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The Word For Today

Overcoming stress 7



'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.' Mark 6:31 NIV

Take time out to enjoy life. Jesus did that. 'Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest"' (Mark 6:31 NIV). Jesus not only took time for relaxation and recreation, he told those who'd been working hard without relief, 'You deserve a break today. Let's get some rest...take time off.' So they got into a boat, rode to the other side of the lake, and went out into the desert. Jesus was able to handle stress because he knew when to relax.

Rest and recreation in life aren't optional, and they're not 'unspiritual'. Rest is so important that God included it in the Ten Commandments. The Sabbath was made for mankind because God knows our physical, emotional and spiritual constitutions demand regular periodic breaks. Jesus survived stress because he enjoyed life. J.B. Phillips's paraphrase puts it like this: 'The Son of Man came, enjoying life' (Matthew 11:19 PHPS). And Paul tells us that God has richly provided 'everything for our enjoyment' (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV). Balance is the key to stress management.

Today if you feel burned out, check two things: (1) Are you drawing daily on God's grace, or are you depending on yourself? (2) Do you regularly set aside time for rest and recreation? The word 'recreation' means 'restore, refresh or create anew'. Are you getting the picture? If you burn out, what use will you be to God's kingdom, to your family or to yourself?

Soulfood: 1 Sam 1-3 Matt 26:17-29 Ps 34 Pro 21:14-16,

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Overcoming stress 6



'Very early in the morning...Jesus...prayed.' Mark 1:35 NIV

Make prayer your daily habit. Prayer is the great stress-reliever. Jesus began his day with prayer. He often stopped throughout the day to pray, and he ended each day with prayer. Now, if Jesus made time for prayer as busy as he was, how much more do you need to do it! Time alone with God can be a decompression chamber for life's stresses. We talk to God in prayer, tell him what's on our minds, and let him talk to us as we read the Bible. Then we look at our schedule, evaluate our priorities and wait for instructions. If we lived that way, the pharmaceutical industry would go broke because we wouldn't need a fraction of the tranquillisers they market!

Many of our problems come from our inability to sit still. We just don't know how to be quiet. God says, 'Be still, and know that I am God' (Psalm 46:10 NKJV). And one reason we don't know God more personally is because we can't be still. We're too busy to be quiet and just think. Someone said, 'It seems to be an ironic habit of man that when he loses his way he doubles his speed.' The story's told of a World War II Air Force pilot who flew over the Pacific. When he radioed the tower and the controller asked for his location, he replied, 'I don't know - but I'm making record time!' A lot of us are like that, speeding through life without knowing where we're headed.

We need to start our morning with prayer like Jesus did, and stop throughout the day to pray again and recharge our spiritual batteries.

Soulfood: S of Sol 5-8 Matt 26:1-16 Ps 39 Pro 21:9-13,

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Overcoming stress 5



'He appointed twelve...that he might send them out.' Mark 3:14 NIV

Don't try to do it all yourself. One of the reasons we get stressed out is because we think that everything depends on us. Not Jesus. He enlisted, trained and empowered twelve others so they could share the load. He delegated his work. He got other people involved.

So why don't we do that? Two reasons: (1) Perfectionism. We think, 'If I want a job well done, I'll do it myself.' That's a nice idea, but often it doesn't work well because there are just too many things to be done. We simply don't have the time and talent to do everything ourselves. It's really an egotistical attitude that says, 'Nobody, but nobody, can do it the way I can!' Do you think Jesus could've done a better job than his disciples? Of course, but even knowing that, he still let them do the work. Why? Because we need to let other people make some of the mistakes in order for them to learn, the same way the disciples learned. Don't rob others of an education. (2) Insecurity. 'What if I turn this responsibility over to someone else and they do a better job than I do?' That possibility is threatening to many of us. But you won't feel threatened if you know who you are, who you're trying to please, what you want to accomplish, and the one thing you need to focus on.

In order to be effective you must get other people involved, because you can't focus on more than one thing at a time and do it well.

Soulfood: S of Sol 1-4 Matt 25:41-46 Ps 3 Pro 21:4-8,

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