Worrying About Stressful Situations and How to Deal

In case you missed it, our country is going through a recession. Many hardworking people are losing their jobs, their homes-everything they have ever worked for. For others, losing their homes and living on the streets is just a paycheck away. Businesses are suffering. Many people have cut back on recreational activities such as shopping or traveling, and are concentrating solely on maintaining the basic necessities of life. Many people refuse to answer their phones, afraid that another bill collector is on the other end. Since becoming unemployed several months ago, they have spent countless hours at the computer submitting resume’ after resume’ hoping to get a job interview. They wonder, how can I set myself apart from the other three hundred applicants who are applying for the same position? For others, they have to choose between paying their rent or mortgage or buying food for their hungry children. Moreover, people who once held executive-level positions are finding themselves in the unemployment line and collecting Food Stamps. They ask themselves time and time again, “how did this happen? I never thought in a million years that I would find myself in this situation.” Some people are going through such rough times, that they are unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  They feel that they are at the bottom of the ocean floor, and no matter how hard they try to swim to the top, they look around and see that their feet are still touching the bottom of the ocean.

If you can somewhat relate to any of these situations, how do you deal with them? Do you keep trying? Do you give up? Do you talk to others about your problems, or, do you keep them inside, afraid that your family and friends will judge you?  Do you blame God?  Are you and your spouse constantly playing the blame game? Do you try to eat or drink your problems away?  Have you thought of committing suicide?   Our Nation was rocked by the news of the death of Russell Armstrong,  husband of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong.  Mr. Armstrong allegedly committed suicide, because of tough financial times. I can also think of several stories of successful executives who committed suicide once they found out their businesses were failing, or the stock market crashed.

While watching the news the other day, I noticed that they featured a psychiatrist who offered tips on how to deal with stress.  She said that people going through stress should write down their problems and put them into a worry box. She mentioned that they should also talk to their friends about their problems to get some perspective.  She also said that many times people worry so much about the past and the future, that they fail to notice the good things that are right in front of them.

I must confess, I am not a counselor.  The advice that the psychiatrist gave was good, but may I suggest adding prayer into the mix!  Now, some of you may say, “I have prayed over and over again that God would change my situation, but no matter how much or how hard I pray, He doesn’t seem to be answering my prayers!”  Let me ask you, what have you been praying for?  When you pray do you ask that GOD’s will be done, or do you want for YOUR will to be done?  In Matthew 6:9-15, Jesus taught us how to pray.  In verse 10, He says Your (God the Father) WILL BE DONE!  Therefore, when you are praying, it is important that we pray that God’s will be done, and not our own.  Jesus also says that we need to forgive people who sin against us.    He says, in verse 14, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Finally, here’s my favorite part of this article-STOP WORRYING!  Yes! Stop it. NOW!   No matter what you may be going through right now, you need to stop worrying about it.  You probably think I’m nuts right now, but hey, don’t shoot the messenger.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry.

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear…” He says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet, your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow….if that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?…Your heavenly Father knows you need them…”

Before I go any further let me ask you this: no matter how bad your situations may be right now,  is worrying about it going to make it any better?  If anything, it will make your bad situation much worse, and can even cause you to worry to the point of becoming ill.   So stop worrying about it.   How do you do that?  Verse 33 says:

“But seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will  be given to you as well.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

You are God’s child.  He loves you.  We can’t always understand why we go through certain trials and tribulations in our lives.  Sometimes, it could be that God is testing us.  Sometimes, He allows us to experience tough situations just to let us know that we NEED Him, and we ought to depend totally on Him.   Many times, when things are going well in our lives, we feel that we are in control and that we don’t need God.  But as soon as good times turn bad, we’re left wondering why God abandoned us.   Whether you’re going through good times or bad times, God will not let you down.  He loves us with an inextinguishable love.  A love so strong that we can’t even imagine how much He loves us.  How you handle your tough situations is what counts.  Pray to God daily.  Ask that HIS will be done.  Pray that He will lead you.  Put Him FIRST in EVERY aspect of your life.  If you are  holding  grudges against anyone, pray that God will help you to forgive!   Last, but certainly not least, stop worrying about the past!  The past is over.  You can’t get it back.  Also, stop worrying about the future.  It isn’t here yet!   I serve an On Time God.  He may not show up exactly when we want Him to, but trust and believe, He will be there on time! Keep a song in your heart and thank God for what you have in  front of you right now.  When you put God first, and ask that His will be done, He will bless you with so much more than what you could have ever imagined!

Be Blessed!

How Can I Praise God When I am Going Through Tough Times?

I am writing this article so that I can encourage you while encouraging myself.  I am not a pastor or an elder.  I am just someone who is dealing with the struggles of life like everyone else.  I am one of you.  I am trying to find my way in life.  I am trying to figure out where I fit in.  And, I am trying to learn how to deal with my current circumstances.

When I hear the phrase, “Bless the Lord at all times,”  to me, it means to praise God no matter what. Whether we’re going through good times or bad times, we ought to give thanks to God.

For me, however, that is not always how I dealt with my problems in the past.  Even today, I struggle with it sometimes.  Often, when we’re going through tough times, we don’t praise God, but instead we ask, “Lord, why are you allowing me to go through this?  Why am I struggling? You’re God! You know how to fix this situation, so fix it!  Make everything good for me again.”

Have you ever prayed for something, but it seemed as though God didn’t hear you?   Maybe you’ve prayed that He would improve your financial situation, or maybe you prayed that you would be able to find a good man or woman to marry. But years later, you still find yourself in the same position or even worse.

Recently, I had to take a long, hard look at myself.  What was I doing wrong?  I realized that even though I asked God for something, I never asked that HIS will be done.  Here was/is my problem:

1. I only wanted for my will to be done.

2. Even when my burdens became too great, and I asked God for help, I had a tough time letting go.  I felt as though He wasn’t moving fast enough, so I would try to “help” Him along.  Doing this only caused my situation to worsen!

3.  I never had a hard time praising God when things were going well.  But as soon as things went left, the praises would stop, and the complaining would begin.

When I was at church one day, I remember the pastor saying that when we go through trials, God is testing us.  If we stay faithful and rely on Him, not only will God being us through it, but He will reward us with blessings that we never imagined.  So, my friends, for those of you who are going through trials in your life right now, I want to share with you a scripture that I read in James 1: 2-8:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.  Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must BELIEVE and NOT doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

Verse 12 also says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”

Friends, I challenge you to read this scripture every night before going to bed.  Read it until it sinks in.  Some of you may believe that it is difficult, or even impossible to consider it a joy when going through tough times.  However, those of us who persevere will receive our reward from God, whatever it may be.  Don’t give up.  God is everything!  He is a Friend and a Provider.  He knows what you are going through.  Whatever problems you are facing, invite Him into your situation and let Him take care of it. Sometimes, we panic, because we are backed into a corner, and we can’t see how or if things will work out.   This is when you should let go, and let GOD handle it.  We may not be able to figure it out, but I promise you, He is already working it out.  Just stay focused on God.

Be Blessed!

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