Our society and culture is full of examples of unhealthy ways to deal with stress. Just take a look around the office, home, Facebook or Twitter, the news… you’ll see symptoms of this issue. So how do we deal with stress healthily?
I believe the Bible shows us 3 areas to address when we are dealing with stress. We see these played out in the life of Elijah in 1 Kings 19.
Elijah is a great man of God. He is stressed out. Why is this? Check out 1 Kings 17 and 1 Kings 18 to catch a glimpse of his life. By the time we find him in 1 Kings 19, Elijah is lonely, depressed and suicidal. He is stressed out. God helps him to deal with his stress and He can help you deal with yours!
To deal with stress, you need to take care of your:
1. Physical Needs
God wants Elijah to take care of his physical needs. He helps him to do just that in 1 Kings 19:5-9. He helps him to get much needed rest, food, and exercise. God helps Elijah to take care of his physical needs.
God wants you to take care of your physical needs as well. When we are dealing with stress in our lives these areas can be ones we neglect. Get proper rest, eat good, nutritious food (not comfort foods), and get some exercise to help you deal with the stress you are facing.
2. Spiritual Needs
God wanted to meet the spiritual need that Elijah had. He had some major doubts and major fears. So God meets his spiritual needs as we read in the interaction He has with Elijah in 1 Kings 19:10-18. Elijah needed to get silent to hear from God and to meet his spiritual needs. Likewise, we need to address 3 areas to meet our spiritual needs.
1. To meet my spiritual needs I need to be converted to Jesus. This is the BIGGEST spiritual need that EVERYONE has! We need to admit we are sinners, repent from sin, call on Jesus to save us and commit to following Him.
2. To meet my spiritual needs I need to connect with God. We do this by reading the Bible and through prayer daily. I challenge you to read 1 chapter a day (it will take you about 5 minutes)! Start in Matthew 1 and read it today. Matthew 2 tomorrow- and so on, so forth. Read the Bible. Also take 5 minutes and pray. If you are like me and can’t set still- walk and pray (obviously don’t close your eyes and pray while walking)- just take some time and connect with God on a DAILY basis through the Bible and through prayer.
3. To meet you spiritual needs I need to complete the work God has given me. This means I need to be engaged in a local church body that teaches and preaches the Bible. This means attending church on a regular basis and serving in the local church. God has gifted EVERY follower of Jesus with at least 1 Spiritual gift- Congrats, you’re gifted! So USE your gifts and abilities to serve others in the local church!
3. Social Needs
Elijah is lonely and depressed. He feels like he is alone against an entire Kingdom who has turned their back on God. God meets his social needs as we see in 1 Kings 19:19-21. God encourages him that he is not alone and tells him to anoint Elisha to be his fellow worker and prophet in Israel.
God meets Elijah’s social needs. When we are stressed out, we need to meet our social needs. We need other people who will encourage us when we are down and support us in our times of stress- we need to meet our social needs. We can do that in the church where there are other followers of Jesus who can help us and walk through those times of great stress with us.
– What are some things that are major stressors in your life?
– Think of one time that you felt the most stressed out. What was going on? What did you do to deal with that stress?
– What are some ways that you’ve found to help you with stress? In your opinion, are they healthy ways of dealing with stress or are they unhealthy?
– Of the 3 action steps we looked at, which do you feel you neglect the most? What is one way that you can fix this?
– Take some time today and develop an action plan to combat stress. Don’t wait until you are stressed out to do it! Take some time and plan ahead to address all areas of need: Physical, Spiritual, and Social.