What’s stressing you out right now?
God’s Word offers help. “Give me relief from my distress,” David prays (Psalm 4:4). Then he writes out a prescription for how that happens, and shares it with us. Part one defined good and bad stress in yesterday’s meditation. The next step is SEARCH.
When you are stressed, go to God who designed your body, mind and soul to handle stress like he designed it to handle allergens. Yes, too much stress or allergic exposure produces reactions or symptoms, so don’t let it get out of control.
Go to God. “Search your hearts and be silent” (Psalm 4:4).
This means that you should bring your problems to God in prayer, without giving God advice about the solutions. You should ask God questions about what is happening in your life, without telling God the answers.
It’s not wrong to be specific in prayer, and tell God your ideas and plans about specific outcomes. But this can lead to tunnel vision, only seeing your own ideas and plans, and not being open to God’s. That, in turn, can result in God answering your prayer but you don’t realize it or appreciate it. Worse yet, it can lead to you being overconfident in yourself and not trusting God.
So, yes, share your ideas and plans with God, upon the condition that he answer only according to his will and for the sake of your relationship with Jesus (in the name of Jesus). I call this a shopping list prayer. “God, please put this in my shopping cart.” Pray that with faith, humility, and boldness.
But don’t let that be the only way you pray. Also use the whiteboard prayer. Like those whiteboards teachers use or hanging in your kitchen with the week’s menu or schedule. Using dry erase markers, the contents can easily be erased and replaced.
When stressed out, use more whiteboard prayers. “Be silent,” God says. “Stop telling me what to do all the time, and just listen once in a while.” You can trust God completely to answer, to write on your whiteboard. So leave a big blank space, and see what God can do.
“Search your hearts,” God tells us. “Understand your stress. Then give it to me. And submit to my answers, because I know the perfect relief.”
Jesus was even stressed! Before he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Then he prayed his famous line, “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42).
This is the most important whiteboard prayer of all time, because it led Jesus to get up, accept his suffering and death, pay for all our sins, and the rise triumphantly from the dead to assure us of God’s love and forgiveness.
Imagine what can happen when you bring your stress to God, and let him answer his way!
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for being stressed. Wow! It makes me realize how you have experienced everything there is to being human. Even suffering, stress and death. Lead me to our Father’s will. Assure me of his forgiveness for me. Help me submit to his holy desires like you did. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read all of Psalm 4 as an overview for this mini-series on stress.