Friday, September 23, 2011

Combatting Stress

I am now beginning my journey to get my Master's Degree in Psychology from a Christian perspective at Liberty University online and I already love it! I started taking my pre-requisite courses this fall to prepare me to start the Master's program in January. Let me give you a little tid-bit in layman's terms I learned in PSYC 101 this week.

Stressors are external events or situations in your life that cause stress. Strain is the negative reaction you have as a result of stressors in your life. Strain includes stress-induced sickness: physically, mentally, and emotionally. If the resources you have to combat stress are greater than the stressors in your life, you can be at peace even if someone else freaks out at the same level of stress. On the other hand, if your resourses to combat stress are less than the stressors, you may have great strain while someone else under the same circumstances is calm.

What are those resources we have to combat stress? There are many, including: positive outlook, friends and family, sleep and times of rest, exercise, proper nutrition, experience. The best resource, however, is God Himself! As Christians, we sometimes forget that the One Who created us is all we need to combat the opposition we face in life. He actually dwells in us! Wow! The stressful situations we face never take Him by surprise. He is there to protect us and give us wisdom and insight that brings perfect peace. It is true! I have experienced it. Have I been stressed? Hah! Of course! But that is my reminder to get my eyes off my stressors and on to my Resource! What is so great is that even when I am bombarded with more stressors, I can have peace at the same time!
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
(Is. 26:3-3, NKJV)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In Him We Live!

"In Him we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28
That verse has been ringing in my spirit lately. As I was meditating on it, I sensed the Lord speaking to my spirit, "The opposite is also true. In you I live and move and have my being if you let me!" Wow! That's the desire of my heart! I want God Himself to operate His love through me to others.If you read Acts 17, you will find that Paul said that to the people in Athens after he observed how religious they were with all their idols and even an altar that had an inscription, "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." Let's take a closer look at what he said to them about that: Acts 17:23-31 (NKJV)
"Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Some of them "got it"; others still didn't. My spirit leaps within me as I read Paul's words, because I KNOW that God! God in His very nature means that we cannot prove His existence, but He sure proves Himself to those who truly seek Him; I know, because He continues to prove Himself to me everyday! His ways are so past our ways; His thoughts are so higher than our thoughts. That's what makes Him God! That's why you cannot "prove" Him, but He can make Himself known to you.

Thinking about what God spoke to my spirit about Him living, moving and having His being in me, I set out to find the verse that says that. I found it in John 14 when Jesus was talking to His disciples. In verse 23, He said, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." So I am one of those temples not made with hands that Paul talked about in the earlier mentioned passage! Oh that I would let that happen every day! I desire for God Himself to guide and direct me as to...
*what to say
*how to respond rather than react
*when and what to pray
*when and how much to give
*what and how much to eat
*how to not take others' actions stemming from their own issues personally
*trading my perspective for His
*letting go of my expectations on others they cannot meet, therefore freeing me of hurts from unmet expectations
*letting the fruit of the Holy Spirit operate in and through me
*how to show His unconditional love
*letting God Himself illuminate His Word to me
*letting God Himself give me the desires He wants me to have and letting Him fulfill those in His timing

WOW! Is it possible? YES! With GOD, all things are possible! What a joy when I do allow Him to do all that through me! On the other hand, what stress and frustration when I don't let Him! As I have said many times, "I can't do squat without Him!" Yes, He loves me unconditionally even then, but the stress that comes when I try to "do life" on my own just reminds me to get back on track and let God be God in and through me! What peace! Lord, let it be, even today!