Everyone has a different level of stress. Some people can handle great stress in the work place and fall apart around the children. For others it’s the reverse. Sometimes we bring on our stress and sometimes its just a situation or circumstance. But what we want to learn in this lesson is how to handle it. We want to learn what to do with it before it does something to us. We tend to blame our troubles and stresses on the people around us, instead of blaming our troubles on our “re-action” to those people. Our stressful situations can either be a “problem” or a “challenge”. Problem is such a negative word and generates toxic poison into our system. Whereas challenge is a positive word and implies excitement and accomplishment.

I feel I am trying to teach you to build a fence at the edge of the cliff, so that you and your family wont fall over. Things that will help your marriage be happy, your children to stay close to you and the Lord, and your personal life to be happy. The Lord also provides ambulances at the foot of the cliff to help you and care for you there. But I think much of our troubles can be avoided by simply following the plan he has for our life at the top of the cliff. As a child of God, we can handle any problem if we allow God to be the one working with us. Phil 4:13 says “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul tells of his reaction to trouble in II Cor. 12:7-10. His troubles made him stronger. What if you husband comes home after a hard day and is upset because the house is a mess. You could react in rage, and shorten your own life, or you could refuse to let his ulcer become your ulcer.

Jesus promises us “peace” not stress. John 14:27 says “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.” Then John 15:1-10 all about abiding in him which is key to controlling stress. Verse 11 says “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.” Meet each challenge with the peace of Jesus.

How can we practically do this? If our load is too heavy to bear we read what we can do in Matt 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (v. 29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, (v. 30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Sometimes we pray for healing or relief from stress, but work against the laws of God. An example of this is the woman who prays for healing for her liver disease but wont give up alcohol. Or the man praying for healing from bronchitis and wont give up smoking. What do we do similar in our lives, perhaps more subtle but the result are the same? David in the Bible learned to handle stress. In the idle of hectic situations he would state his problem to God and then praise God. Psalm 3 is an example of this. This was written when he fled from Absalom his son. In II Sam. 13 we read of the circumstances that turned Absolom’s heart to revenge.

I know I sometimes sound like a broken record talking about taking time with God in the morning. But I feel it is so key to also dealing with stress. Committing your work to him and allowing him to establish your plans. If you allow him to establish your plans for the day, He isn’t going to give you so much to become stressed about. Prov. 3:5,6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Why do you suppose he tells us NOT to rely on our own insight? Because he knows we will laden ourselves down with what we “should” do because someone else wants us to, or what we “ought” to do, because we will feel guilty if we don’t. You know the list goes on and on as why we do all the things each day, that are done on our own “insights”. Give God a chance to plan your day. Go before and prepare the way. It wont be a stressful day but a joyful one, anticipating what surprise the Lord has next in store for you.

When I said each person has a different level of stress I didn’t mean that the level of stress is different within us. What I mean is there is a different level of stress regarding situations and problems that bring different people to high levels of stress and pain. The pain and stress is just as real, but what brought it on could be very slight for one person, but extremely heavy for another. It seems to me there are only two answers to stress, either ask the Lord how we can remove it from our life, listen to his direction and then, do it. Or, learn how to live with it and re-act to the person or situation that are giving us stress in a manner so that stress doesn’t take over. Either way, we must rely on the Lord. Either to show us how to eliminate the stress, or teaching us to live with it, so we can live “above” it and not let it kill us.

Oh Lord, show me the path of life you have for me. A path of peace, joy, righteousness and anticipation, not full of stress and anxiety.

Psalm 16:11 “Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.”

Proverbs 16:24 “The wise mans path leads UPWARD to life, that he may avoid Sheol beneath.”  

Burdens- a time to cast & a time to bear

After sharing my thoughts in “Casting your Burdens”, I continued considering and pondering further. I realized there are some burdens that we cannot cast away, but that the L0rd must help us bear them. Some of these would include:

  • Caring for an Alzheimer parent
  • Caring for a handicapped child
  • Watching parents grow older and coming to end of life
  • Watching loved ones die
  • Combatting a debilitating disease
  • Having been told you or a loved one has cancer

I think it is these kinds of burdens that Jesus is talking about in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”.

I was thinking of the story that someone shared with me that sometimes the burdens we carry are likened to someone pulling a little red wagon filled with rocks. Along the way of life we have picked up worry,  anxiety, sin, many “what if’s”, many fears, and they are rocks that we have piled little by little into our wagon. The wagon is getting heavier and heavier to pull but the rocks are not burdens the Lord has given us. For He says His burden is light. These are the burdens in our little red wagon that we want to cast away.


This picture is a reminder of the burdens that we are to allow the Lord to help us bear. And the little wagon is a reminder to think about the rocks and burdens we are carrying that we really do not need to. These could include:

  • Worrying about what will happen next year
  • Being anxious about growing older
  • Feeling sad because someone has hurt your feelings
  • Angry with a family member
  • Being depressed because you are too thin, too fat, not as pretty as your sister, or having bad skin
  • Carrying the burden of past sin

The following verse speak about “casting” our burdens:

  • Romans 13:12
  • 1 John 4:18
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Galations 6:2

Lord, give us the wisdom to know when to cast our burdens and when to have you help us hear them.