Stress in America is almost as prevalent as coffee shops in the Pacific Northwest. 77% of Americans indicate suffering from regular stress and 1 in 3 live with extreme stress.
This shouldn’t be.
Stress, anxiety, and worry communicates to the world that the God, who lives with us, isn’t strong enough, good enough, anything enough to meet our needs.
But…how should we deal with stress and what does the Bible say we should do about stress?
Cuz I know you, like me, want to reflect just how amazing God is.
Using the Bible and King David’s life, we’re going to answer those questions and determine “what we can do about stress”.
First, we have to realize a lot of stress is a choice.
Everyone’s given the same 24 hours in a day and we each choose what we want to do with it.
The reason most of us are stressed out, anxious, or worried is because we choose to frantically run from one thing to the next, all in an attempt to reach self-imposed goals.
Don’t get me wrong – goals are great and we should have them but…
Author David Zerfoss says “Life is a series of choices and being free from stress is one of those choices”.
Some stress, like having a sick or dying loved one and living with sickness or disease isn’t stress we choose. But we can choose how we deal with those things.
The stress we choose comes from things like
- saying “yes” to things we don’t have time for,
- working demanding jobs and long hours in order to maintain a certain lifestyle and social status,
- putting social activities before rest,
- constantly trying to fit more things and people into our lives, and
- engaging in unhealthy relationships and conversations.
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time you’ve likely heard “be anxious for nothing…”
Let’s see what we can learn about dealing with stress from David.
David & Goliath
This is a very familiar Bible story but not one we go to when trying to figure out how to deal with stress.
The stress in your life may look a lot like Goliath did to the Israelite soldiers though. He was:
- 9 feet tall,
- covered in 150 pounds of bronze armor and
- carrying a spear with a 15 pound iron point.
Facing that would stress anyone out.
1 Samuel 17:24 says “when the Israelite’s saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.”
Goliath had caused them stress because they’d been listening to his threats for forty days. Day after day they did nothing about it and instead chose to tremble in stressed out fear.
What did David do?
Hearing this, David’s brothers responded and said,
“I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
Words like that would add stress to the giant stress situation already staring David down.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re stressed, people who’re close to you can say things that make you even more stressed?
David didn’t let it phase him.
Soon King Saul heard David was asking about Israel’s current source of stress and when he approached David, David said:
“Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
The Lords Battle
David knew who to place his trust and confidence in. He knew “the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
With 5 little rocks and a slingshot, David took his stand against a 9 foot giant.
He wasn’t shaken by Goliath’s size, weapons, armor, or past victories. He knew that “this day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down…”
That same God is the God who wants to deliver us from our stress giants.
But He can’t if we continually pile things into our lives without asking if God wants them there.
He can’t free us from things we continually choose.
Israel allowed Goliath to stress them out and chose, day after day, to draw up their battle lines and then run away in fear.
Food for Thought
- What stress Goliath(s) are you facing right now?
- Are those closest to you making things better or worse? Explain.
- Are you choosing to remain in situations and battles that cause you stress?
- If so, what are they and why do you remain?
- What about these stressful situations makes you stay?
- Are you expecting results that to you, are worth the stress?
We have the freedom, for the most part, to choose what we do and don’t allow in our lives. Struggles with teenage kids, sick loved ones, or a wayward spouse aren’t things we choose but we can choose how we deal with them.
If stress is because we’ve piled too much on our plate, said yes to one too many things, or are chasing the prestige and income of a stressful job –
we have the ability to unchoose or stop choosing those things.
De-stressing with Psalms
David’s experience with Goliath and his brothers wasn’t the only stressful situation he faced.
- He worked for King Saul who was constantly trying to kill him.
- He lived in hiding, running for his life, because Saul was so jealous of him.
- After becoming king, David was continually battling against Israel’s enemies.
- He chose to sleep with Bathsheba, had her husband killed, and had to deal with the stress of his sinful choices.
- His son Absalom tried to steal his throne and left David, once again, on the run.
- He dealt with the stress of balancing Israel’s wants and needs against his desire to mourn for his dead son.
- He was betrayed by the man he trusted and so so so many more stressful situations.
This next “De-stressing with Psalms” section will show how we, in light of David’s responses, should deal with our stress.
A Trusted Refuge - Psalm 9:9-10
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.”
We may face stressful situations that are out of our hands but we can rest assured that God is with us.
- Do you need to find refuge in the Lord because of something that’s causing you stress?
- Will you give it to the Lord and ask Him what He wants you to do?
Spend time listening for the Holy Spirit and then write down what you hear Him say. It might not make any sense – that’s okay.
It didn’t make sense for David to face Goliath with a little rock either.
God was David’s refuge and David trusted God to handle the stress, Goliath.
- How should we deal with stress?
By trusting in our refuge, the Lord.
- What do you see this verse telling you to do when stress surfaces?
Help at Break of Day - Psalm 46:1-5
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”
Whether its stress from choices we’ve made or stress from uncontrollable difficulties, it can often seem life’s fallen into the “heart of the sea”.
Stressful times can crash about and beat us up with every breath and life can appear to be on the brink of utter destruction. God wants us to give these times to Him.
God wants all His children to have a quiet confidence in Him despite our circumstances.
This is the confidence David had when he faced Goliath.
- Is there an area of your life that appears to be falling to pieces?
- Will you ask God to help you find refuge in Him?
- Will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you trade your stress for a quiet confidence in God?
He will help you. This stressful season will end and you will see God’s provision, help, and victory.
Steady Support ~ Psalm 94:15-19
“Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, ‘My foot is slipping’, Your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.”
This passage starts talking about the discipline of the Lord and how it blesses and guides us.
The reason for, and impact of, stress is different for every one of us but one thing remains constant – God’s support and consolation.
He might discipline or course correct us while He’s consoling us but… Even if we’ve brought the stress on ourselves, God will still support and console us as a loving Father to His child.
What’s critical to remember is that God is the only One we’re to turn to when feeling anxious, worried, or stressed.
He is the only One who can bring us safely through the storms of life and show us joy and peace on the other side.
- What do you need the Lord’s steady support or consolation for?
- Will you give it to Him and do whatever the Spirit asks of you in response?
So how did we learn to deal with stress and what did we learn to do about it as we walked through portions of David’s life in the Bible? We learned:
- to trust in the Lord, our refuge and trust that He will guide us through every stressful situation we face
- to have a quiet confidence in God’s ability to see us through every stressful situation, no matter how devastating it seems.
- to depend on the Lord, and Him only, for support, consolation, and discipline.
God is for us.
He doesn’t want us stressed out and anxious.
God has already written every second of your life story. He knows every up and down you’ll face, every plot twist that’ll surface, and every harrowing event you’ll stumble upon.
He wants those things to draw you closer to Him and wants you to confidently proclaim, as David did,
“the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s…”
Place your stress, anxiety, and worry into God’s hands my friend.
Rest confidently in His perfect will.
Friday we’ll be talking about steps you can take to destress your life.
Until then, God bless.
Don’t forget to download the “Discover Where My Times Goes” guide from the link below this post.
Here’s a few of our other posts that might help you de-stress and find the balance in life you may be looking for.
- DIY Spa Day: Making Time for Noticing Your Worth and God’s Grace
- 10 Meal Planning Tips
- 10 Planning Tips for Busy People
If you’re new to Bought at a Price be sure to check out our “Explore the Bible” devotional posts, for your spiritual health, and “Staying Healthy” lifestyle posts, for your physical health.