Our problems and our stress can sometimes seem so much bigger than we can handle, especially when we are not only facing one giant problem, but many. You may be facing a major giant right now—being in a personal relationship that has suffered many blows, a marriage that is crumbling more and more every day, a spouse addicted to pornography, a friend or family member held hostage by substance abuse, an inability to find employment despite daily efforts for months, home foreclosure, difficult bosses, harassing credit and collection phone calls, tragic accidents, chronic or terminal illness, family problems, sexual abuse, or worse.
Sometimes even our greatest efforts to manage our stress can seem futile when our giants seem too huge to ever overcome. Instead of seeing progress, we feel like we are just beating our head against the wall, over and over, becoming more stressed-out as the reality sinks in that we cannot change the situations that are stressing us, no matter how badly we wish we could.
Ever been there? I know I have.
I used to wake up every morning and start thinking about all the stressful things that I had to face that day. I would try to give myself a pep talk to preempt negativity: Today I will not allow things, circumstances, or people to push me over the edge. No matter what, I commit to maintaining my temper, my poise, and my attitude. I will trust God to be my portion and walk in his ways.
However, within two hours that heart-felt commitment would become a distant memory as I jumped head first into the day and got sucked deeper and deeper into all of my problems. In fact, on some days, it actually seemed like life had a chokehold on me, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t pry its ugly fingers from around my weakened jugular.
By the grace of God alone, I feel so blessed to have discovered years ago that life does not have to be that way and that God never intended for it to be. He never intended for us to lead lives of despair, stress, and dread. He never meant for us to be so bogged down with worry and stress that we would dread getting up in the morning; although, this type of living became a reality when sin came into his perfect world. But God is still God. We cannot escape our life, but he is our escape from stress.
Overcoming your stress begins with recognizing the fact that no matter what problems are causing you stress and anxiety, God IS BIGGER. Yes, he is bigger than the issue you are thinking about right now. He is bigger than the hopelessness that seems to be engulfing your every breath. He is bigger than the greatest fears you hold in your heart. He is bigger than the unrelenting stress that plagues your heart as you try to juggle all the demands for your time and attention throughout the day. He is bigger than your biggest challenge, whatever it may be.
As we become more mature in faith, learning to trust that God is capable of all things, we will see God as bigger and bigger every time we encounter him. God is, and was, and always will be the same, but as we give him sovereignty over our hearts, our awe of him increases.
You see, each time he intervenes in our lives, we witness his power and our view of him grows. Once we allow ourselves to grasp how big God really is, we can learn to put aside worry and stress, and learn to rest in knowing that he can handle our problems—leaving no need for us to destroy ourselves stressing over them.
One of the biggest mistakes that Christians make is seeing the giants in our lives as so huge that we lose sight of the fact that God is bigger. But God’s desire is that with every new circumstance we face, we see not only the giant, but an opportunity to discover what he is capable of handling, and just how big he really is. And to discover that in Him, we can be less stressed.
Tracie Miles is a national speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries, and the author of Stressed-less Living: Finding God’s Peace In Your Chaotic World. She is a contributing author to the Proverbs 31 Encouragement For Today devotions, and the P31 Woman Magazine. She considers herself the poster child for stress recovery, and has a passion to help others discover the peace that God can infuse into our lives, even when our circumstances are less-than-peaceful. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children.