready to board his flight to come home after being gone all week. There was a lot going on!
My youngest son, Quinn was also playing basketball in a town about 45 minutes away. My phone rang it was Quinn’s basketball coach. When a coach calls you during a game you know it’s not going to be good news.. The coach, who is typically a very calm person, sounded nervous. He told me something was wrong with Quinn. My heart beat instantly increased. He told me his eyes were completely dilated and bloodshot. He wasn’t able to carry on a cohesive conversation and his physical coordination was off. He had a bad headache and his neck was hurting him. He had not hit his head so they didn’t think it was a concussion. He asked me what he should do? At that moment all I wanted was to be there next to Quinn. I wanted to see that he was OK. I told the coach to call 911. When he answered “OK... he doesn’t look good” I knew it must be serious.
I looked at my poms girls and told them something was wrong with Quinn and they needed to take over the camp and everything else. The girls said they would handle it, I ran out of the building, I just wanted to be with Quinn.
I called my husband who was close to getting on his plane. I called him because I needed someone to talk to and I knew he would pray his entire flight home. I also called my sister and my mom to get them praying. I prayed, pleading that God would heal Quinn. I was fairly certain Quinn was going to be OK but at moments that “what if” thought came into my mind.
Here’s the amazing thing, all of a sudden I had peace. Even when the “what if” crept into my thoughts, I had peace. I had peace that goes beyond all understanding because I was so certain that if Quinn died he would be up in heaven. I thought, of all the people I know Quinn’s faith is so pure and real that God would just snatch Him up so quickly and he would be in heaven having the time of his life. I knew Quinn believed that Jesus was the son of God and that He died on the cross and was resurrected. (I wish you could all know Quinn, he is one special kid.)
When I got to the hospital my friend, who road with him in the ambulance, said he’s doing much better. His eyes were still bloodshot but he was coherent and really happy to see me. The Dr. came in saying that blood work, a cat scan and neck x-rays were lined up for him. The tests all came back normal and we left there without an answer.
I know God heard our prayers and I am so thankful it was God’s plan that Quinn would be healed.
So here is the main reason I share all this with you - If you received a phone call saying that someone you love dearly might not make it, would you have peace because you were confident that they would be in heaven? If you received a call from your doctor that said you might not make it, would you have peace because you knew that when you died you would be in heaven?
If you have peace about your eternity because you have put your faith in Jesus share that with those you love. We can’t make someone believe, but we can plant seeds and ask God to make those seeds grow to true faith. Don’t wait, you never know what tomorrow brings.
Each week you will be asked to set goals. Your goals can be about faith, fitness or food (or all 3). I highly recommend that you write them down and post them on your mirror or someplace you will see them often. When setting goals make them action oriented goals, not result goals. Stay focused on doing the next right thing and be patient with the results.