As I reflect on this week’s reading in Stressed-Less Living study, I am reminded of the importance of daily vitamins. I personally don’t take daily vitamins and have actually always had a hard time remembering to take any kind of medication everyday. But the need for daily spiritual vitamins is something that must be a part of my life, a part of any Christian’s life if they want to remain strong in the fight against evil.
Chapter nine was all about choosing our weapons. We are in the middle of major spiritual battle every day and if we are not equipped with right weapons, we will end up defeated and stressed. In others words, the devil will win.
I was challenged this week to examine what weapons I choose when I encounter difficulties. Tracie mentions lots of weapons that I have turned to in the past and that many of us do use when dealing with stress — food, alcohol, shopping, prescription drugs, cigarettes, sports, etc. While some of these may relieve stress for a moment, they are not permanent solutions. They actually will increase stress, many leading to unhealthy addictions.
“There are so many worldly weapons available at our fingertips to help us win the war against stress, yet all are completely inadequate to fight the battles that life brings. When charging towards the giant of stress in our lives, we must choose our weapons for the battle very carefully.” (page 178)
So what do I choose?
As a pastor I want to say that every time I encounter a stressful situation, I immediately turn to God for his strength to fight the stress. But that would be untruthful. I so want to be that person. But I am still struggling to do this on a consistent basis. I feel that I am doing it more, but still have to do this first instead of waiting until a meltdown happens.
“Real strength results from persistent communication and fellowship with him and allowing his words to guide us through each day. “ (page 178)
This is where is becomes quite easy. Tracie lists four easy steps in accomplishing this.
Step 1 – Choose God. This involves trusting and relying on him for everything. I can work on doing this more routinely. I feel that I am getting better at turning to God when I start having the stressful, overwhelming feelings.
Step 2 – Turn to His Word. As part of my daily devotion I am reading his Word every morning. I have also found that throughout the day I am reading encouragment words of Scripture, usually from a variety of facebook sites I subscribe to. It is amazing how God continues to use these avenues to speak directly to my heart and the situation that I am facing.
Step 3 – Prayer. I completely believe in the power of prayer and have felt it numerous times in my life. In this chapter, Tracie highlights David’s prayers in Psalms. These are powerful and honest of what David was thinking and feeling at that moment. “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, that I may honor you.” (Psalm 86:11, NLT). Praying throughout the day is the only way that I know that I can fight the spiritual warfare in the world that I live in.
Take Spiritual Vitamins. This is not really another step, but a nice little way wrap everything in a neat little package. Spending time with God in prayer and reading his Word. And most importantly surrender all to him everyday is the spiritual vitamins that I need, that you need in order to win the spiritual warfare that is our earthly world.
I am reminded of a simple children’t chorus that is an important reminder of what I have to do. “Read your Bible, and pray everyday and you’ll grow, grow, grow.” This is so simple and so true. If I want to grow in my relationship with God, then I must read my Bible and pray every day. The only way that I am going to reduce my stress is to pick up the weapons that God provides.
So I reach for my Bible and open my heart for God to speak to me.